17 March 2018
Bo Harald

Good for society at large

Bo Harald - ZEF, Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program

356Posts 1,365,320Views 263Comments

Think small

26 April 2009  |  9697 views  |  0

We have in the EU Commission Expert Group on e-Invoicing seen a constant need to stress that the migration away from manual invoicing can only happen if it based on the simplest possible concepts - otherwise the vast SME sector (63% of turnover) will have real counterarguments - to the detriment both for their larger counterparts (including the public sector) and themselves.

A major step in the right direction here is the equal treatment of paper and e-invoices proposed by the EU Commission in the VAT-directive. Mandatory digital signatures for e-invoices have been a major stumbling block both in national markets and for cross border transactions.  Removing this obstacle should be should be of highest priority for anyone having the interest of SMEs at heart. Especially as the present state has managed to mystify e-invoicing to a very high degree. Holland already demonstrated that there is no need to postpone transposition of equal treatment - it can be done very fast.

What do you - the SME -  then need to do in the many countries where equal treatment is - and in those where it very soon will  be - the rule? For the incoming invoice - be it on paper, in e-mail or e-invoice:

1. make reasonably sure that it matches what you have purchased

2. make sure that you pay it to the right account

3. store your accounting documents for 6 years as stipulated by your national legislation. Many alternatives:  on paper, on hard disks, burn cds, ask a service provider to do it...so that you can retrieve the material if - in this context - VAT auditors would need it.

When sending invoices - be it on paper, by e-mail or as e-invoice:

1. make sure that it matches your customer's purchase order

2. send the invoice (many receivers already now demand it in structured format - e-mail is not leading to the cost savings needed)

3. store accounting documents as above

Business controls - as described above - are the simple, tested, problemfree and thus sensemaking way to handle integrity and authenticity - the last tax authorities should agree by now. The Code of Pracise - unanimously adopted by the Expert Group - is stating this very clearly - and also that it is natural that service providers will offer additional supplementary non-mandatory tools like digital signatures - for example to protect stored material.

By thinking small we can find a shortcut to economic solutions also for the larger enterprises.

Comments: (0)

Comment on this story (membership required)

Latest posts from Bo

Learn once - use everywhere - huge lever

13 March 2018  |  3168 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsMobile & onlineInnovationGroupDigital Banking Trends

Do not fall in love with the solution..

31 January 2018  |  4279 views  |  1 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsArtificial IntelligenceInnovationGroupDigital Banking Trends

Finland 100 years

09 December 2017  |  5485 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsRetail bankingInnovationGroupDisruption in Retail Banking

Impact evaluation - much to do

04 December 2017  |  3162 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsRisk & regulationInnovationGroupFinancial Services Regulation

Bo's profile

job title Chairman/Founding member
location Helsinki Region
member since 2008
Summary profile See full profile »
Independent advisor and board professional

Bo's expertise

Member since 2008
353 posts263 comments

Who's commenting on Bo's posts

John Bullard