Although we tend to take it for granted, the digital world is a relatively new phenomenon. For example, before there was unlimited digital music on-demand, people used to listen to their music on a piece of hardware called a “cassette player.” Remember the Sony Walkman, anyone? The mobility of this device was great—you could finally take your music with you. However, the cassettes were bulky and inconvenient, and they could only hold a limited number of songs. Though at the time, the mobile cassette player was considered a marvel in technology, few would doubt that the modern digital distribution and consumption of music is a far superior solution.
Similarly, the advent of electronic payments, electronic banking, e-commerce and e-billing have made it much easier and more convenient to pay for goods and services. Electronic and digital payment systems have significantly reduced the friction associated with carrying and paying for items in cash. In addition, recent studies have found that real-time payment delivery is important to 76% of consumers and that 72% would be interested in receiving alerts that a bill is due to avoid late payments. This data shows that control, convenience and time savings are “key value propositions” when it comes to paying bills electronically.
Perhaps influenced by the transformation of our culture from analogue to digital, and the convenience associated with electronic billing and payments, the B2B world has also embraced the benefits of electronic billing and e-invoicing. Cumbersome, paper-based invoicing is being phased out by many governments and countries around the world. Frictionless payment systems have allowed suppliers to get paid in a timelier fashion. The digitisation of invoicing systems has also allowed more accurate forecasting of supply, demand and delivery of goods and services. Like so many garbled cassette tapes of yesteryear, the friction caused from paper-based invoicing may soon be a thing of the past.