What struck me most about the
Deutsche Bank Research into e-invoicing was the fundamental lack of distinction between B2B and B2C electronic billing processes, all of which have been grouped together under the heading 'e-invoicing'.
The research did cite a report that showed that invoices for B2B were nearly double that of B2C. But this is where the understanding of the vast gap between e-invoicing and ebilling seemed to end. The bulk of the report then focused on B2B automation with
a smattering of B2C thrown in just to confuse the reader.
E-invoicing and ebilling are not the same thing.
I would accept that potentially the nuances of the difference were lost in translation, as the bulk of the research was drawn from the Germanic markets and the main external source cited is a German consultancy.
However, if the industry is to make the significant progress forward that the European Commission's Expert Group has predicted (and my fellow blogger
Bo Harald has frequently expounded) then we need to start getting the basics right and this begins with using the right terms.
This may not be easy -even Wikipedia is unclear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EIPP
(see the discussion page)
I was going to just add this comment, but then decided that it actually needed a whole article - so I based my overdue blog on it.
You can read the full blog (billions of savings, myths
and truths), but here is the conclusion:
E-invoicing is the exchange of invoices between businesses (B2B) that regularly do business with each other - automating the Accounts Payable processes of receiving and processing incoming supplier invoices.
eBilling is the delivery of electronic bills to end consumers (B2C) and providing a payment option for them.
E-invoicing is generally highly automated with integrated workflow that needs agreement on standards and specifications.
eBilling is the replacement of paper with electronic documents delivered via email (the simplest and easiest model) or via a website (biller direct, bank aggregator or consolidator models).
I don't blame the authors for not getting the naming convention right - as an industry we can't even agree on whether we include the hyphen or not, but 'e-invoicing' looks much better than 'einvoicing, whereas 'ebilling' is preferred to 'e-billing'. The
lexicon for electronic billing and invoicing is now pretty clear - we just need to start paying attention to how we use it.