Is e-invoicing failing to deliver? [research] [infographic]

May 11, 2012  |  Electronic Invoicing, Research

These are difficult times for (large) enterprises. Innovation and investments are delayed and projects are cancelled that could have stimulated business and lead to greater efficiency.

But even for the innovators out there times are tough: (e-invoicing) technologies that promise to deliver extra value and efficiency only end up delivering a fraction of the anticipated benefits are not finding their way as it should

Tradeshift recently released its first research into the attitudes and experiences of modern enterprises with their current e-invoicing solutions. And this is what they found out.


Business is increasingly tough

“One look at the newspapers over the last few years will tell you the world is in the midst of a financial meltdown. This is a meltdown that has ravaged businesses of all sizes.

And it is perhaps one of the underlying themes that runs throughout the research we conducted. The majority (65%) of financial decision makers said that they are now under greater pressure than ever to manage business costs.

It is clear that this is having a big impact on the running of financial departments. When asked about supplier relationships, 78% said they are very important to their business and 72% said they are even more important because of the economic outlook.

The finance team clearly sits at the heart of an effective business too, with 74% of financial decision makers saying an inefficient finance department is a threat to the business as a whole.”


Invoicing puts a massive strain on a finance department

“There are areas within the finance department where inefficiencies clearly still lie. Take invoicing as a case in point.

Our research found that large businesses process 421,000 invoices on average every single year. Not only that, but about half of these invoices (48%) still have to be scanned or input manually.

That’s a total of 202,080 invoices. This scanning or inputting requires 48 employee hours on average every single week.”


E-invoicing has failed to offer a solution [ouch]

“While we know logically that e-invoicing is a natural next step for finance departments, it’s fair to say it has failed so far in keeping customers happy.

Only 12% said their current solution was very satisfactory. The biggest barriers to becoming a universal solution have been efficiency and cost 57% agree that adoption would be widespread if it was free to suppliers.

47% of enterprises we spoke to say e-invoicing is pointless without widespread supplier adoption and addressing these barriers is going to be key in reaching that stage.”


Finance is ready for the revolution

“Considering the finance department hasn’t moved forward in this direction in the way that many other business units have, the potential for transformation is enormous - and crucially the appetite is there.

60% of those polled think social media could be used in their department to improve relationships with customers and suppliers, while 48% think that P2P processes will move to the cloud in the next year.”

Recommendations from Tradeshift

Based on their findings, this is what Tradeshift recommends you to look at, when choosing and e-invoicing solution:

  • Business is social, so business applications need to be social too
  • Business is built on relationships, relationships are important
  • Technology should serve business, not the other way round
  • E-invoicing should work for the buyer and the supplier
  • Platforms should be open, interoperable and work across borders
  • Data should be easy to access
  • IT issues should not become a stumbling block
  • Financial services should be easy to integrate and offer
  • The business case for e-invoicing adoption should be obvious for all
  • E-invoicing should be about more than just invoicing

Time for a revolution?

E-invoicing would be more likely to reach wide-spread adoption if it was free. If you are on the same page as Tradeshift, get on the same network with Them. You can download the full report here – including our manifesto. Also check out the infographic with their key findings.

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