e-Invoicing: too complex for 40% of the business

March 14, 2011  |  Electronic Invoicing

As many as 40 per cent of larger businesses across Europe are shying away from E-invoicing because of perceived complexity and lack of standards, according to new research from information management firm Iron Mountain and YouGov, a leading research company.

The findings have been published to coincide with the launch of Iron Mountain’s new Business Process Management (BPM) services.

Capable of handling as many as 60 billion accounts payable (AP) transactions per year, the services will be supported by a custom-built processing facility in Bratislava designed to help businesses tackle invoice management through Iron Mountain’s managed services. The new services will allow efficient processing of inbound invoices in multiple data formats whilst enabling seamless integration into legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

“Our research reveals that almost one in three respondents across Europe would introduce E-invoicing if there was a single standard for formatting,” said Bettina Wonsag, General Manager of the new BPM division at Iron Mountain. “In the meantime, they are missing out on huge savings and efficiencies. Our new BPM services enable businesses to get in-bound channels under control and take paper out of the process. We are removing these concerns by offering a controlled transition to optimised accounts payable processes.”

A fifth of respondents from France and a third of those from Spain felt that the current situation around E-invoicing was overly complex and confusing, and that this was a barrier to implementation.

Just over a third (36 per cent) of respondents from the UK and Spain said they would introduce E-invoicing if there was a standard format, rising to 40 per cent for respondents from Germany.

Iron Mountain’s New BPM Operation

The new services offer secure, transparent and structured document management, from processing and automation to storage and retrieval, and include accounts payable specific services that help organisations to take control of their largest document-centric process.

These new services offer a standardised approach, capable of handling invoice data across multiple countries and legal entities, in any format or language. Offerings range from taking over individual process steps to a fully managed service.

“High speed information and document exchange is fundamental to business success,” adds Wonsag. “As the volume of invoices grows, many finance systems reach their limits, requiring the company to invest heavily in new hardware and software.

“Our new BPM services reduce the risk associated with such capital investments whilst ensuring that compliance guidelines, statutory data protection requirements, and data and quality standards are fulfilled. By procuring BPM Managed Services from Iron Mountain, firms can hand over all these obligations to a highly experienced service provider and have quick, trouble-free access to their digitised data.”

Iron Mountain’s BPM services can be integrated independently into an existing IT infrastructure, including finance or ERP systems, taking care of the data processing and the digitisation of documents into native formats. This eliminates all need for manual input and re-keying data, in order to reach the highest possible accuracy rate and free-up the time of accounts payable personnel. Authorised staff can access the data throughout the process and retrieve documents online or have the originals delivered by one of Iron Mountain’s secure delivery fleet vehicles.

“In the current climate, business cases to invest in improving an organisation’s operating efficiency or its competitive position must still be developed and considered carefully,” said Peter Simons, Technical Specialist at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). “As Iron Mountain’s research confirms, management accountants have important roles to play in improving the efficiency of the finance function. They need not fear the relentless advance of progress.”

Source: Iron Mountain


  1. The findings to this research is very significant. The new BPM services would cater to the need of companies in terms of secure and structured document management and capability to handle invoice data in many countries.

  2. Others view the process as complicated while there are enterprises which better understand the benefits they can have with e-invoicing.

Leave a Reply