The use of e-payment and e-invoicing among corporates is growing, but there is still a long way to go before these will be the standard operating procedures for managing cash flows. E-invoicing offers obvious benefits in terms of efficiency in both accounts payable and accounts receivable. But the first challenge is on the payments side, where changes will soon be required if companies are to be compliant with SEPA regulations. Now is the time to act.
2011 will be the year SEPA appears on the agenda for every corporate. So far SEPA has been mainly between banks, but with the end-date regulation underway everyone will have to move to it. Many companies have yet to see SEPA as a way to improve payment efficiency and lower transaction costs. There is no penalty for non-compliance at present, but that time will come, so corporates would do well to address SEPA now and prepare themselves.
There is still a lot of work to do. Companies will have to adapt their systems and processes anyway and should therefore take SEPA as an opportunity to reassess their current transaction services capabilities and service providers. Even if it is only to verify that they are fully ready and optimally equipped and serviced.
The benefits of e-invoicing are obvious but mass adoption still eludes us. But now politicians have taken an interest, inspired by SEPA and the Digital Agenda. They call it e-SEPA. This is the time for companies to evaluate their processes and capabilities, and not just for compliance purposes. Looking at these four areas - accounts payable, accounts receivable, e-invoicing, e-payments - independently will lead to suboptimal decisions. Taking these imminent changes as a unique opportunity to look at these four areas in an integrated way and define integrated requirements is the smarter approach.
The many transaction services providers out there have developed a wide array of new and highly differentiated services. Companies are now challenged to define their needs in terms that these service providers understand, so they can choose and use providers that optimise both invoicing and payments, in both A/R and A/P.
As a recognised independent industry expert in both payments and invoicing, we can help you with our specialist expertise and services. This includes:
Innopay is an independent full-service consultancy firm specialised in payments and related transaction services. Our key practices include e-payment, e-invoicing, e-identity, mobile payment, cards and related regulation. Our leading topical industry reports can be downloaded for free at our website.
We are a member of the European Payments Consulting Association (EPCA), Payment Systems Market Expert Group (PSMEG) of the European Commission and an associate member of the Euro Banking Association (EBA). Given our independent position, we work for all players in the industry, both on the supply and the demand side of the market.