Author: Pete Loughlin

Like many readers, I have met many suppliers who struggle to manage cash flow. And I’ve met companies that rely on third party finance solutions to fill the gap. They all have one thing in common – they are not happy people. I would challenge you to produce a photograph of an AR team with smiles on their face – without using Photoshop!

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.

Jason Busch at Spend Matters recently used an expression “drinking the Kool-Aid” when referring to the unquestioning beliefs of software vendors’ marketing people. I didn’t even know what Kool-Aid was but I knew what he meant. It’s what I call believing your own bullshit and we see so much of this whenever the topic of e-invoicing and interoperability crops up. Despite the fiercely opposed arguments, there is something very consistent about the views expressed on interoperability. They are all very biased. I’m not 100% objective myself – I have my own personal likes and dislikes based on over 15 years’ experience in this market and I don’t pretend to be the most informed but nevertheless, I will attempt to filter out the crap that reverberates around this debate and share my point of view on e-invoicing and interoperability.

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.