Archive for Adoption

06-11-2008: Spanish Conference on electronic invoices in Seville

September 15, 2008  |  Adoption, Events

Encuentro de Expertos en Factura Electrónica, XBRL y Contratación Pública

The Encounter of Experts in Electronic Invoice, XBRL and Public Hiring, organized by the Association of Industrialists of Technologies of the Information and Communications of Andalusia, ETICOM and SANDETEL, public company of the Council of Innovation, Science and Company of the Andalusian Government, is the main event on Electronic Invoice, XBRL and and-administration organized to date in Andalusia.
With the participation of some of the best international and national experts in these fields, pertaining to organizations like the European Union, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce of Spain’s Govenment, the Tributary Agency, the Chamber of Commerce of Andalusia and RED.ES and FUNDETEC, the event has the objective of being a key event when it comes to electronic interchange of invoices, documents and financial statements, for both companies and public entities.
This new panorama appears to be a great opportunity of business for the companies of the sector TIC, besides to become for the administrations and public companies an instrument that remarkably improves the productivity and the quality of the service of attention to citizens and companies.

The entering in to force of the obligatory terms for companies to send electronic invoice to the Administration that will begin first at the beginning of 2009 for large companies. In November of 2010 it will extended to the entire private sector. It will also including hiring processes, administrative conflicts, tenders, VAT, et cetera. 
This first encounter of Experts in Electronic Invoice, XBRL and Public Hiring, will be held on 6 November 2008 in the Centro de Convenciones del Hotel Barceló of Seville. The event is invaluable for companies and public administrations.

Registration and ore information on

Compliance complexity inhibits implementing e-invoicing

September 15, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

Complexity of compliance is inhibiting almost half of European businesses from implementing e-Invoicing

At SIBOS, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, today unveiled research revealing that European businesses are struggling to fully exploit the benefits of electronic invoicing and are held back by a fear of complexity in addressing regulatory compliance requirements and legislation.

At a time when achieving cost efficiencies and effective resource utilization is crucial to maintaining competitive differentiation, the move from paper-based to electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) comes as a key opportunity for businesses today. In spite of this, the research found that 40 percent of European companies are yet to make a decision to implement an automated e-invoicing solution.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne across 400 IT managers in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, found that the most pressing e-invoicing concern for European businesses is compliance with national e-invoicing legislation. In addition, with 72 percent of European companies currently conducting business in more than six countries around the world, more than half admitted they were concerned about supporting disparate e-invoicing solutions across multiple geographies. A quarter of responses also negatively highlighted the complexities associated with implementing multiple solutions to handle value added tax (VAT) compliance and audit requirements across the countries in which they operate. 

“Knowing that more than half of the correspondents are doing business in the U.S. as well, the results are staggering that more than half of European businesses are struggling to effectively conduct business across global barriers,” said Chris Johnson, vice president, global management and marketing, B2B Integration for Sterling Commerce.  “The benefits of moving from paper-based to e-invoicing are widely known and accepted, yet the reality for many businesses is that even for e-invoicing projects that do receive budget approval, a dependence on multiple solutions to handle compliance with multiple VAT and tax regulations across different territories, is ultimately undermining project success.”

The research also discovered that 80 percent of respondents believed that their finance department could not quantify the amount of VAT at risk if the company was found to be non-compliant.

“One of the problems with any paper-based process is that it is often hard to track the costs and inefficiencies involved – the inefficient nature of the manual process itself prevents easy quantification of the potential savings,” continued Johnson. “If just from a commercial and competitive perspective, companies must move away from these highly inefficient processes. The costs and issues associated with paper-based invoicing, coupled with the associated lack of visibility into a company’s cash management do impact the bottom line, a risk that should be avoided particularly at a time when cost saving and effective resource utilization are so important.”

Sterling Commerce recently launched the first solution to market that enables multi-national organizations to automate electronic invoicing processes worldwide, while maintaining conformity with the tax regulations mandated by each of the particular regions. Sterling e-Invoice Gateway eliminates the need to support separate solutions for each geography; reduces risk and exposure by enabling compliance with ever-changing electronic invoicing tax regulations; and improves operational efficiencies and contains costs by automating both buyer and seller electronic invoice processes in accordance with country-specific tax regulations.

