New Research Shows Growth in E-Invoicing

Stamford, Ct.—Sept. 15, 2011—A report sponsored by

Basware, an enterprise purchase-to-pay provider, and conducted by

professional association The Institute of Financial Operations indicated that

companies are becoming more sophisticated in how they approach procurement and

finance. While e-invoicing implementation may be gradual, there has been clear

growth since last year as companies begin to understand its benefits.

 

It’s striking that the number one financial priority for companies in 2011 is

improving operational efficiency – far surpassing their focus on increasing

profits and top-line performance. The great majority of organizations surveyed

recognize the importance of e-invoicing in helping them achieve this

objective, and they also realize the negative consequences that come from

primarily relying on manual processes.

 

Indicating an increase in invoice processing since last year, the 2011 e-

invoicing survey results show that approximately one-third of those who took

the survey reported that their employers did not in any way use e-invoicing.

That compares with a similar question from last year’s survey in which 58

percent responded that their companies used a manual data capture and approval

process for receiving invoices.

 

The majority of survey respondents (nearly every respondent), however, think

that there is room for improvement in how companies leverage technology to

implement key invoicing processes.  Despite an understanding of the benefits

of e-invoicing in terms of cost savings and increased efficiency, many

companies have been to slow to adopt it.

 

"The research sponsored by Basware shows us how much promise the technology

has, but also how far we have to go in terms of educating financial leaders to

make the investment and commitment,’’ said Thomas M. Bohn, president and CEO

of The Institute.

 

The survey also identified the challenges respondents face in sending and

receiving non-electronic invoices, including time spent entering and scanning

invoices and securing their approvals, as well as misplaced or lost invoices.

 

“The insights gathered from our research with The Institute of Financial

Operations help Basware better meet the needs of our customers as we partner

with them to achieve excellence in procurement and finance. The results of

this survey are very revealing, and they underscore the significance that

companies place on automating their key financial processes,” said Bob Cohen,

vice president of Basware, Inc.  “Organizations that have low levels of

automation in capturing, transmitting, and processing invoices lack real-time

visibility into expenses, making it difficult for them to manage spend, cash

flow, and working capital. Without visibility, it’s also hard for procurement

and finance departments to share information, further clouding the financial

picture.”

 

Companies that took part in the survey noted that speeding up invoicing

processes and reducing invoicing costs were the most compelling reasons to

implement e-invoicing. These companies also recognize the benefits provided by

an open network, where buyers and suppliers can easily transmit e-invoices and

purchase orders without the need to install the proprietary technologies that

traditional networks typically require. They value the increased efficiency

and cost savings that such an open network delivers.

 

 

Almost half of research respondents said that they are able to receive and

process invoices electronically, and a quarter of respondents are able to send

invoices electronically. However, 76 percent of these respondents indicated

that they receive e-invoices as e-mailed PDFs and 50 percent of them print out

the e-invoices for further processing, which does not allow them to take

advantage of the full benefits that true e-invoicing offers, such as increased

AP automation, improved invoicing quality, and reduced manual errors.

 

“While there is increased interest in improving e-invoicing capabilities, most

companies are still at the very beginning stages. Basware is committed to

helping companies activate e-invoicing in their organizations so they can

fully take advantage of all of the benefits e-invoicing offers,” Cohen said.

 

Supporting survey findings that e-invoicing adoption is growing, the U.S.

federal government has just recently mandated that by the end of 2012 all

treasury bureaus must implement the Internet Payment Platform (IPP), an

electronic invoicing processing solution, and that all of its commercial

vendors submit invoices by IPP by the end of 2013.

 

A total of 434 respondents took the survey during the spring and summer, with

the largest number representing accounts payable managers and supervisors.

Other titles included chief financial officer, controller, treasurer,

financial executive, accounts receivable manager, accounts receivable

supervisor, and operations manager. Most (81.8 percent) were in North America,

with 16.3 percent in Europe and a few in South America, Australia, and Asia.

 

The full report is available at www.financialops.org/research, at no charge to

members and for purchase by nonmembers.

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