E-invoicing could save European governments €40bn

9 May 2012

Electronic invoicing could save European governments at least €40bn. Across Europe, governments consume between 45pc and 65pc of goods and services.

However, globally, only 5pc of invoices are sent electronically.

According to Ricoh, the proportion of business and government invoices sent electronically this year is predicted to be around 30pc higher than in 2011. But penetration is still low, with only around 18pc of all invoices in Europe likely to be sent in this way.

This is despite the European Commission’s aim for e-invoicing to be the predominant method of invoicing by 2020 and actions being implemented through the European Union’s Digital Agenda to remove the barriers to widespread adoption of electronic invoicing.

Barriers to e-invoicing adoption

“With the European economy still in recovery mode, and governments constantly looking for new ways to make savings, adopting electronic invoicing is an obvious choice,” said Chas Moloney, director, Ricoh UK and Ireland.

“But we know one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption is managing the switch from a predominantly paper-based system to an electronic one. For the public sector, doing business with thousands of suppliers and residents, it’s crucial any changes are well planned, communicated, and managed.

“While we don’t have specific figures broken out for Ireland, we can estimate that the total savings could run into hundreds of millions of euro for the Irish public sector,” said Moloney.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years