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hmvpa_468x374Karl Meinke, professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm once said - "Computers allow us to shrink the world. Before we know it, we'll all be living in matchboxes". I paraphrase slightly. He won't remember that he said it.  It was it circa 1975 when he was 13. I remember it was very funny at the time but remarkably, there's a ring of reality in what he said. The world we occupy today is unthinkably different to the world that existed then and while we don't live in matchboxes in a literal sense, who would have thought that the shops we used to frequent would have shrunk to the size of a letter box?

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.

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