European companies streamline AR/AP processes
E-Invoicing supporting financial process automation
In recent years, organizations worldwide have acknowledged the opportunities brought by e-invoicing: facilitated trade relationships and contribution to the general welfare of business, regardless of industry. The 2013 Billentis report, sponsored by Itella Information, estimates a 20% growth rate in the annual volume of e-invoices worldwide.
In Europe, further growth is expected in the following five years as a result of the EU’s digital agenda and the increasing level of e-procurement usage in the public sector, for instance with PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing. Moreover, SMEs have started to implement e-invoicing projects. Although the majority may be motivated by the requirements of trading partners, SMEs becoming more familiar with the new tools and processes can only contribute to mass market adoption of e-invoicing.
Despite current differences in legislation, cultural background and even in process optimization focus, organizations in all business areas can now benefit from successful e-invoicing projects, provided the selected solution enables:
• Timely and effective response to market dynamics;
• Automation along the entire business value chain, onboarding assistance for all trading partners;
• Compatibility with cross-border invoicing, even if such arrangements are not needed immediately in the project.
The current main topics in e-invoicing have evolved to questions on functionality and how to build an invoicing framework compatible across Europe. As complete in-house solutions no longer deliver best results, relying on a service provider’s expertise becomes vital.
- Service providers do more than just develop solutions and deliver services; they create infrastructure and interoperability between platforms and networks, comments Jari Annala, Vice President, E-Services, Itella Information Oy.
The report also indicates that e-invoicing will make use of even more advanced solutions in the future, such as solutions for the handling of e-invoices in a structured format. This could require end-to-end electronic solutions covering purchasing messages, e-invoicing and automated invoice matching - a set of functionalities that enable automation throughout the entire value chain, leading to more efficient overall processes and further cost reduction.
- Building a bridge between technology generations and the access to an infrastructure configured to serve the different needs of multiple users is something that can only be achieved through close collaboration between service providers, purchasing organizations, their suppliers and public authorities, Annala adds.
Over four million connections established by Itella Information during the past two decades, as service provider and access point in eProcurement and e-invoicing projects, testify to the importance of collaboration. Itella specializes in streamlining finance and accounting processes through automation, for improved efficiency in all business segments and industries in Europe.
Itella Information is an active member of several forums, associations and projects dedicated to financial process automation and standardization.
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tiina.i.harkonen (at) itella.com
Itella Information provides financial process services and cash flow automation solutions that improve customers’ profitability and agility, and facilitate their transition to the e-world. The services cover all aspects of financial management: from purchase order to payment and from sales order to management of incoming cash flows, plus a full range of accounting and payroll services. With benefits of scale, automated processes and best practices, the company manages its customers’ financial processes in an efficient, professional and flexible manner.
Itella Information operates in 10 European countries and has an extensive global partner network. The company employs more than 2,200 people and the 2012 turnover was EUR 270 million. Itella Information is part of the Itella Group.