And the Winner is …. electronic invoicing

OSBAR sounds odd – perhaps even unwieldy. No, no, we haven’t just misspelled “Oscar,” and we don’t have anything to say about the Academy Awards. We really are talking about OSBAR. The acronym stands for the Open Source Business Award, an award that went to the ZUGFeRD project Mustang in 2015.


Plenty of followers, but just one leader

The Open Source Business Award was distributed for the first time in 2014. According to the Open Source Business Alliance that offers the prize, it’s intended to bring attention to good ideas and to facilitate contacts between developers and companies, administration, and the sciences. The prize-winner in 2015 could certainly use all of these contacts – it’s got a long history, and plenty of challenges ahead. The ZUGFeRD project Mustang, the standard for electronic invoicing, was named the winner at OPEN! 2015.


Just like in Hollywood: flashback…

Let’s imagine we’re in a Hollywood movie, and indulge in a little flashback. About five years before the prize was granted to ZUGFeRD, on December 20th, 2010, the Federal Financial Ministry distributed its first draft of the Tax Simplification Act. Later, in 2011, this would lead it to allow the transmission of invoices without electronic signatures. In allowing this change, the Federal Government succumbed to pressure from the European Union to make it simpler to send electronic invoices.


Electronic invoicing: a future success story?

Cut – to today, five years later. One thing’s for sure: electronic invoicing is enjoying ever broader applications. The current numbers from the Federal Statistical Office “ICT in companies 2015”) prove this clearly. According to statistics, 10 percent of all companies with ten or more employees sent invoices in 2014 that could be automatically processed. 37 (!) percent sent electronic invoices that couldn’t be processed automatically. Here’s a rule of thumb: the larger the company, the more automated it is. It is positive to note that the statistics for 2013, published in 2014, showed that the percentage back then was just 4 (automated) and 5 (non-automated).


We can only hope that the OSBAR – as odd as the name may sound – can fulfil its goal and truly bring more attention to electronic invoicing and to the ZUGFeRD standard. We’re certainly already looking forward to the numbers for 2015 – they should be here in about a year.