In a world where businesses are rapidly going global, E-Invoicing provides an efficient solution to several challenges ranging from taxes to compliance to late payments. Organizations across the world have begun adopting E-Invoicing now because of its obvious benefits.
What is E-Invoicing?
Simply put, an e-invoice is the electronic form of an invoice. It is a part of the electronic billing process. Electronic billing makes billing convenient for all the stakeholders involved.
In case of E-Invoicing, the invoice can be swiftly circulated among the stakeholders via email. Approvals happen faster and so do payments. Even if there are errors, they can be rectified easily and quickly. It not only saves a lot of time, but also expense in terms of paper and postage.
Latest Trends in E-Invoicing
In simple terms, E-Invoicing offers automation of the billing process. Automation of the process makes it more efficient. It simplifies the process of invoicing and requires far less resources. With automation the number of staff required to perform invoicing and billing can be significantly reduced. It leads to faster payments which in turn improves cash flow.
With faster payments, businesses can save precious time that is lost in chasing late payers through emails, phone calls, etc. As payments get delayed, secondary memos have to be generated with new invoices for a late payment surcharge. This can also be eliminated with e-invoices.
With the automatic changes in errors and better protection against frauds, it offers more financial security. Moreover, most of the E-Invoicing solutions also offer SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) encryption which adds an extra layer of security to the invoices.
Although paper invoices still rule, more and more businesses have come to realise the benefits of E-Invoicing and have started transitioning into Automated E-Invoicing processes.
2. Mobile Apps for E-Invoicing
As the trend for E-Invoicing continues to rise, another trend that has ushered in is E-Invoicing becoming mobile. Apps are becoming common for every function and invoicing is no exception. With the development of a mobile app, E-Invoicing will become further simplified providing instant access round-the-clock and from any location.
Many IT organizations are already putting their sweat and blood together to develop an app that enables businesses to submit tax documents using smart phones.
3. Moving to Cloud
We are rapidly headed towards a cloud-based world and invoicing isn’t far behind. Pretty soon, user access will be provided for E-Invoicing via cloud-based software or SaaS (Software as a Service). The cloud based invoicing software trend will allow users to access the invoicing data anytime and from anywhere just by using an internet connection.
It can also bring in automation in several tasks by the generation of payment reminders and scheduling of recurrent payments. There will also be a possibility of adding more features like digital wallets which will bring uniformity in the process.
The move to cloud will further reduce expenses, improve relationships with customers and streamline the cash flow.
4. Big Data comes into play
Several large companies and even tax authorities have shown keen interest in ramifying big data into E-Invoicing. With the implementation of big data, organizations will be able to make the most of data in the invoices. It will lead to better management of invoices and reduce tax fraud. It will also give better insights into consumer behavior.
5. Integration of Blockchain
Blockchain means recording each and every transaction happening using bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. Several industries are already using the concept behind blockchain for their transactions for the fact that it speeds up processes by eliminating third parties and makes transactions completely secure. Banking and finance industries could also tap the potential of blockchain and apply it to invoicing.
6. Unified Platform
While all these above trends bring their own advantages of improving accuracy, costs, and speed of the invoicing process, a unified platform can do a lot more. This trend is rapidly catching on.
With more and more businesses moving towards E-Invoicing, the invoicing services will be able to consolidate the market into a unified platform. It has begun with a few large vendors joining the move towards the evolving landscape of E-Invoicing.
In about 4 years, there will be a lot of promotion for a unified platform and market consolidation with E-Invoicing companies becoming global.
7. Global Acceptance of E-Invoicing
E-Invoicing is leading the world towards a real-time economy by providing accurate real time data which can be confidently used by businesses as well as governments. It offers instant access to information on various aspects of inbound and outbound invoices.
In fact, governments across the world are making E-Invoicing mandatory. It is expected that by 2018, the European Union and the US will have issued directives for making E-Invoicing mandatory in B2G processes.
There are already 14 million companies in EU alone, who have started using E-Invoicing and the volumes are expected to grow by 10-20% annually.
Latin America has surprisingly been in the lead in terms of E-Invoicing – with Brazil being at the top. Brazil has gone beyond B2G in applying E-Invoicing and applied it to personnel, inventory management, accounting etc.
Other Latin American countries like Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador too are not far behind. They are also taking initiatives to improve the existing scope of E-Invoicing. They are taking measures for the reduction of tax evasion and fraud through e-invoicing so that revenues can be maximized.
While North America and APAC (Asia-Pacific) regions have so far remained on the sidelines, they are expected to leap towards the trend of e-invoicing this year.
The benefits of E-Invoicing are manifold. The only step that needs to be taken is its collaboration with third-parties.
It also needs to be in alignment with your business process and must have an efficient design. With evolving trends and new technology being developed, the issues of implementation can be easily addressed and it can lead to a bright future for your business.