European businesses could realise savings up to 80% by accelerating the trend towards full electronic billing and invoicing, says Ricoh.
The finding comes from this year’s Billentis Report, sponsored by the global technology company, which predicts that 42bn e-bills and invoices will be issued globally this year. Produced annually, the report aims to help organisations become more informed on e-billing and invoicing by providing market data and analysis about current and future business impacts.
In recent years, government initiatives across Europe have encouraged businesses to move towards paperless billing. Denmark is among the earlier pioneers, banning paper invoices from its public sector in 2005. As a result, e-invoicing saves Danish taxpayers €150m a year, and businesses €50m. In Italy, the government’s adoption of an e-procurement system has reduced costs by over €3bn.
“Digitisation is undoubtedly a key driver of the growing pan-European appetite for e-invoicing,” said Edward Gower-Isaac, vice president, business process services at Ricoh Europe. “Businesses realise that ‘going digital’ is no longer a differentiator, but a paramount requirement for any organisation with hopes of a long-term future.
“In a 2014 survey conducted by Coleman Parkes, sponsored by Ricoh Europe, 73% of business leaders said that achieving digital maturity would directly lead to an increase in profits, while 62% agreed that it would increase their organisation’s appeal to potential investors and new owners.”
The same study also revealed how 50% of business leaders felt they could not achieve digital maturity without the support of an external partner.
However, digitalisation of invoices alone is not enough for businesses to fully achieve automated invoicing. Many European businesses are still experiencing extremely high exception handlings – personal interaction during the invoicing process. This is due to poor or inaccurate data in the invoices themselves,” says Ricoh.
The group adds that inaccurate information on business-to-business (B2B) invoices is a major reason for payment delays – and e-invoicing is an excellent vehicle to address inaccurate information.
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