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Amabel Grant, VP Network Services and UK MD, at Basware discusses the latest e-invoicing research 

This week we found out e-invoicing is on the rise in the public sector; 39 per cent of local authorities said they are looking to invest in the technology in the next 12 months. When asked why, the survey found 74 per cent of public sector professionals believe e-invoicing increases the number of payments made on time, 61 per cent say it increases visibility of the workflow process and 44 per cent think it will improve supplier relationships.

With the Enterprise Bill and Prompt Payment Code aiming to tackle late payments, the government is providing compelling reasons to move towards e-invoicing but the public sector is yet to realise its full potential. The report exposed the most common method of invoicing is PDF email invoicing, used by 63 per cent of local authorities. PDFs often result in manual processes such as printing or scanning, which can be removed by e-invoicing and helps improve efficiencies by connecting the buyer and seller more directly.

However, the report found that the public sector needs help to implement e-invoicing. 40 per cent of organisations surveyed stated that lack of resources prevented them from putting such a system in place. As the Government stated, the Enterprise Bill is the start of a process to legislate for compulsory e-invoicing, it’s important that this gap in resources is addressed promptly.

The public sector is starting to address late payments culture and move towards paperless systems but more needs to be done to help them become fully electronic. There is a perception in the public sector that e-invoicing is costly and difficult to implement. It is clear that the sector wishes to implement e-invoicing and punitive measures around late payment have provided a more compelling reason to do so,

There is not a one size fits all approach for implementation. E-invoicing provides an exciting opportunity for local authorities to streamline their invoicing systems and make progress towards the EU’s 2020 vision for paperless public administration. With the Prompt Payment Code coming into force and the Enterprise Bill passing through Parliament, now is an ideal time for the government to help local authorities step up to e-invoicing.

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