Consumers benefit from opportunities SEPA

October 1, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

“Since the successful start of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) more and more consumers have been benefiting from the opportunities it offers,” Hans-Joachim Massenberg, Deputy General Manager of the Association of German Banks, said in Berlin.

“Around 185,000 credit transfers are made every day with the SEPA scheme,” Massenberg continued, most of them by retail customers. This was still relatively few compared to the total of 87 million credit transfers handled every day, but the number was rising steadily. At the moment, customers use the SEPA credit transfer mainly for cross-border payments in Europe. It can easily be used for domestic payments as well, however. To further this process, Massenberg called above all on public authorities and businesses to make greater use of SEPA schemes: “It is, in particular, the state which needs to lead the way here.” Germany’s private banks offer businesses and public authorities support and extensive advice on switching to SEPA.

SEPA was launched in January 2008 with credit transfers and card payments. The SEPA direct debit is to follow in November 2009. Customers will then be able to make payments throughout Europe in the same way as they do today in their own country. They will be able to select their supplier from anywhere in Europe. “To ensure a smooth transition from national direct debit schemes to the SEPA direct debit, however, lawmakers still need to establish the necessary legal certainty,” said Massenberg. “The banking industry has submitted a proposal which will guarantee that the switch from the German to the European direct debit will be as straightforward and secure as possible.” This would also create more planning certainty for trade and industry.

The Association of German Banks’ revised and reprinted booklet “SEPA 2008: uniform payment instruments for Europe” in the “Figures, facts, arguments” series can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Source: German banks

            

Get connected in our LinkedIN group

September 30, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

The EEI Platform LinkedIN group offers your organisation and representatives many valuable contacts all over Europe. Read More

e-Invoicing: Now’s the time to jump in

September 30, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Finally, the promise of paper-free purchasing and processing is nearing reality. You’ve heard the rumblings since the 1970s, that all procurement transactions were going “electronic” — and watched as the efforts have stumbled and stalled.

But there are two factors at work today that are making paper-free operations (e-invoicing) much more feasible:

  • The cost of the necessary technology is decreasing
  • Companies’ interests in cutting costs, with suitable ROI, is increasing

The payoff is handsome, according to a recent Aberdeen study.

Best-in-class purchasing operations realized these benefits:

  • 91% savings in processing invoices
  • 46% trimmed from process cycle time
  • 12% drop in late payments, and
  • 30% decrease in time responding to inquiries

Need some ammo to make your case with the execs?

There’s a combination of “out with the bad, in with the good” examples that’ll help draw a clear picture of the ROI that can be gained from making steps further into electronic payment processing.

Companies that putting electronic payment systems into practice are reporting great improvements in these common problems:

  • Long billing cycles. Paper creeps through the mail and through A/P and A/R, often adding up to days or even weeks. That’s without even factoring in lost documents, filing errors, etc.
  • Fraud. Paper documents are much easier to alter or substitute. Changes in electronic billing documents leave a trail.
  • Visibility. Need to know the status of a transaction? Good luck if it’s on paper. Electronically, it’s just a couple of button punches away.
  • Accessibility. One copy of paperwork, one person can use it. What if someone else needs to see it? If it’s paper, it means making copies — which opens the door to problems. If it’s available electronically, everyone can see it at once.
  • Storage. Look at the pile of paper you generate every week, and where you have to store it. Ouch. Electronic documents are stored on top of your desk, without the mess.
  • Going green. You’ll also do the world a favor by reducing the amount of paper your company consumes.

Source: Procurement Alert

        

Banking on Sepa

September 30, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Banks will look to e-invoicing and supply chain financing as value-add services in the post-Sepa world, says TietoEnator.

The initial focus on Sepa was cost, but as banks seek to recoup the investment they have made in compliance, attention has turned to revenues. Europe’s banks are at the start of a road that will take them towards e-invoicing, supply chain finance, real-time information and the ability to compete in a rapidly changing environment.

This TietoEnator white paper outlines the challenges and features case studies with Royal Bank of Scotland and Swedbank.

To read the full story, download now

Source: Sibos Online

  

Strong increase of Infor Baan users within e-invoice processing

September 29, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

These Infor customers have already chosen for ISP-Invoice: Aimtec GmbH, Bouwbedrijf van de Kolk, Brush HMA, Fennel Technologies AG, Ikazia Ziekenhuis, Komatsu, Leolux Meubelfabriek en Thunnissen Groep.

