Occasionally I get the impression that enterprises and their organizations are spending
too much time on complaining (about regulation, about service charges etc) and not enough time on driving real change themselves. A part of this can of course be explained the ever growing demands on their time by all sorts of administration
and growing competition for customers' attention and money. But now it is time to look forward and to stand up - high time.
There are many fundamental reasons for this:
- increased complexity in society at large means that early influence is necessary to get views acknowledged - once things get going in wrong directions it is very difficult and in any case takes time to get a change (as admitting mistakes
it often means face losing and failed investments)
- increased need for regulation, deregulation, competition enhancement > must be
furthered together and with democratic institutions
- technology tsunami, technology hypes, service fragmentation, lack of standards > must be furthered and evaluated together with democratic institutions - also with the public sector as there may be a risk that legislation otherwise
technology-specific and tools partner-specific
(just-like-payments should be the rule in all sorts of networks)
- creation of digital platforms to automate administrative processes need critical mass -
enterprises should be in the driving seat when making this happen
(this also means recommendations for bold actions - not accepting too-typical short-sighted change resistance)
These challenges must be handled better than before to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of business in Europe. The key tool is digitalization and here the next step is to
create the platform for real-time automation of next-to-all administrative processes.
The platform is simple - migration to e-invoicing. To make it happen fast it is essential that enterprises and their organizations in all countries continue to drive regulations so that no additional regulatory demands are put on electronic
invoices and cash based accounting is enabled very widely. The European Commission is driving this in the VAT proposal and soon all member states have seen the importance of making the most secure technology neutral alternative easy. But there may still be
some convincing to do to make sure that the outcome is crystal clear.
Otherwise we may still have the
nobody in their right mind syndrome around.
To stand up also means that enterprises should ask their bankers if they are doing their part. Are they adding value to payments services by including
generic tools for e-invoicing, e-orders, automated accounting, automated cash flow forcasting, automated VAT payments and automated invoice financing (to mention a few).
This is not high risk for shareholders - but real innovations and high value for enterprises and society at large. Banks are
experts on running networks and standards - now this is needed more than ever before.