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I wasn’t expecting a drama but when Sarah Chilman rushed to Nigel Taylor’s rescue following what appeared to be an unprovoked attack with a coat stand, I immediately thought of Wendi Deng’s intervention at the phone hacking hearing when her now estranged husband, Rupert Murdoch, was the target of Johnnie Marbles. “Surely Parliamentary business isn’t always like this” I thought but quickly realised that the coat stand had simply fallen on Nigel’s head. It was a moment of distraction during an otherwise fascinating session, the first sitting of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry on e-invoicing. [caption id="attachment_8723" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Parliamentary Committee on e-invoicing From left to right, Caitlin the stenographer, Luke McKeever from OB10, Tim Coleman from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Nigel Taylor from Taulia and Chair of UKNeF, Nigel Clifford from Procserv and to the far right, the coat stand.[/caption] The coat hanger mishap wasn't the only surprise. The Inquiry that I was privileged to be a part of, sat on Tuesday of this week, the day after an intense, all-day debate hosted by the UK National e-Invoicing Forum (UKNeF) during which I sat with Ian Burdon and Peter Smith, both of whom brought fresh and expert views and insights to the public sector e-invoicing discussion. These two days, the UKNeF meeting and the Parliamentary Inquiry, led me to some conclusions about the direction of electronic invoicing in the UK and they were conclusions that I would absolutely not have predicted.

Only last week, Martha Lane Fox stepped down as UK "digital champion", a role in which she tried to encourage central and local government to get people online. While her efforts were applauded, there is some doubt as to how effective those efforts were. David Cameron's Conservative party came under criticism recently when it decided to delete all pre-2010 speeches including the speech that Prime Minister himself stated that the internet would help hold politicians to account. You could be forgiven for thinking that the UK government had gone soft on the digital agenda. But you'd be wrong. While the G2C (Government to Citizen) agenda may seem somewhat confused, the politicians appear to have no doubt about the importance of their role in encouraging the B2B digital agenda and today, Mathew Hancock MP, opening the UK National e-invoicing Forum (UKNeF) Roundtable event: Creating an Interoperable Ecosystem for Government & Business, claimed in no uncertain terms that he did not want to see the UK lag behind. The Minister of State for Innovation and Skills stated the Government's commitment saying that Britain would "move from the middle of the pack " to "lead the world" in e-invoicing.

I was delighted when I heard a few weeks ago the news that was made official this week that Nigel Taylor has joined Taulia. It's great news for Nigel and great news for Taulia. Nigel moves from GXS where he led the marketing, business development and strategy of their eInvoicing solutions but I got to know him through his chairmanship of the UK National e-invoicing Forum. He’s won a great deal of respect in that chair role where he’s been able to steer the delivery of some excellent thought leadership from the group. He also represents the UK at the European Commission’s forum on eInvoicing and is an executive committee member of the European eInvoicing Service Providers’ Association.

Today the world of e-invoicing witnessed the birth of it's latest miracle. "A business model considered 'impossible' by the industry is now the new reality." the press release states. "A bomb in the world of paid electronic invoices." Not just a miracle, a spectacular miracle. Although, I have to say, some of the impact has been lost in translation. And it gets better. "The InvoiceSharing business model is similar to companies like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, that all have one thing in common: They have been changing the world." Let me rephrase the above: "Spot the odd one out: InvoiceSharing, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn" InvoiceSharing are new and they've just launched themselves into the e-invoicing world with a level of self-delusion that makes some of their competitors appear almost realistic in their assessment of their ability to disrupt. But don't be misled by my mocking tone - InvoiceSharing might just be onto something.

Crossflow Payments has been building their leadership team for a few months and they continue with another senior hire. Carl Maughan has joined the company as Chief Technical Officer. Carl brings strong business and technical architecture skills as well as solid technical leadership skills. He comes to Crossflow Payments after serving as Global Head of Architecture & Design at Euromoney. Prior to this he has been CIO of Stanleybet and has held different technical roles with Equifax and Erudine Financial Control Systems for over 15 years

A couple of articles ago I mentioned the EU’s draft Directive on eInvoicing. It is a sensible document. However it has some problems which raise important questions. The core problem is that the reasoning in the Explanatory Memorandum to the draft is flawed. This is not just grumpy pedantry but something fundamental.

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