The significance of Germany’s e-invoicing move

The significance of Germany’s e-invoicing move

Posted by Pete Loughlin in e-invoicing, Electronic Invoicing 23 Sep 2011

Germany is the biggest market within the biggest economic region in the world and thanks to the German’s decision on e-invoicing, the cost of doing business in the EU has just started to drop.

The news as reported by Christian Lanng is perfectly timed. It coincides with EXPP, the biggest e-invoicing conference in Europe, that kicks off next week and it comes at a time when the EU desperately needs a bit of good economic news. So why is this so important?

In terms of IMF GDP figures, the European Union is the largest economy in the world generating € $11,808 billion (2009)  and Germany has the biggest GDP by far at €2,409 billion.  So it’s not just of symbolic importance that German businesses will be able to free up resources and cash by eliminating paper from their business processes. When Germany embraces electronic invoicing – that’s important – very important.

30 billion invoices are issued in Europe each year and 89.5% of them are are paper*. It’s a complex market place with many languages and many independent and autonomous governments  and the lack of unity on common business processes like invoicing has represented a major cost to the European economy. The relaxation of regulations – not only in Germany – but all over Europe will act as an important economic boost.

*Thanks to Bruno Koch for updating the figure originally quoted – see his comment below


  • Bruno Koch September 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm /

    Dear colleague,
    “…28 billion invoices are issued in Europe each year and 95% of them are paper. …” are very old figures, which I published some years ago. Every year, I publish up to date figures and and outlook on and
    30 billion invoices (Page 6) and 89.5% paper / 10.5% electronic invoices (Page 7) are much more reflecting the 2011 figures. As you may see on page 13, I use a very strict definition for the term e-invoicing. Less restrictive sources would conclude that the e-invoicing market penetration were already above 20-25% (this including also non-taxcomliant e-invoices)

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