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New report says e-invoicing is gaining traction

Researchers noted that the primary financial priority for companies in 2011 is improving operational efficiency – far surpassing their focus on increasing profits and top-line performance
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 19, 2011

A report by The Institute of Financial Operations indicates that companies are becoming more sophisticated in how they approach procurement and finance.

“While e-invoicing implementation may be gradual, there has been clear growth since last year as companies begin to understand its benefits,” said spokesmen for Basware, the report’s sponsor.

Researchers noted that the primary financial priority for companies in 2011 is improving operational efficiency – far surpassing their focus on increasing profits and top-line performance. The great majority of organizations surveyed recognize the importance of e-invoicing in helping them achieve this objective, and they also realize the negative consequences that come from primarily relying on manual processes.

Robert A. Rudzki, President, Greybeard Advisors LLC, told SCMR that he was not surprised that the focus was on efficiency.

“The survey respondents were heavily weighted toward accounts payable managers, who often live or die on the efficiency of their processes,” he said, noting that other surveys of CFOs and CPOs often display different priorities - more strategic in nature.

“Too many managers, when faced with the choice of tactically improving efficiency (low risk, modest returns) or leading fundamental transformation (moderate risk, but big returns), will often choose the lower risk, tactical option,” Rudzki added.

Rudzki—a former SVP and CPO, Bayer Corp. and SCMR blogger—also noted that the choice does not have to be either/or: i.e. either efficiency, or effectiveness:

“It is possible to pursue both concurrently with a well thought - out plan.”

Indicating an increase in invoice processing since last year, the 2011 e-invoicing survey results show that approximately one-third of the participants reported that their employers did not in any way use e-invoicing.

That compares with a similar question from last year’s survey in which 58 percent responded that their companies used a manual data capture and approval process for receiving invoices.


About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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