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The e-invoicing chimera

The e-invoicing chimera

Source: Deutsche Bank Research

Is paperless invoicing as elusive as the paperless office, asks Deutsche Bank Research.

No, says author Heike Mai, the electronic invoice will supersede the paper version in the long term, provided that it is accorded the same legal status as the paper document.

This supersession will not, however, be total – niches will remain for the paper invoice, for example for billing to countries outside Europe or between small companies. The process will also occur more slowly and trigger fewer modernisations than some optimists currently expect. E-invoicing only develops its full effect where the e-invoice is deeply integrated with company bookkeeping systems. Simply sending invoices electronically promises to deliver only limited efficiency gains.

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Comments: (2)

Michael Wright
Michael Wright - Striata | Secure Document Delivery - London 13 May, 2010, 10:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is a good document in a space that is hungry for industry stats and independent thinking, however the report fails to make an adequate distinction between e-invoicing (B2B) and ebilling (B2C) in terms of the numbers and future of the industry.

These two concepts are both part of electronic billing & invoicing but have different models, goals and industry players. 

I've set out a blog post on "eBilling - e-Invoicing : Lost in translation" that explains the issue and, hopefully, the difference.

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 13 May, 2010, 19:55Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It is indeed a good report. The only thing I would like to stress is that for 22m SMEs in EU an incoming invoice is a payment suggestion - for large enterprises more of one event in an often complicate procurement process. Thus I think that the discussion - catalytic or incremental is both and - catalytic step into automated accounting, automated VAT etc for the small - last step for the large (making payment automation easy - not enough noted btw).

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