The Automatic Synchronisation of Cardinal Grammeters
My problem with proximity to matters European is not that you meet the sort of people who will sell you a Turbo-Encabulator (https://youtu.be/Ac7G7xOG2Ag), but that you are surrounded by the sort of people who will buy one (when they aren’t reinventing it).
The only flaw in Bud Haggart’s legendary rendition, and John Quick’s 1944 original, is that they don’t foresee the rise of TLAs (and, increasingly, FLAs) or the strange mutation of English modalities that is diagnostic of a European Commission produced document.
European Institutions are currently suffused with an enthusiasm for all things to do with eInvoice. The topic dominated a recent Open PEPPOL meeting in Stockholm, the ECB is also looking at it in the context of eInvoices and Banking systems, and there is a continuous stream of social media puffery about it.
The enthusiasm is based on the assertion (rarely argument) that eInvoices are a good thing that will save everyone money. The enthusiasms also tend to conflate invoicing and procurement, but that can wait for another day.
In a recent note (11 November 2015, ECPB/2015/017; not available online at the time of writing) the ECB states:
E-invoicing has the potential to bring benefits for the society as a whole – efficiency and productivity for businesses as well as for public administrations and increased convenience and security for consumers (see annex 2). The digitalization of business processes in general and e-invoicing in particular is a good opportunity to improve the competitiveness of European enterprises and raise productivity and customer satisfaction. E-invoicing enables faster invoice approval times, and if combined with faster payment solutions or improved supply chain finance opportunities, enables them to generate more value.
It cannot be said too often, that eInvoices only add value when there is something to match them with—typically a valid order and a delivery receipt. The fact that an invoice is received in digital rather than paper format does not relive you of the need to ensure:
– It relates to an authorised order
– The order was raised and approved by authorised officers
– The order and invoice relate to a valid supplier
– The order and invoice are for appropriate goods and services
– The order and invoice conform to agreed contract terms and conditions
– The order and invoice contain appropriate VAT treatments
– The order and invoice can be assigned to correct budget and account codes
– The goods or services have been received and are of appropriate quantity and quality
– An invoice for the same goods and services has not previously been paid
Use of invoices for supply chain finance purposes also rests on the assumption that the invoice is valid.
In short, eInvoice delivers none of the promised benefits unless you first take care of your order process and look at the entire chain of activity from raising a requisition to settlement of the account. This is quite a difficult exercise.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is either unfamiliar with purchasing and AP processes or is trying to sell you a drawn reciprocation dingle arm to reduce soinasodial repleneration.
Ian Burdon can be found on twitter @IanBurdon