When preparing a business case and evaluating the benefits of eInvoicing it is important to gather some facts and figures on the current activities undertaken and use these as a basis for further analysis. While it may be difficult to obtain aggregated facts and statistics for the public sector as a whole, it is very useful to compile data drawn from central government ministries and departments, regional and municipal authorities and public agencies and arm’s length bodies for their own self-assessment and analysis.
Statistics can also be used to derive benefits beyond cost savings and fficiency, such as the carbon footprint – invoices are made of paper (usually wo copies plus an envelope) and are delivered by mail; there are industry standard measures that can be employed to obtain headline statistics.
There is a wide variety of case studies available. Independent research uggests that the cost of processing a paper invoice (to the buyer) is around EUR17 per invoice. Estimates vary widely as to the actual savings at individual organisation level obtainable from the use of invoicing as they depend on the degree of automation involved. An in-depth analysis of the Politecnico of Milan shows that the net benefits are 4-12 euro per invoice in case of VAT compliant electronic invoice and up to 65 euro per cycle in case of full integration of the trade process(3).
In the press release accompanying the announcement by the European Commission of a proposed draft directive on the use of eInvoicing in public procurement in June 2013, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier went further than the above and said ‘…switching from paper to fully automated invoicing can cut the costs of receiving one invoice from EUR 30-50 to EUR 1’(4).
(3) Politecnico of Milan - Presentation “Process Optimization and Saving Potential with e-Invoicing” at the EXPP Summit in Munich, Germany.