Lack of standards hindering European e-invoicing take up - survey

Lack of standards hindering European e-invoicing take up - survey

Over a third of big businesses in Europe are shying away from electronic invoicing because of a perceived complexity and lack of standards, according to a survey commissioned by vendor Iron Mountain.

YouGovStone polled 200 senior staff at firms in the UK, Germany, Spain and France. A fifth of respondents from France and a third of those from Spain say the current situation around e-invoicing is overly complex and confusing, and that this is a barrier to implementation.

Just over a third of respondents from the UK and Spain said they would introduce the technology if there was a standard format, rising to 40% for respondents from Germany.

Bettina Wonsag, general manager, BPM division, Iron Mountain, says: "Our research reveals that almost one in three respondents across Europe would introduce e-invoicing if there was a single standard for formatting. In the meantime, they are missing out on huge savings and efficiencies."

The vendor commissioned the research as it launches its BPM services, hoping to cash in on a need for invoice management. It claims to offer secure and structured document management, supplemented by a range of accounts payable specific services.

In December, the European Commission set out a series of actions designed to encourage broad-scale adoption of electronic invoicing by 2020 as part of its 'Digital Agenda for Europe' initiative.

Comments: (6)

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 09 March, 2011, 12:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Luckily we have been able to come up with the needed message standard already - implementation as network standard next - and end-to-end as soon as senders and receiver systems are ready. See more in earlier blog:

http://www.finextra.com/community/fullblog.aspx?id=4790

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 09 March, 2011, 13:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

See: http://www.finextra.com/community/fullblog.aspx?id=4713

Do we really really really need extra B2B standards for e-invoicing? Really?

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 09 March, 2011, 18:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The EU Commission asked the Expert Group to get a global standard in place for Europe to use. With the UNCEFACT CII V2 content standard as a base it has been delivered in the ISO20022. Now it is being taken into use between service providers - aiming also as end-to-end usage.

We need both a global standard and a service provider network to get the needed interoperability, competition and progress in place. Self evident to enterprises and most service providers.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 March, 2011, 03:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm not sure I understand this.  If anything there are too many standards for e-invoicing - EDIFACT, Finvoic, OIOUBL, SFTI, e2bformat, svefaktura - just to name a few.  And as Bo points out there is work being done on a harmonized, cross-industry standard for those that wish to adopt it.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 March, 2011, 08:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

A great signal for EU employment that a big company plans to hire 550 people for a new EU business unit focussed on invoice automation / e-invoicing. It raises some questions though:

1.  Are all or most of these 550 newly hired all going to be signed up for invoicing automation / e-invoicing?

2. If yes, in what way will the personnel costs affect their pricing model?

3. If standards are said the main issue, how are they going to/ can they change the behaviour of companies?

4. Off topic: Why can’t we find more information about this on their sites?

5. 99,5% of the population is SME, 57% of which is a single contractor and therefore also act as if they are consumers, how are they going to cope with consumer attitude towards ebilling? See this these survey results: http://bit.ly/enP9L7 (February 2011)

Still, with this approach maybe the EU doesn’t have to wait until 2020 to have e-invoicing become predominant.

Friso.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 10 March, 2011, 12:36Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If we put eInvoicing within the larger perspective of the order-to-cash cycle of an enterprise, I just can't shrug off the feeling that its core value proposition is questionable: Sure, it can bring down DSO by a few days, but does it really matter when many typical CFOs and VP-Sales believe that the bulk of DSO is caused simply by customers refusing to pay on time? 

While a single standard always helps in theory, it generally happens only after mass-adoption of a certain technology. Besides, multiple standards never deterred the mass adoption of many technologies with strong value proposition, for example, Internet (OSI/ISO v. TCP/IP), Instant Messaging (lack of interoperability between, say, MSN and GTalk), and ERP (SAP iDoc v. Oracle EBS' XML-based document standard). 

In this context, the recent annnouncement of Intuit Payments Network (IPN) is an encouraging development. By coupling eInvoicing with ePayments, Intuit propels the value proposition of IPN to the next level, which might just be the tipping point in B2B e-invocing and e-payments technologies.

Trending Stories