Author: Pete Loughlin

Ask a bunch of people what Ariba is great at and you'll get a range of answers. Some will say they were one of the great dot com success stories. Some will say e-procurement and e-sourcing. Others will say Ariba Supplier Network (ASN) and a few will even say e-invoicing. But I'd be bowled over if any said "dynamic discounting". Ariba has more customers actively using dynamic discounting to generate substantial saving for the business than anyone else but their PR machine sounds like it's still 1999.

This is the second in a series examining the global landscape for e-invoicing. The first, an overview can be found here. Of all the economic regions in the world, electronic invoicing is most well established within Europe and North America. This is hardly surprising. As economies, they are amongst the biggest and most technologically mature. They have much in common culturally, politically and in terms of they way they do business but despite the many similarities there are some very distinct differences that makes the implementation of e-invoicing in each region very different.


e-invoicing may be flavor of the month in some quarters but despite having been practiced by some of the largest organizations in the world for over a decade it remains in its infancy. Estimates vary but only about 15% of the world's invoices are transmitted electronically and the level of adoption across the globe varies tremendously. In some countries, despite the approval of the tax and regulatory authorities, take up by business has been slow while in other parts of the world, it is governments' reluctance to accept e-invoicing that is acting as a blocker.

The world map of e-invoicing

The world can be divided into four e-invoicing regions. North America and Europe together with Australia and New Zealand, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa. e-invoicing map of the world

This is how it will be read. When the European regulators produced guidelines on how bent a banana could be, there was a media frenzy. Headlines like "Europe Bans Bent Bananas" and "It's Official - Bananas Banned by Brussels". It was a Euromyth of course but it sells newspapers and I can feel the same thing is going to happen when the CEN get's its hands on e-invoicing standards.