The European Parliament backed the Commission’s proposal to set up a European standard for e-invoicing in public procurement which brought the EU closer to the creation of a true digital single market in Europe.
This move speed up the digital transformation of Europe’s business critical operations. Significant economic benefits to this move included the harmonisation of e-invoicing standards across the EU to create efficiencies and reduce costs, not only for the public sector but also for businesses. This will also help to support a goal of the European Union Digital Agenda to create a paperless public administration in Europe.
E-invoicing has been limited across Europe, making up only 4 to 15 per cent of all invoices exchanged. There is a fragmented patchwork of standards which is inefficient and a barrier to expansion across markets for all businesses, particularly for SMEs.
The proposed legislation also has very real implications or individual businesses. Ricoh-sponsored research shows that it can cost a company €17.60 to receive and process a paper invoice at any given time, versus just €6.70 for an electronic version. Issuing a paper invoice costs €11.10, versus €4.70 when the process is managed digitally.
The costs savings can be reinvested by European businesses to drive innovation, support business growth, and contribute to a healthier economy. For this to occur, a pan-European approach and support is needed in order for the Commission to realise its goal of making e-invoicing the predominant form of invoicing in Europe by 2020.