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Look at what it adds up to

I had a meeting recently where an analysis was presented that a small enterprise could save 12 working days a year in the area of automating administrative processes (based on migration to e-invoicing). One participant said that this is not of any use as the SME cannot get rid of a part of a person.

I protested - rather vehemently for the following reasons:

1. time spent on administration tasks that could be automated is a total waste of time (and often nerves) - the freed up time could be used on serving customers, selling, producing, developing - something for the top line. Motivation-wise quite a difference - to contribute only to costs - versus also to income.

2. everybody should be aware of the demographic trends mean that the number of Europeans in working age will dive with 35m by 2020 and the old-age group will increase with almost as much. This means that the bakers of the welfare cake will be fewer and have to be much more productive - especially as they are needed also to help the others to eat..

3. nobody should be allowed to not look at the big picture - how much it adds up to when we save energy by turning down heat or cooling etc - how much competitiveness is added when all SMEs can cut their (rather small) administrative costs in half - but above all how much more workforce can do together when freed up

4. we have really compelling reasons to digitalize enterprise processes also for tax burden reasons. So much can be saved in tax and other administration and VAT collected properly once the business transactions start using structured invoicing. Again it is the combined savings that make the difference for all tax payers.

5. accounting services can combine the savings achieved for one customer and get full time employees moving to more productive tasks (and mitigate today's shortage of workforce - as young people are all but keen to do manual keying in of figures from scrappy receipts)

So - let us make sure that we see the big picture.






Comments: (2)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 28 January, 2011, 12:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The employees whose 12 working days are freed up are typically accounting staff who don't automatically qualify to work in a company's production / development / customer service functions. Even assuming that retraining helps some of them qualify for the transfer, it's only natural for the buyer of e-invoicing technology to weigh the savings squeezed out of 12 working days versus the additional cost of retraining.

Such analyses tend to cut both ways, thus presenting major challenges to positioning e-invoicing - or any other - technology using headcount reduction as the key benefit.

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 16 March, 2011, 08:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In EU we do not have a choice - we have to get people out of paper turning into more productive tasks - retraining sometimes needed - but above all new attitude. Headcount is not the main argument - better jobs is much more important.

And there is of course no escape for SMEs as so many partners state: "it is e-invoice of no invoice"

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