Electronic invoicing, or e-invoicing, has increased in the last few years, with both companies and governments around the world catching on to the many benefits.
In fact, in the Global E-Invoicing Study of 2012, 73% of businesses reported having used e-invoicing in some form—a 14% increase over the last year..
by Albert Einstein
In America, the federal government uses e-invoicing for 40% of its invoices out of a total 19 million invoices each year. The federal government is also the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country.
Although most small businesses have some familiarity with e-invoicing, they are still mostly dependent on the standard forms of invoices. However, this is beginning to change across the world. According to Billentis, countries in Scandinavia, South America and especially Mexico have taken the lead in e-invoicing. They have adopted the new process and regulations surrounding it in much more advanced ways than most western nations.
European nations, the US, Canada and other western countries are working to catch up, while Asia, Africa and Russia are far behind. Most of these countries catching up are being pushed by their governments in order to more fully adopt e-invoicing.
1. The real-time economy
As mentioned above, one of the major benefits of e-invoicing is the faster, more accurate data communication between the vendor and buyer. This feature is what has led governments and businesses to move steadily towards a type of economy known as the “real-time economy.”
2. Improved overall business
Although there are many benefits of e-invoicing for large businesses and governments, there are also many benefits that will extend to small and medium-sized businesses as well. In fact, e-invoicing has lots of benefits for these businesses. They include:
- reductions in the costs of staff in the invoicing and billing departments. Because e-invoicing works by having the data integrated quickly or automatically into the buyer’s accounts payable systems, there will be fewer staff hours needed for invoices.
- time saved as businesses won’t have to dedicate their time to go after late-payers. This is one of the biggest time-wasters, as business owners or department heads usually have to spend their time crafting emails, calling or even visiting their customers in order to check up on the status of their unpaid invoices. They also won’t have to send debit memos or secondary invoices with late fees attached.
- increased cash flow, as invoices will be paid much faster. When the invoices get paid faster, there’ll be cash faster in the business’s accounts, meaning it will be much easier for these businesses to cover their financial obligations. They can also use the increased cash flow to invest in their business.
- improved security and minimized fraud. This is based on the fact that the invoice data remains unchanged. Beyond that, many e-invoicing solutions provide SSL protection and secure encryption, meaning prying eyes won’t be able to read the data at all.
- improvements in customer relationships, due to the fact that finding and fixing errors will become much faster. With faster communication, errors fixed and invoices sent and received, your customers will be much happier. And a happier customer is often a returning customer, or a positive referrer, meaning your business will improve overall.
3. E-invoicing benefits
These e-invoicing benefits in many ways do not just cover businesses and governments. In fact, they extend to the average customer and the economy overall as well. As these trends continue to move upwards, the real-time economy will become more impactful and this will lead to faster payment, resolution of disputes and of course much greater investment with the time and money saved. With these great benefits and upwards-moving trends, e-invoicing will have a great, positive impact on all parts of businesses in the future.