2. Motivation

Considering the objectives of all stakeholders involved, with a special focus on SMEs, this industry lead initiative paves the way for a broad scale, whole of economy adoption of eInvoicing (and other digital business processes).

By initially enabling simpler and more efficient access to eInvoicing through the adoption of a coherent framework, it is anticipated that the benefits derived would extend well beyond the current participants and to the broader economy (Government included). This is particularly important for small and medium sized businesses for which the benefits of adopting full eInvoicing have been unclear and costs have been prohibitive.

2.1 Business benefits:

  • Business processes would be further streamlined and enhanced through the automated data exchange and end to end processing of the invoice;
  • Enhanced system and commoditised systems for reliably delivering and receiving invoices (and in the future the full ‘procure to pay’ cycle) by digital interaction would result in lower costs, replacing manual process and hard copy interchange;
  • Overall procurement costs to buyers would reduce by increasing competition and diffusing the current state of oligopoly from the market (Billentis, 2015);
  • The option to use a single Access Point for all digital transactions would reduce the costs to suppliers and/or buyers;
  • Buyers and Suppliers would be able to trade with a wider pool of digitally enabled trading partners and participate in a more competitive network; and
  • Businesses would be enabled to assess the benefits adopting eInvoicing to achieve the potential 60-80% efficiency gain (Billentis, 2015) against the status quo; and
  • Overall efficiencies would lead to improved Buyer/Supplier relationships. ##2.2 Interoperability benefits:

  • ‘Connect once and trade with many’ would reduce the effects of market fragmentation. Businesses would be able to exchange invoices across multiple technological and organisational boundaries;

  • There would be more effective and higher quality data exchanges between the various (existing and new) solutions and services;
  • A simplified and coherent set of standards would reduce the technical burden of supporting multiple software components for each standard, data mapping to multiple formats, business rules and code lists; and
  • Standardising on open interoperability would provide businesses with the freedom to change service providers without technology lock in.

2.3 Efficiency benefits:

  • Business would gain significant performance improvements by driving efficiencies in the accounts payable function, including confirmation of receipt of invoice to the correct party;
  • The solutions used by businesses would be able to exchange and process data with less manual efforts and less errors, often requiring the buyer only to signify approval for payment;
  • Buyers would gain improved quality of invoice data, early error detection and reduction of overall processing times resulting in greater efficiencies;
  • Business owners, managers and employees would gain the ability to conduct business everywhere; and
  • Process automation would be an opportunity for businesses to introduce a capacity to measure key performance indicators, such as operational, financial and supplier metrics.

2.4 Innovation benefits:

  • Creating sufficient certainty for software and solution providers would encourage innovation and investment in capabilities that support eInvoicing;
  • The Framework would catalyse the launch of many SME friendly innovative solutions that enable the electronic exchange of data between businesses;
  • Digital transformation would lead to new ways of doing things, often based on connecting previously disconnected capabilities; and
  • A market would emerge for the creation of new business models, products and services.

2.5 Whole of economy benefits:

  • For the public sector, Billentis estimated a potential annual savings of $2.4 billion to $3 billion if Australia’s three levels of public administration adopted eInvoicing;
  • For the private sector, Suppliers (and Buyers) would be able to use a single Access Point to exchange eInvoices with all their trading partners;
  • Using open standards and best practices would maximise the ability to leverage off the shelf solutions for businesses, software developers and Government;
  • An increased proportion of businesses embracing digital for productivity benefits and driving business growth would lead to macro-economic benefits; and
  • Interacting with Australian business would become more attractive to international trading networks.