E-invoicing has been around in large enterprises for ages. As it started in EDIFACT environment it was natural to go deep into point-to-point integration in all aspects of procurement processes. This approach was then also natural in the EBXML process –
and of course it is still important and should be supported.
The SME-sector does not have procurement processes and sees invoices as a part of payments – and this was the starting point in the work with ePI in Europe (electronic payment initiator) where the first thought was to standardize the payment
proposition also for the electronic version (as had just then been achieved for the paper bank giro form).
Later it was seen that payment automation based on e-invoices can also lead to automated accounting, VAT-reporting and VAT-payments. So with a growing family of interacting ISO20022 standards SMEs can get much better and cheaper solutions
from a wide range of suppliers in the future:
Ready to use ISO: e-invoicing, payment reference, SEPA-payment, account statement
under preparation: factoring, bank reporting
to be evaluated: e-rfps, e-offers, e-orders, VAT-reporting, VAT payments, e-ID messages, e-salaries, e-payments and many more
Without standards – no competition – without competition – no progress. But an even more important view is that without a fast deployment of the the global ISO-standard, SMEs will be forced to use many different customer-specific solutions –
cumbersome, costly, difficult to switch, price pressure etc etc – and the software they or their service providers use do not support standards –again being costly and tying up customers.