Electronic invoicing software provider, Version One, is urging UK public sector bodies to ditch paper invoices in favour of e-invoicing by 2016 to help comply with European Commission (EC) proposals. The EC announced earlier this year that it intends to make electronic procurement (e-procurement) for public purchases the rule rather than the exception across Europe by mid-2016.
The EC regards public sector adoption of e-procurement as a means to save 100 billion Euros per annum and has proposed that the whole public sector is given until mid-2016 to comply. As only 5 – 10 per cent of procurement processes are currently carried out electronically across Europe, there is a significant hill to climb if all public bodies are to meet the European Commission’s deadline.
Version One is urging UK public bodies to take small steps towards achieving full e-procurement by first implementing electronic invoicing, which is one of the most significant time, cost and paper savers in the procurement process.
Greg Ford, Managing Director of Version One, says, “Public bodies can spend an exorbitant amount of time and money manually processing and storing thousands of paper invoices every month. By adopting electronic invoicing for the automated processing, storage and management of purchase invoices, this can deliver deep spending cuts while enabling finance staff to replace time-consuming administration with value-adding activities.”
Using electronic invoicing solutions, purchase invoices that arrive into the organisation are imaged (if in paper format), the invoice data is automatically extracted and verified before being uploaded to the finance system, and a link to the invoice is automatically circulated for authorisation via email. All electronic invoices can also be stored in a central, easily searchable archive, preventing invoices from going missing.
Ford adds, “It is imperative that public sector bodies move from manual paper-based invoicing to e-invoicing within the next few years to comply with the European Commission’s e-procurement mandate. With thousands of pounds cost savings easily achievable by moving to e-invoicing, this should be one of the first stages of any e-procurement project.”