Public sector ‘wasting £2 billion’ by not adopting e-invoicing

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
12 December 2013

The UK public sector could be “wasting” up to £2 billion each year through slow take-up of e-invoicing, according to research.

A report by Tungsten Corporation calculated that buyers and suppliers could save a combined total of £1.93 billion by using e-invoicing to reduce costs, save staff time and cut fraud.

The report said e-invoicing cut costs for buyers by a minimum of 60 per cent per invoice and saved 10 minutes of staff time, compared to manual processes.

“Comfort with paper”, the merging of e-invoicing with wider e-procurement initiatives that “can take years to roll out”, and a “mindset of disbelief in the savings available” are cited as barriers to uptake.

The report said: “The UK public sector should champion e-invoicing for the wider economy by providing direction, promoting adoption and mandating its use.”

Luke McKeever, executive director at Tungsten, said: “There is an annual savings potential of at least £2bn across the UK public sector based on conservative assumptions.

“For the public sector, a lack of central direction and policy drivers have resulted in the UK lagging behind countries such as the Nordics, Brazil and Mexico, where government-driven schemes are driving huge savings.”

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