Paperless Office: From Dream to Reality

New figures suggest that the electronic invoice is on the rise. 35 percent of creditors and 40 percent of debtors prefer the digital version to good old paper. Furthermore, the delivery of electronic invoices will increase. Is e-invoicing self-perpetuating? Hardly. There is rather a need for action.

 

More electronic invoices expected

In February and March the research institute IbiRresearch at the University of Regensburg conducted a survey – among others, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy – of more than 350 companies. The results confirm the positive development described and forecast further growth. Companies want to draw closer to the paperless office. Yet only one in four invoices reaches its recipient electronically. Nevertheless, 39 percent of all billers want to make more use of digital billing. Certainly, none of the respondents want to reduce the number.

 

Paperless still remains a dream

Nevertheless, regardless of simplified “principles for the due maintenance and preservation of books, records and documents in electronic form as well as data access” (GoBD), the paperless office is still far off. To be sure, many companies see potential for efficiency. Yet almost seven out of ten companies print electronic invoices and file them by hand.

 

Adjustment processes deter

There are several reasons, but the most important reason why only 26 percent of all companies surveyed process the digital incoming invoice with a digital input billing workflow may be that Decision-makers shy away from the need to adapt. Finally, it is important to define processes and to create the technical conditions for e-invoicing.

Also expertise is lacking: Only 48 percent of the companies asked rate their legal knowledge as “comprehensive.” Nearly one-tenth believe their own electronic archive deserves only the grade of 5 or 6 in compliance matters.

 

Enlighten, enlighten, enlighten…

Ignorance is the greatest enemy of all innovation and everything new. However, what’s good is that education and information help overcome ignorance. This applies more than ever to refute reservations and show that it’s all easier than you thought. Then nothing can stand in the way of the e-Invoice.