On-boarding, the single biggest missing feature in EU e-invoicing legislation

Recently we received notice on an article published on the UK Treasury Today website. The title “A breakthrough for e-invoicing?”  zooms in on the new EU Directive e-invoicing on public procurement and the fact the actual breakthrough for e-invoicing is the feature missing from the EU framework for e-invoicing. And that is: on-boarding.

For the article Treasury Today interviewed both Charles Bryant ( European Affairs Advisor for OB10) and (Richard Manson, Director and co-founder of CloudTrade)

Charles Bryant stated: “Supplier on-boarding can often be quite hard work. If public authorities across Europe begin onboarding their suppliers into the ecosystem then this will, of course, make them able to do e-invoicing with other people. There is a network effect, which is very positive.”

The article further states:

“Pushing greater adoption in the public sector might mean some suppliers will follow, but it should not be mistaken as a panacea for low adoption. In fact, the EU’s Directive does very little, in itself, to remove hurdles continuing to hamper supplier onboarding.

One of the initial difficulties, for smaller companies in particular, was the need to provide XML files or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) when they lack the appropriate infrastructure. As a result, many e-invoicing providers developed other connectivity options, such as portals, to minimise the technical integration required on the supplier side. The one drawback for some companies using their own accounting system, however, is it may well lead to work being duplicated. “The fact is that a lot of companies are in the middle,” claims Richard Manson, Director and co-founder of CloudTrade. “They are either too big to justify the duplication of effort and overhead costs inherent with invoice portals or too small to justify the investment needed to change systems and infrastructure to send XML or EDI.”

CloudTrade has developed an approach that Manson claims reaches those companies that are caught in the middle. The platform simply requires PDF invoices to be sent via email. When a PDF is created by an application – for example, finance or accounting package – in almost all instances it will be a text PDF with the invoice data embedded within the layers of the PDF. The data is mapped by CloudTrade and delivered to the buyer in the format that is required by their end system. “If you remove those barriers and offer suppliers something that is easy to do, then it logically follows that you will see higher adoption.”


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