11 Jun 2010 e-invoicing with sex appeal
It takes several iterations of a good idea and a bit of sex appeal before it catches on. The iPhone wasn’t the first multifunctional device – it was just the first on the market to package everything up into an object of desire. I clearly recall explaining to a friend: “The camera is inferior, it doesn’t have Flash and the battery life is useless. But just look at it. I don’t care if it doesn’t work – I want one!” There’s a kind of mysterious synergy – the sum of the parts don’t add up to much but somehow, the whole is huge. It’s the same with some business and technology innovations. And in the invoicing space, it’s beginning to have a remarkable effect.
For more than a decade, there have been two missing ingredients in electronic invoicing – a compelling business case and sex appeal. Electronic invoicing has, up until now, been seen as low priority because it doesn’t save much money and, to be frank, it was boring. The concept is far from new. EDI invoicing over proprietary networks has been around for decades. Its limited flexibility meant that it remained restricted to a small number of industries but now the concept has been through several iterations. The huge and rapid growth of the internet supported the evolution of electronic invoicing. It meant that new protocols were adopted and more imaginative applications developed like EIPP. But it is only now that businesses have begun to see the real appeal of electronic invoicing. They have realized it has one of the most important features that business are desperate to adopt in 2010. They have realized that it’s Green! And this realization is producing some interesting effects.
Electronic Invoicing – Zero Tolerance on Manual Invoice Processes
In the pursuit of environmentally friendly business processes some businesses area adopting a zero tolerance approach to manual and paper processes. Scanning as a solution is on the increase, (despite the fact that it represents electronification after the fact) and end-to-end electronic invoicing and payment are being considered as business imperatives.
Of course it’s not not just the green agenda that is driving the resurgence in e-invoicing. Denise Bedell recently compiled an insightful piece in Global Finance in which she cites a number of factors including Sarbanes-Oxley, environmental concerns, the pursuit of Dynamic Discounting as well as the emergence of the world’s economies from the economic crisis conspiring to form the perfect storm that is the real driver. But while all of these important factors play an important role, it is the close association with the Green agenda that is giving e-invoicing it’s sex appeal.