PayStream subscriber Basware, a provider of purchase-to-pay solutions, and Billentis, an independent e-invoicing firm, estimate that the number of B2B e-invoices sent globally rose by 20 percent in 2011, with large markets such as Germany, Mexico and France accelerating the adoption curve.
Legislative changes to mandate e-invoices or reinforce the value of electronic formats have contributed to this increase in adoption rates. These include:
• The announcement in 2011 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that by the end of the fiscal year 2012, all Treasury Bureaus will implement an electronic invoice processing solution as part of President Obama’s “Campaign to Cut Waste,” to improve government efficiency and cut costs for taxpayers;
• Mexico defined new legal requirements and mandated enterprises to exchange invoices electronically, if the value exceeds a certain amount or if the enterprise generates revenues of at least 4 million Mexican Pesos (roughly $340,000);
• Germany, the Nordic countries and Benelux states introduced moderate legislation to encourage the use of e-invoicing, but adoption was largely organic through a recognition of the benefits of automation;
• The 2010 requirement by the Finnish State Treasury for state agencies and institutions to receive only e-invoices from their suppliers;
• In 2012, countries such as Greece, Kazakhstan, Norway and Spain will enforce mandatory regulations around e-invoicing.
Globally, e-invoicing has been adopted by countries at different rates and the legislation varies between these regions. In Asia, specifically Japan and China, the electronic version of an invoice is only regarded as a copy and the paper version is required for compliance purposes. This is in contrast to other Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea, where the approach to e-invoicing is advanced and electronic invoices are accepted as official financial documentation.