Electronic invoicing could be worth more than $7b to economy

THE Digital Business Council estimates changing over to electronic invoicing could lead to change worth $7-10 billion a year for the economy. 

Paper invoicing is manually intensive, time sensitive and error prone and with 1.2 billion invoices sent by Australian businesses each year, the cost of issuing, chasing and late invoices is significant.

While electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) isn't new, in Australia, it's mainly adopted by large business with many SMEs currently shouldering a disproportionate cost of doing business electronically, due to the need to conform to multiple 'closed loop' systems.

Peter Strong, Co-Chair of the Digital Business Council, is a vehement supporter of eInvoicing, noting that with the upcoming budget discussion fast approaching, small businesses should be aware of changes to tax which could affect their business. 

"There's a lot of talk coming from the corridors in Canberra lately, some of that is creating uncertainty particularly around tax changes which could have a significant impact on the thousands of SME operators across the country," he said.

"The fact is all of us in business still have to get up and make a living every day - and there is one initiative which could have a big, and very positive, impact on the viability of the SME sector - eInvoicing."

The Digital Business Council is developing a national framework of standard which will remove the disproportionate cost burden for small businesses to interact with multiple systems and a reluctance by software developers to invest in solutions without a clear national framework.

A public consultation is now underway inviting Australian businesses to give their views on eInvoicing and the proposed framework for an Australian standard. It's looking to hear from businesses across Australia, from regional businesses such as farmers who supply Australia's major retailers to local businesses who are major provider of goods or services for local government.

"The implementing of eInvoicing across the whole Australian economy will change the way we do business. A project driven by the industry formed Digital Business Council, the new initiative will set a simplified and coherent set of standards to reduce complexity and the time burden on business when doing our accounts," Strong said.

If this is an exciting time to be Australian, then eInvoicing is an example of innovation and agility in financial services which will drive new efficiencies."

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