For any organization, smart payment management is the pillar of a healthy financial supply chain. As such, it is crucial for companies to embrace a system that would allow them to streamline and optimize their accounts payable (AP) processes. Digitization of invoices is the first step to AP automation. In a fiercely competitive business landscape, e-invoicing software is not just a payment-processing tool, it, in fact, becomes a value-generating asset for companies that use them. Thanks to innovations like cloud-based invoicing platforms, digital signature, supplier portals, dynamic discounting and integrated mobile transactional capabilities, invoice process automation is gaining acceptance throughout the world. However, just like any dynamic technology, e-invoicing, too, is undergoing rapid evolution. Against this backdrop, we need to analyze the trends we can expect to see in the coming years.
- More Environment-friendly Invoices
Although many big players have reportedly embraced AP automation, paper consumption is still very high in the US corporate sector. In fact, the American office workers use 10,000 to 20,000 sheets of paper every year, and paper invoices are believed to take up a huge part of these unused piles of paper-documents.
In the future, e-invoicing solutions will focus on banishing paper from offices. It is expected that in the coming years, e-invoices will be able to remove more than 80 percent paper from most accounting departments.
- A Bigger Role for Big Data
The 500 billion electronic invoices that are sent and received by companies every year are replete with data and information. For service providers, analytics firms, and tax authorities, these data make an excellent source of insights, and these organizations are keen on unlocking the value trapped in them.
In future, e-invoices are expected to become more structured, and are likely to be available in a more centralized format. This will enable these organizations to leverage the invoice Big Data in real-time for various purposes, such as detecting tax frauds or getting a better picture of consumer behavior.
- Mobile and Real-time Processing
Dynamic discounting is a system that allows companies to get discounts for the goods and services purchased by following their vendors’ payment terms. With invoice automation technologies becoming smarter, it becomes easier for businesses to pay invoices on time, avoid penalties, take advantage of dynamic discounting, and better manage their cash flow. In many parts of South America, tax agencies are leveraging real-time data flow in e-invoices to improve business validation and reporting.
Thanks to the spurt of mobile apps, which would enable businesses to manage, review, and approve electronic invoices through their mobile devices, the future e-invoices are expected to actually go real-time. Real-time tax applications will be one of the major off-springs of this tech-enabled invoicing system.
- Consolidation of Market
The e-invoicing space is rife with competition, and not all players are likely to cope with the pressure. This, according to many research firms, will make the e-invoicing service industry head towards market consolidation.
This will subsequently leave the e-invoicing landscape with only a few big players. This in turn will pave the way for better-customized services at a lower price point.
- Governments’ Push for E-invoicing
The European Union and Latin American countries have already shown the rest of the world how profitable digital payment processing can be. Taking cues from their examples, the US government is also mandating e-invoicing for all companies.
The governments’ encouraging attitude towards e-invoicing will result in more efficient tracking of invoices, reduction in e-approval process times, and reduction in costly errors.
E-invoices help simplify the accounts payable process for all types and sizes of businesses. That is reason enough to opt for an e-invoicing software. Most importantly, a paperless invoicing system allows both companies and their suppliers to meet their financial supply chain management goals more easily. If you have not yet set foot on the digital territory of e-invoicing and AP automation, it’s high time you do it now. An eye on the future trends will help you take your journey to the right direction.