Electronic invoices have still not arrived in all companies. This is the conclusion reached by the renowned German research institute Fraunhofer IAO in the recently published study “Paperless Office and E-Invoicing”. According to this study, around two thirds of the companies surveyed still do not use electronic invoice processing, but send letters or e-mails as invoices. Only about 20% of companies already benefit from a modern EDI interface.

The advantages of electronic invoices are manifold. Classic paper invoices cause a lot of headaches for controlling and financial accounting: lost documents, incorrect or missing information and a lack of conformity with other business documents are only some of the shortcomings of non-digital invoices. 38% of respondents stated that they process more than 5,000 invoices per week. This amount of manual processing takes an incredible amount of time, is prone to errors and ultimately also reduces efficiency in the company.

Become an e-biller

More and more companies are therefore also planning to introduce a software solution to speed up the invoicing process. More than a quarter of the companies state that they want to find a solution within the next two to five years. Almost 50% are planning to introduce a solution before the end of this year. And for good reason: Time is of the essence.

According to the European Commission’s plan, electronic invoicing is to become the standard in the European Union by 2020. We have previously reported that public authorities will have to rely on electronic invoicing in a future as a result of this EU directive.

Today, the global accounting landscape is very fragmented. Different interfaces and few uniform standards make the spread of electronic invoices more difficult. According to the study, there is often a lack of a project management in the company responsible for the implementation of an electronic invoice, as well as organizational and technical concerns. But the biggest obstacle seems to be the business partners of the companies. These companies are often technically not yet ready and cannot process electronic invoices. This is the assumption of many companies. However, this is often a fallacy.

Create electronic invoices easily

A clearly structured and simple onboarding process makes it easier for companies of all sizes to introduce digital invoices. For a major customer in the automotive sector, for example, we created a clear onboarding portal for business partners in several languages. Modular and cloud-based solutions such as those from io-market provide solutions to digitise and process existing paper or electronic invoices (PDF invoices) for global corporations as well as small businesses. The software from io-market converts a classic invoice into a machine-readable XML file. One of the biggest implementation obstacles can therefore be easily removed.

The study also highlights the importance of a user-friendly and clear tool for managing electronic invoices. We at io-market have also made this experience. This is why io-market relies on an innovative solution that can be easily integrated into existing ERP systems and provides an attractive user interface for employees.

The study by the Fraunhofer Institute clearly shows the advantages to companies that introduce electronic invoicing. All companies surveyed benefit from the following improvements following the introduction of electronic invoicing:

  • huge time saving
  • greater transparency
  • cost cuts
  • lower error rate
  • liquidity improvements (avoid losing potential cash discount savings)
  • better business relationships (thanks to professional and fast invoice management)

Electronic Invoicing strengthens transparency

According to the study, greater transparency is considered crucial in many companies. After all, invoices and delivery documents must be made available to an increasing number of departments and persons responsible. Transparency is particularly appreciated in companies with different locations. Employees must work together “regardless of time zones or geographic location – invoices must be accessible anytime, anywhere,” the study states.

The introduction of a electronic invoicing also offers many advantages in the area of the incoming invoice workflow. Ideally, the comparison of an invoice with the order is done automatically and the approval of the superior is done immediately and uncomplicated via the one software workflow tool.

These numerous advantages are convincing more and more companies to introduce electronic invoicing. The cost savings are enormous and can be realized shortly after project start. The project duration is often surprisingly short. In over 75% of cases, the project period for the introduction of an e-bill is between one and twelve months. Often the projects are completed within a few months.

The use of digital invoices offers companies all sorts of advantages. Do you have questions about the implementation and its advantages for your company? Please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise how to digitize your invoices and increase the transparency of the processes.