Aimtec GmbH
Aimtec is a German implementation partner of Infor. In addition to the implementation of ISP-Invoice in German Infor Baan customers, they also use ISP-Invoice themselves.
Click here for more information

Bouwbedrijf van de Kolk
Bouwbedrijf van de Kolk is a Dutch construction company.

Brush HMA
BRUSH Turbogenerator Division is part of FKI Energy Technology, with manufacturing facilities in the UK, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Each factory has been designated as an FKI Centre of Excellence for the design and manufacture of  2 and 4 pole high voltage generators, synchronous motors and power management systems. BRUSH Turbogenerators supplies power world-wide.

Fennel Technologies AG
One year after the start of the project “digital invoice scanning and processing” by one of the Fennel Technologies offices in Germany, now another location is also using ISP-Invoice.

Ikazia Ziekenhuis
Ikazia ziekenhuis is a Dutch hospital. It is situated in Rotterdam and employs about 1300 people.

Komatsu
The German production facility of the Japanese company Komatsu, manufactures giant digging and mining machines. They are the largest producer of construction machines in Germany.

Leolux Meubelfabriek
During 7 decades Leolux has become a European manufacturer of modern furniture with roots deep in the last century, and visions of a challenging future.

Thunnissen Groep
Thunnissen Groep is active in development, construction and maintenace in the Netherlands.

 More information about ISP-Invoice?

 

BLOGPOST: Equal treatement on its way

September 26, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Source: Bo Harald

Tax authorities took a cautious view towards e-invoicing in the first round. In some countries even cumbersome extra demands were put on this new practise and crossborder invoicing was made difficult and costly as regulation started to increasingly differ.

Then there was a question. Why should not sending and receiving paper and e-invoicing be treated in the same way from the VAT angle? All invoices are after all produced in the same auditable process and should be stored in the same retrievable way. Are not e-invoices in fact more secure already because of the e-transport and tracability? Why should this practise have additional VAT-angle demands?

Nobody could find any good reasons for causing especially SMEs additional costs and pain by imposing more demands on sending invoices in structured e-form and mostly in managed networks as opposed to paper mail or unstructured e-mail messages. In fact it should be the other way around……………….

Then there was light.  Most countries in EU now seem to be ready for ET of e- and paper. This is the biggest favour that can be done to the SME-sector - increasingly being forced into e-invoicing by larger trading partners. It will make them much more competitive, cost-efficient and integrated parts of trading networks and provide learning by doing for the next digital document layers. Structured documents can also clearly cut their accounting cost.

        

PayStream Summit Wrap Up: AP Automation Inevitable by 2010

September 23, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

As the dust begins to settle from PayStream’s first annual electronic invoicing summit, The Next Generation of E-Payables: Electronic Invoicing and Supply Chain Finance, and before I go back to work on our Spring Summit 2009, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on the week’s events.

The inspiration for the Summit was PayStream’s consulting, research reports, and one specific study our research division has been conducting for the last several months regarding the state of AP automation in U. S. companies. The findings were unveiled at the Summit and the eInvoicing Adoption Survey Report released this week. LINK

Common themes emerged from the conference delegates. Many admitted that imaging and OCR were great first steps, but they found it was time to take their AP departments to the next level in automation and to begin exploring advanced options like electronic invoicing.

Organizations just getting started on the path to automation expressed relief when they discovered many of the options that technology providers offered could be tailored and implemented a la carte. You don’t have to automate the entire process all at once.

Of course, everyone wants to know how to make the implementation process a success, but making that happen depends on variables, often times out of your control. This was addressed in the morning panel discussions when panelists offered anecdotes for how to be successful.

The moral of the stories was: 1. Executive sponsorship and cross departmental collaboration is key. You need all departments on board and you need your executive leadership to fully understand and support the project to have any chance of automating your accounts payable, and 2. Take time prior to implementation to get an accurate estimate of the current state of your payables, even if this means stretching your timeline an additional 3-6 months.

And the question addressed most often; how do we get our suppliers on board? The answer was a unanimous recommendation to approach your vendor pool with an air of collaboration and be willing to work with individual vendors who may be on separate platforms. Often times, a solution provider will handle supplier on-boarding for you.

Now, getting back to the survey results from the PayStream eInvoicing Adoption Survey Report. Amid all the findings, we see most clearly that paper is on the way out and it’s on the way out fast. By 2010 we anticipate electronic invoices exceeding the number of paper invoices processed by Fortune 500 companies in the U. S.

Source: PayStream Voices

       

Funds industry standards could be years away, says Clearstream

September 22, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Interoperable standards between banks, fund managers and their intermediaries could take decades to emerge, according to European clearing and settlement body Clearstream.

