The European e-Invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA) has published that 2016 experienced a growth of 29% in use of e-Invoicing and that over 1.6 billion e-invoices were processed. The results are based on a survey of individual EESPA members completed in June 2017.
The majority of invoices processed were B2B or B2G (Business-to-Business or Business-to-Government) invoices (1035 million invoices in total in 2016), although the EESPA membership also has a significant involvement in the delivery of B2C (Business-to-Consumer) invoices (580 million invoices in total in 2016).
These figures show that the electronic invoice continues to grow in the European Union and that it will have to continue growing due to the mandatory Directive 2014/55/EU about e-Invoicing with EU public administrations which comes into force on November, 2018.
To this end, European countries are already working on their own e-Invoicing models and many have already been implemented between suppliers and their institutional bodies. Given the diversity in countries and legislations, one of the biggest challenges the EU must overcome is interoperability. This is relevant in order for the electronic invoicing to increase and to become the system used, not only by B2G operations, but also between B2B processes.
Associations like OpenPEPPOL work on extending the use of the PEPPOL network in European countries, in order to establish a common network for any type of commercial documents, starting with invoices. PEPPOL is already an accepted standard in some Nordic countries but, mostly, it is being used in the UK, as its National Health System has made PEPPOL mandatory for the electronic interchange of documents between health sector and its suppliers.
EESPA Chair, Esa Tihilä, said, “This data is essential for European authorities in tracking the success of their policy initiatives in e-Invoicing, and also signifies to those who have not yet started the e-Invoicing journey, the value that e-Invoicing makes to cost reduction, improved efficiency, competitiveness, liquidity generation and environmental benefits.”