In the past few months, many companies have likely been asking themselves whether it might not be better to switch over to electronic invoicing – and not just because of available software solutions, the unified ZUGFeRD standard (a new invoicing standard in Germany), or legal requirements. The answer is much simpler: companies’ trust in a centuries-old institution has been damaged. What institution, you ask? The institution of the letter itself.
Four Weeks of Uncertainty
The 4-week postal strike ended on July 7th. But despite all statements to the contrary, we’re still reading about its continued impact. We’re still hearing about some shipments arriving late, which is especially bad for companies in Germany that haven’t yet switched over to electronic invoicing. That’s because the rule is that debtors are only obligated to pay an invoice once they receive it.
If you imagine how many millions of invoices are sent through the mail every day – the trend is rising currently, and around 4.8 billion of the estimated 32 billion invoices sent per year reach the recipient electronically – it’s almost impossible to imagine the kind of effects this can have on bookkeeping and liquidity, especially for small and medium-sized companies.
Considerable Processing Costs
There’s one thing in particular we can’t forget: companies are still dealing with the effects of the strike, even after it’s over. The yawning emptiness that reigned for weeks in companies’ mailboxes has now been filled with towering piles of incoming invoices that all need to be sorted, processed, approved, and recorded. If you’re using manual processing and can’t add extra personnel, delays are inevitable. Especially when, in some cases, you’re receiving payment reminders even before the actual invoice.
Electronic Invoices Don’t Go on Strike
Companies who have already switched over to electronic invoicing can count themselves lucky. Or those who use have automated incoming electronic invoices. In both cases, companies benefit from reliable delivery and quick processing – while others are left behind in uncertainty, stuck opening the mailbox to wonder what didn’t come in the mail today.