E-invoicing study in France: use of PDF and email are common [no kidding]

Boy what a surprise. You do a e-invoicing survey under SME’s. And what is the outcome? Well, that most of them use e-mail and PDF for e-invoicing.  Now, for all of you that are eager to say that that is not e-invoicing, talk to those SME all over France, Europe and the world for that matter. Because this what they believe. And keep in mind that these SME’s are strangely enough your future customers.

Of the 1,144 corporate customers that participated in the SAGE survey, 58% were active in the business-to-business (B2B) space, 24% in business-to-consumer, 8% in business-to-government and 10% in more than one category. Ninety-four percent of companies in the sample had fewer than 100 employees.

In terms of total invoices issued, paper or electronic, 35% of participants issue between 1000 and 5000 a year, while 30% issue between 100 and 1000. In terms of invoices received, 41% claimed to receive between 100 and 1000 invoices a year and 37% from 1000 to 5000.

48% of firms taking part cited simplicity, traceability and productivity as at the heart of the benefits of e-invoicing. Of those respondents in the B2B segment, 50% expressed an interest in de-materialising the invoicing process, while 28% claimed to have already done so.

Source: http://www.dialogueonline.info/news/e-invoicing-study-france-suggests-narrow-focus-document-transfers-among-smes

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  1. These stats do not surprise me. PDF invoicing is ubiquitous in most corners of the world. SME’s (and for that matter all suppliers that I know of) are usually keen to go paperless - but on their terms.

    They don’t want to duplicate effort by raising their invoice in a 3rd party portal when they have already raised it in their accounting package; they don’t want the hassle and cost of changing their systems and infrastructure to send XML or EDI files. They want an easy life (who doesn’t) and simply want to use tools they already have and use on a daily basis. As almost all billing applications can raise a PDF invoice and send via email, this approach is the preferred way to invoice for most organisations.

    What many people may not be aware of is that when a PDF is raised by an application, in almost all cases it will have the invoice data such as invoice number, line quantity and amounts embedded in the layers of the PDF. Using the right technology or service provider, this data layer can be exposed and mapped into an e-invoice structure for the receiving organisation. In reality, it’s akin to mapping one flavour of XML to another!

  2. The EU compliance requirements relating to the use of a Fiscal PDF (in place of the paper invoice) are no different to any other e-invoice solution, meaning that, strict evidence of ‘integrity’ and ‘authenticity’ must be guaranteed. To do so, we can apply the digital signature on the PDF before sending it by mail or uploading it into a 3rd party portal.
    The issue is that many people think that sending an invoice by PDF without digital signature is eInvoice, which is don´t.

    Some companies already use the PDF because, as Richard said, with a proper software it can be done :