E-invoicing sees 17% upsurge, saving businesses millions

The uptake of electronic invoicing is gaining momentum, new figures from EESPA reveal

The take-up of electronic invoicing is gaining momentum, new figures from the European E-invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA) reveal.

Some 986 million electronic invoices were processed in 2014 by members of our industry body. That’s an increase of 17% on the previous year’s volumes.

Figures in a recent report from Billentis put the average saving made from the electronic automated processing of an invoice versus traditional paper-based methods at €6.60.

Using that figure, the 986 million invoices processed by EESPA members could well have saved European businesses €6.5 billion.

At Tungsten we believe in the potential for technology to enhance the way everyone does business, and as co-chair of EESPA we see that passion for innovation played out across Europe.

With e-invoicing technology in place, businesses can not only adopt faster, smoother business practices, saving valuable time and resource, they can also hugely reduce the risk of being caught out by fraud.

Last December, the UK government had to issue a statement warning of fraudulent activity, after people received fake invoices from the European Patent Organisation. Fraudsters had gone to a lot of trouble to produce documents that looked virtually identical to the invoices issued by the patenting body, but with different bank account details.

Scams like these are, unfortunately, an increasingly common occurrence. Action Fraud, the police body set up to help tackle the issue, cites invoice scams as among the most common, potentially resulting in multimillion-pound losses.

The technology developed by Tungsten has been designed to help prevent fraud. As invoices can only be filed against given purchase order numbers, fraudulent invoices can be automatically caught. We also have methods in place to monitor unusual activity, so any anomalies can be swiftly dealt with.

As well as combating invoice fraud, e-invoicing has the potential to greatly improve buyer-supplier relationships. As both parties can monitor the processing of invoices at the touch of a button, it makes it easier to monitor what stage in the approval process an invoice has reached at any given time.

Suppliers feel reassured that their invoice is being handled effectively, but the cost savings are also a tangible benefit. If you measure the time it takes to call and follow up each invoice individually – potentially listening to some terrible hold music in the process – it soon adds up, as does the level of impatience.

The importance of an easy working relationship between businesses should never be underestimated, nor should the cost of potentially having to find new suppliers or scramble for new contracts.

Financial technology like that developed by Tungsten has the potential to change all businesses for the better – large and small. Being at the forefront of the FinTech revolution isn’t just about innovating better payment systems, it’s about making it easier to do business, and building stronger relationships along the way.

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