Vendors not keen on automatic billing, survey finds

14 June 2011

14 June 2011 | Angeline Albert

Suppliers believe the cost of electronic invoicing is too high and they are unwilling to adopt automated systems.

These are the main barriers to increasing the implementation of electronic invoicing, according to a report published by provider Basware.

The study found 46 per cent 1,500 finance executives surveyed worldwide cited this as a major problem, followed by 36 per cent that believed an inability to set suppliers up on systems was the primary challenge. Success “often depends on getting the suppliers on board and convincing them of the associated benefits,” it said.

Other barriers mentioned were insufficient funding, concerns about the implementation process, complex invoice processes, the inability of consumer customers to receive electronic bills and a lack of board level support.

The key recommendation for businesses was to come up with a plan for automation, to understand what changes will be necessary to complete the project. It also suggested progressing in stages, and making sure each party understands the process before beginning.

As part of the plan, there is also a need to engage with suppliers and draw up a timetable for the project – as change cannot happen overnight.

The study, E-Invoicing: A GlobalView, also found the UK has been slower than the rest of the world in adopting the technology because of the barriers previously cited.

Just 18 per cent of UK firms use electronic billing, compared to an average of 45 per cent across western Europe and 35 per cent of businesses worldwide. However, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of UK finance executives think it could benefit their company.

Respondents to the survey came from Europe, the US, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

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