Sterling Commerce is exhibiting Sterling e-Invoice Gateway and its broad portfolio of Financial Services solutions at stand C617, hall C at SIBOS 2008, from Sept. 15-19, in Vienna. To find out more about Sterling Commerce activities, visit

About Sterling Commerce
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, helps customers thrive in a global economy by connecting their business communities, processes, people, and technology.  More than 30,000 customers worldwide – including 82 percent of the Fortune 500 – use Sterling Commerce solutions for business process integration, multi-channel selling, and supply chain fulfillment to improve profitability inside and outside their company walls.  Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Sterling Commerce has offices in 19 countries and most major cities around the world. More information on the company can be found at

Published by: Sterling Commerce


Legal uncertainty hinders electronic invoicing, says EU task force

September 6, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

Electronic invoicing is underused across the EU due to technical complexity, legal uncertainty and operational constraints, according to a European Commission task force. A new e-invoicing framework could cut business supply chain costs by €243 billion, it claims.

Invoicing is central to the cash flow and liquidity of any trading organisation. Small improvements in efficiency can improve working capital, reduce gearing and bring better liquidity. The report by the Commission’s Informal Task Force on e-Invoicing cites research claiming that the average processing cost of a paper invoice across Europe is around €30. E-invoicing can cut that cost by 80%, it says.

A legal framework for e-invoicing is in place currently, but it does not work as it should, according to the report, which was published in July. Consequently, private and public sector organisations continue their reliance upon paper invoices.

The E-invoicing Directive, passed in 2001, required Member States to recognise the validity of electronic invoices and allow electronic storage. It set out mandatory items of information that must be included on every invoice; but it gave each Member State discretion to decide the details of the implementing legislation.
This discretion has resulted in diverse national laws. Some countries’ regimes are very strict and mistakes may result in e-invoices being classed as non-compliant for tax purposes, triggering penalties that can include fines and even imprisonment.

The report gives examples of the problems that exist today. In some countries, electronic invoices are subject to rigorous security requirements that the report describes as “overkill”. Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Hungary require digital signatures on e-invoices. These so-called qualified signatures must be based on digital certificates issued to natural persons – i.e. they cannot be based on a company’s certificate, according to the report.

Storage requirements for e-invoices also vary. Estonia allows complete freedom on the storage location for electronic invoices; Germany allows storage only in an EU Member State. The period for which e-invoices must be stored varies too: the mandatory period is three years in France and 10 years in Germany.

The report says the legal position is so complex for buyers and sellers because “e-invoicing lies at the crossroads of several areas of legislation – mainly VAT, accounting, payment, authentication, company transparency and data retention.”

The report recommends documenting all legal issues and developing the EEI Framework as a formal Recommendation of the European Commission. Current barriers should be addressed within a period of 18 months, it says.

The initial focus will be the Business to Business (B2B) market, followed by Business to Consumer (B2C) and Government to Citizen (G2C).

See: The European electronic invoicing report (38-page/203.1KB PDF)

From: the


Finland still lagging behind in consumer e-invoicing

September 5, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

Denmark holds lead in consumer and business e-invoicing
Finland has yet to make any headway with regard to switching to the e-invoicing of consumers, even though we are already one of the international leaders in business-to-business e-invoicing. According to an extensive Itella Information survey, Denmark holds the lead in both consumer and business e-invoicing. The survey was conducted in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany during the spring of 2008. Consumer interviews were used to investigate over 3,300 people’s experiences of e-invoicing. More than 1,600 people were interviewed with regard to business-to-business invoicing.

The fact that Finland is still in last place in consumer e-invoicing can be considered a blemish on our society’s reputation. We compare favourably with regard to b-to-b e-invoicing, meaning that we have all the technological tools to replicate that success in the consumer sector. Finnish people seem to think that being able to pay their bills through their online bank is quite enough. The majority of consumers still receive hard copies of their invoices, while too few people even contemplate receiving e-invoicing. But does the underlying reason lie in our not having been sufficiently proactive in motivating consumers to switch to e-invoicing? asks Director Miikka Savolainen of Itella Information Oy.