The funds distribution process is typically viewed as being one of the least automated in the financial industry with faxes still widely used in the transaction process.

According to Tilman Fechter, executive director, Investment Fund Services, Clearstream, while the adoption of automation is increasing, the lack of a recognised and universal messaging standard for communication between banks and fund managers is hampering efforts.

“More and more senior people agree that fax is not the answer but the argument is what the standard will be - Swift? FIX? Proprietary protocols?”

Fechter says that, despite the efforts of Swift to promote its ISO-based standards, the fact that many banks and investment managers are on different versions creates an interoperability problem.

Many banks have only just migrated onto the ISO 15022 standard while fund managers connecting to Swift for the first time are going straight onto the newer 20022 version.

Swift will eventually become the dominant standard, says Fechter, and all counterparties may eventually be using the same version but it will be a long-term project that will take at least 20 years in all likelihood.

For its part, Clearstream, which is owned by Deutsche Börse, is offering investment management clients in Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland the opportunity to communicate with its banking counterparts through its Central Facility for Funds product which will be extended to the UK market as of October this year.

“Swift strongly relies on people like us to support two counterparties using Swift but on different standards,” says Fechter who adds that the situation is not the fault of the messaging standards body but just a reflection of the way the market is structured.

“Swift is doing the right thing and there is nothing I can see that it could be doing better. It is just the state of the industry and you cannot force standards.”

Source: Sibos Online

         

Microsoft treasury pushes on with ISO20022 project as banks slow progress

September 18, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

The migration of Microsoft’s treasury onto the XML-based ISO20022 messaging standard is likely to be a multi-year, ongoing initiative, according to a treasury manager at the software giant.

Microsoft’s treasury would like to migrate all of its financial messaging onto the XML-based standard, however the tardiness of banks and their own adoption of the standard for their treasury services, means that the project will be an “evolution” that will involve several phases, according to Ed Barrie, group manager, Treasury at Microsoft.

“The XML standard will give us more enriched data at a transactional level which we can put into specifically defined fields in our Enterprise Resource Planning systems,” says Barrie. “This will give us better STP and a single viewpoint for all of our payments information.

Microsoft’s treasury department handles global credit and collections, cash management and account opening and closing for the software giant covering 1100 bank accounts and 130 banking partners.

Microsoft is concentrating on its treasury statements primarily, before applying the ISO20022 standard to its payment flows. However the project’s success will be heavily dependant on the progress of its 130 banking partners.

“By next year we expect to have at least two banks converted and hope to have six or more,” says Barrie.

At least the ISO standard will not face unwelcome competition. According to Barrie, there will not be a rival standard to ISO20022. “It is the format that supports Sepa payments in Europe so that is driving adoption but it has mostly been on the bank to bank payments side. What we need to see is this adoption spread to the bank to customer side.”

Despite the slow progress, Barrie is confident that by next year’s Sibos event, there will have been some significant developments, helped by demonstrable evidence of the benefits of implementing ISO20022.

“We are now in the initial analysis stage but by next year we will see more tangible case studies that show a return on investment, the percentage of straight-through-processing and the level of cost involved.”

Source: Sibos Online

     

E-invoicing implementation hampered by regulatory compliance requirements in Europe - study

September 17, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

A survey presented at the Swift International Banking Operations Seminar (SIBOS) taking place in Vienna 15 – 19 September shows that European companies are held back from switching to electronic invoicing by complex regulatory compliance requirements and legislation.

The survey found that despite the multiple advantages electronic invoicing offers for business owners – cost-effectiveness and more efficient resource administration among them – 40 percent of European companies currently show no direct interest in performing the switch from paper-based to electronic invoices mainly because their initiatives are hampered by pre-existing regulatory compliance requirements to various country-specific e-invoicing systems. Moreover, over half of the European companies which have subsidiaries and operate their businesses in six or more countries worldwide admit concern regarding the implementation of an e-invoicing system, mainly due to problems arising from the need to comply with multiple national e-invoicing legislations across the globe. Also, a quarter of the survey participants admitted that VAT compliance and auditing requirements – which are an integral part of the invoicing process – are also a problem in the context of dealing with different financial legislations in various countries, each with its own requirements and compliance standards. Therefore, although the benefits of implementing an electronic invoicing system are evident to European business owners, the survey conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne shows that in actuality, e-invoicing implementation is undermined by its dependency on country-specific compliance regulations and by national VAT and tax compliance requirements.

Source: Sterling Commerce