e-invoicing is a great solution – but what’s the problem?

e-invoicing is a great solution – but what’s the problem?

Posted by Pete Loughlin in e-invoicing 16 Sep 2011

I get frustrated at the debates on e-invoicing. The ones that go on and on endlessly about which is the right standard to employ. What is and is not an electronic invoice? Who knows best about what to deploy where? My digital certificate is bigger than your digital certificate.

Purchasing Insight logoIt’s a common problem. The MBA meets the propeller-head. Both intelligent, passionate, able people. The MBA knows a thing or two about business and is a technology enthusiast. The propeller-head know more than most about coding and is a secret day trader. The perfect combination for a technology inspired solution. What could possibly go wrong with these two?

Beware of geeks bearing gifs

I remember in the early days of e-business, I was working with an insurance company and we were developing an online insurance application form. I recall clearly the developer showing me the submit button. “And look at this, when you press submit – the button catches fire. Look – animated flames”. Animated gifs – very 1995 – but please – we’re trying to sell household insurance!

And it’s the same with modern day business solutions. OK, the geeks are a bit more business savvy and the business people more eager to embrace new technology but we need to understand what we’re trying to do.

e-invoicing isn’t about making everyting “e”. It’s about automating business processes. When someone tells you you need a OIOXML compliant invoice – that’s the 2011 equivalent of making your submit button catch fire.

e-invoicing is a means to an end. It is just one way of automating a business function. Whether you use an OIOXML invoice, an EDI invoice or you scan a paper invoice – if you can automate your AP process you’re solving the problem. The problem being, today we’re using 19th century methods to manage 21st century businesses.


  • John Vasili September 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm /

    It amazes me that business are still looking at automation that is 30 year old scanning & 20 year old OCR . BT sent the 1st einvoice in 1965 down a basic copper phone line and we are still talking abut it today, ah and yes the wonderful OIOXML compliant invoice only if you are Danish.
    Time for a serious change……………………………………….

  • e-invoicing and the problems with defining e-invoice processes September 19, 2011 at 9:18 am /

    […] >>Read Petes article here […]

  • Nova Business December 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm /

    I totally agree with what you said. I think that it is very important that we know the real meaning of e-invoicing first. I think that by getting the right details about it we can understand the real value of it, which can help us to work faster and better. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Debtor Finance April 15, 2019 at 11:56 pm /

    I also believe that e- invoicing is definitely very helpful for businesses. I think that nowadays, it is great to use e-invoicing for business to work easily. Thanks for sharing this article.

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