Voice of the Industry

Why e-invoicing adoption still poses a challenge for global companies

Tuesday 19 October 2021 06:56 CET | Editor: Oana Ifrim | Voice of the industry

Bartlomiej Wójtowicz, Comarch: Stepping into the world of e-invoicing requires having the right tools and knowing how to use them effectively

The Current State of Affairs

The so-called “e-Invoicing Revolution” is very much on the move, inspiring many government officials to introduce new laws that can help their countries make a shift from paper to paperless document exchange. And yet, there are dozens of global companies that are struggling with e-invoicing adoption. Why is that?

Well, what the European Union had done in terms of “evangelising” about the use of electronic invoicing has led to it becoming mandatory in countries such as France, Spain, and Austria – however, the rules currently apply only to B2G transactions with public administration entities. Thus, it seems that although the hype was (and is) high, it wasn’t high enough to help popularise e-invoicing in the B2B and B2C model (where most of the global document exchange plays out).
Ergo, those two environments remain full of unknowns, which explains why so many business executives can’t tell which data exchange platform they should choose to start sharing e-invoices with their trading partners, which document formats they should use, whether they should digitise only their Accounts Payable (AP) or Accounts Receivable (AR) processes – or both, and so on.

And considering that there are still hundreds of businesses that keep running their document exchange operations using paper exclusively, it is hardly surprising that many are hesitant about going full digital – even though they are well aware of the benefits. After all, e-invoicing leads to a significant reduction of operational costs (savings of about 50-60%), faster time-to-payment, higher quality of data – and business executives know it would really be a shame to miss out on all of that (especially if their competitors found a way to make it work for them and now they’re gaining a significant advantage).

So, is there a way for them to solve this problem? There is.

The Solution? Creating a Sound e-Invoicing Strategy 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced thousands of companies to rebuild their business strategy and jump in on the “digitalisation” bandwagon. As a result, many businesses are now aware that they need to start using some kind of an e-invoicing platform or a modern EDI system if they want to run their document exchange operations and collaborate with their partners in virtual realms. Of course, there are dozens of such IT solutions available on the market, so the question is – how do they choose the right one?

By and large, companies – especially the global ones – should be looking for a data exchange platform that can help them solve the challenges they are facing. In other words, their system of choice should allow them, for example, to send and receive invoices created in various document formats, share their documents using multiple channels of distribution (web portals, e-mail, etc.), and achieve full compliance with the latest legal regulations (in every part of the world where those companies operate). 

However, they must also remember that there are other things they have to decide before they can switch to e-invoicing – for example, they need to define the scope of the digitalisation project. Here, the decision-makers should consider the possibilities for further development. For some companies, geographical expansion is crucial; for others, the digitalisation of order management and logistic processes may be more valuable. So, it is a matter of finding the right balance.

Also, some companies may be interested in improving their communication processes by adding invoice reconciliation, claim management, or spend control features to their platform. Thus, being aware of all the options and choosing the direction in which one’s company should go is key.

Another important thing is knowing whether one’s partners and customers are ready to become part of the e-invoicing revolution. And so, the situation requires companies to encourage other parties involved in their business to move on with the times and help them with the onboarding process. Also, by allowing partners to have a say in the process of developing a strategy, companies may find it easier to decide on specific distribution channels, document formats, and rules for invoice verification and approval. From the AP perspective, a vendor portal should be considered for smaller partners so that businesses can enjoy having a fully structured flow of documents and advanced reporting possibilities.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

The above quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry sums it all up nicely. Stepping into the world of e-invoicing requires having the right tools and knowing how to use them effectively. Thus, global companies should not think of e-invoicing as a threat but rather treat it as an opportunity to improve their business processes and build stronger relations with their partners.  

About Bartłomiej Wójtowicz

Bartłomiej Wójtowicz is Consulting Director at Comarch. He has over 15  years of  experience in the field of B2B communication in the supply chain. Initially responsible for the market development in CEE. Later on responsible for the product development in e-invoicing area and currently responsible for consulting team. 

 


About Comarch

For the past 25 years, Comarch has been a global provider of advanced, software-defined technologies that help companies from all industries optimize their key business processes. The company’s vast portfolio includes systems and services for efficient data and document exchange such as Master Data Management, Electronic Data Interchange, Online Distribution, and e-Invoicing platform. Each of the products is fully compliant with the latest local regulations and allows enterprises to improve their business performance, gain a competitive advantage, and reduce operational costs. Comarch’s clients include top professionals from various sectors: retail (eg, METRO-NOM, Tesco, Carrefour) FMCG (eg BIC, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Unilever), pharma (eg GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi) and many more.

 


Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: Comarch, e-invoicing, digitalisation
Categories: Banking & Fintech | E-invoicing, SCF & E-procurement
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech