16 Dec 2011 UK left out in the cold – again
The dust hasn’t settled on the decision by the UK to turn its back on the EU when a freedom of information request submitted by Basware makes it look like Great Britain is making a habit of being left out in the cold.
While much of the world is embracing technology to reduce the cost of doing business, HM Treasury, the UK government counting house, still receives 80% of it’s business invoices on paper and 83% of local government authorities are in a similar situation.
Earlier this year, the EU removed some of the regulatory obstacles to allow businesses to send invoices electronically without falling foul of the tax authorities. The aim is to make e-invoicing standard practice by the end of the decade. Latin America is embracing electronic invoicing in a really sophisticated way not on only to allow business to improve their carbon footprint but to enhance export controls. So why is the UK government dragging it’s feet?
One year ago, Sir Philip Green said that government “could save billions per year if they adopt shopping spending processes”. The majority of retailers have far stronger reporting and accountability of their spending and have developed more integrated and automated accounts payable processes. The government could do well to learn from their example.
This should be a source of embarrassment for the UK government. Electronic invoicing allows finance departments to become much more efficient in the way they handle payments to their suppliers and at a time when public spending is under close scrutiny, saving money on inefficient back office processes should be at the top of the priority list