AP Automation

Everyone agrees it seems. The case for implementing inbound e-invoicing is compelling. It is a simple matter of common sense. Replacing an inefficient paper process with an automated electronic process will generate savings and in the current economic environment, who would argue that it was not a good idea? It isn’t even that technically complex. What could possible go wrong?

Back in the sunny long ago when I was a student and Tomorrow's World on the BBC offered us silicon chips with everything, I remember a discussion with friends about how “New Technology” would usher in a new leisure society. We were young and wide-eyed and didn't think it through, didn't consider the capability of  technology to damage while it transformed.

We often use Latin America as an exemplar. I’ve used it as such but I have to say, I shouldn’t. “Europe should follow the lead of Latin America and mandate e-invoicing”. This is really the shorthand version. The long hand version is much more complex and it’s worth taking a little time to understand why Latin America is so different from Europe and North America so that we don’t just learn lessons, we learn the right lessons.

The debate on these pages on e-invoicing and interoperability has been fascinating. It was inspired by the EU’s consultation designed to solicit views in order that e-invoicing in public procurement can be stimulated and encouraged. But there’s more to this than interoperability and we think that there are three things that the EU can do to get electronic invoicing really motoring in Europe - mandate, regulate and educate.

The European Commission is seeking input from interested parties on interoperability between electronic invoice service providers. (Look here for more information on how to contribute.) This issue has implications that are much wider than the European Union. As businesses and governments increasingly adopt e-invoicing for a range of reasons, the debate will reverberate globally. Given a cursory glance, interoperability is a no brainer. But take a closer look at the business issues and it’s not so obvious. In a previous post I presented an argument for interoperability and in this second piece, I’m presenting an argument against. If you have strong views on either side of the debate, leave a comment.

The European Commission is seeking input from interested parties on interoperability between electronic invoice service providers. (Look here for more information on how to contribute.) This issue has implications that are much wider than the European Union. As businesses and governments increasingly adopt e-invoicing for a range of reasons, the debate will reverberate globally. Given a cursory glance, interoperability has distinct advanges. But take a closer look at the business issues and it’s not so obvious. Here, I want to present an argument for interoperability and in a following piece, I’ll present an argument against. If you have strong views on either side of the debate, leave a comment.