Global market research report: Market is evolving beyond e-invoices

June 01, 2016

Corporations are turning their focus from pure e-invoicing and optimizing merely the invoice processes to a broader approach. The digitization and automation of the full purchase-to-pay (P2P) and order-to-cash (O2C) processes may be brought to the fore in the upcoming years, estimates the global e-invoicing market report authored and published by Billentis.

According to the report, the environment might change dramatically in the coming years due to disruptive technologies. Large corporates introduced e-invoicing to the market, and now they are the promoters of the next market-developing phase, looking to optimize P2P and O2C chains, to improve cash flow and working capital management and data analytics, and to ensure compliance with a variety of legal and other requirements. The scope is expanding beyond e-invoicing services: for instance, the demand to exchange other electronic business documents efficiently with both larger counterparts and with a number of mid-sized and smaller trading partners is increasing substantially. Large organizations are increasingly looking to electronic B2B networks and SaaS platforms.

In addition, zero-touch invoice processing that doesn’t require any manual steps is the key objective in more and more buyer companies. Therefore the pressure for suppliers to improve data quality in invoices is increasing, advancing the use of structured invoice data, such as the XML format. Currently, the bulk of electronic invoices in the market are just digital images of paper, PDFs. According to the Billentis report, the weak economy might accelerate this evolutionary step towards fully automated processes in the mid-term.

Government initiatives push e-procurement

The report also highlights the role of public administration in the progress. Currently more than 50 countries around the world have government initiatives pushing e-invoicing and other paperless processes. For instance in Europe, new EU directives obligate over 100 000 public agencies to support a certain e-invoicing standard, to develop automated processing of electronic invoices and to migrate certain procurement processes towards electronic procedures by the end of 2018.

The public sector is responsible for 16–18% of all purchases in given countries. Currently, a maximum of 5% of public purchases are processed using electronic procurement solutions. The Billentis report expects the activities in the public sector to cause a strong tailwind for e-procurement activities in the private sector as well. The developments will help to close the electronic loop in the processing of orders and invoices.

30 billion e-invoices world-wide

The Billentis report estimates that the total volume of e-invoices will achieve 30 billion world-wide in 2016. The annual growth rate for e-invoicing is expected to be 10–20%.

The global leaders in e-invoicing continue to be the Scandinavian countries and Estonia together with the Latin American countries Brazil, Chile and Mexico. In these countries, over 40% of both the business-to-business and business-to-government/government-to-business invoice volume is expected to be electronic in 2016.

The annual research report gives a clear insight on the current state and the future developments of electronic invoicing around the world. Published in May, the market research represents the views of over 15 000 enterprises and 10 000 consumers. As previously, OpusCapita has been the sponsor of the report. OpusCapita operates one of the leading electronic invoicing networks in the world with close to 200 million transactions annually.

A complimentary copy of the Billentis Market Report 2016 “E-invoicing/E-billing: Digitisation & Automation” is available for download here.