According to the survey, consumers in the Nordic countries and Germany receive roughly the same number of invoices ? around 7 to 8 per person monthly. Hard copy is still the most common invoice format, with the exception of Denmark. In all of the countries, however, hard copies’ share of all invoices has decreased since 2006.

Denmark is in a class of its own with regard to e-invoicing. Only 32 per cent of Danish people nowadays report that they receive their invoices primarily in hard copy format. In the other countries around 75 per cent of consumers receive their invoices primarily in hard copy format. The Danes receive their e-invoices through both the online bank and invoice issuers’ websites or invoice and e-commerce portals.

The Danes can be considered trailblazers in consumer e-invoicing, while Finland and Germany lag behind. In Finland, the number of consumers requesting a hard copy invoice has been decreasing since 2006. Presently, 86 per cent of Finns receive their invoices in hard copy format, but in the future, 50 per cent of Finns hope to receive hard copies of their invoices. In Sweden, the number of people preferring hard copies has remained constant. In Germany, as many as 65 per cent of consumers would like to receive their invoices as letters in the future as well, says Savolainen.

The Finns and Danes exhibit contrasting conduct with regard to payment, too. In Finland, online banking is commonly used for payments, while few invoices are received there. Danes commonly receive reminders of their due invoices through an online bank, but favour direct debiting.

The Danish infrastructure makes the switch-over to e-invoices easy for consumers. Direct debiting, common in Denmark, also supports a switch-over to e-invoicing. These factors at least partly explain why Denmark is ahead of us. We have similar experiences in Norway and Estonia, says Savolainen.

Businesses transition towards e-invoicing ? the large followed by the small
In Finland, almost 80 per cent of large companies plan on sending the majority of their invoices in electronic format within 2 to 3 years. Among SMEs, Finnish ones are the most eager to make the switch to e-invoicing. Some 78 per cent of Finnish SMEs believe that they will be solely or partially using e-invoicing within the following 2 to 3 years.

According to our survey, almost all businesses and organisations intend to make the switch to e-invoicing in the forthcoming years. The only exception is Germany, in which only 65 per cent are considering this. The underlying reason for Finnish businesses’ enthusiasm for e-invoicing is the desire to achieve time and cost savings through this invoicing method, Savolainen states.

Finnish businesses to refuse hard copy invoices in the future
Some 75 per cent of large Finnish companies are receiving e-invoices at the moment. Denmark can equal these numbers, while other countries have not advanced this far.

Finnish businesses will be adopting a zero tolerance policy in the near future. Not even one of the respondents believed they would be exclusively receiving hard copy invoices in a few years. In Germany, on the other hand, little progress is expected, since even 42 per cent of the major corporations believed they would be receiving all their invoices in hard copy format, states Savolainen.

According to the survey, Finnish SMEs will be switching to e-invoicing in a more pronounced fashion than elsewhere.

Enthusiasm for switching to e-invoicing in the coming years runs high among small businesses, too. In Finland, more than half of SMEs expected to receive their invoices exclusively or almost exclusively in the e-invoice format in a few years, Savolainen explains.


Infrastructures for electronic invoicing in B2G transactions

July 24, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

The government of the Netherlands is aiming to be able to process 10% of incoming invoices (i.e. around one million invoices) electronically within three years. The benefits will include corresponding improvements in efficiency, reductions in errors and cost savings. Yet e-invoicing does not seem to be taking off. That is why the Ministry of Economic Affairs has commissioned Telematica Instituut and Zenc, within the framework of its Electronic Invoicing Action Plan, to conduct a detailed study of a number of scenarios related to the government’s e-invoicing infrastructure.

The study will produce a selection tool to generate scenarios for the organisation of the e-invoicing infrastructure. The selection tool will take account of such considerations as organisational aspects (whether the work is done in-house or outsourced), security (the authenticity and integrity of the invoice) and invoice validation and transformation.

The project will run for ten weeks, with the final report being presented to the Ministry in mid-August.

For more information: or