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European governments could save at least €40 billion annually through e-invoicing - Ricoh

Wednesday 9th May, 2012

Ricoh UK, is urging public sector bodies across Europe to adopt electronic invoicing, with new research revealing that European governments could save at least €40 billion annually[1], by further embracing the digital economy and moving to electronic invoicing.

In the UK alone the saving is €4,400 million[2]. The figures are included in a new report from Billentis and sponsored by Ricoh, which identifies the public sector as one of the largest sectors in terms of invoice volume, estimating that 45-65 per cent of all companies supply goods or services to the sector.

The report also states that while the proportion of business and government invoices sent electronically this year is predicted to be around 30 per cent higher than in 2011, penetration is still low, with only around 18 per cent of all invoices in Europe likely to be sent in this way. This is despite the European Commission's aim for e-invoicing to be the predominant method of invoicing by 2020 and actions being implemented through the European Union's Digital Agenda to remove the barriers to widespread adoption of electronic invoicing.

"With the European economy still in recovery mode, and governments constantly looking for new ways to make savings, adopting electronic invoicing is an obvious choice," said Chas Moloney, Director, Ricoh UK. "But we know one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption is managing the switch from a predominantly paper-based system to an electronic one. For the public sector, doing business with thousands of suppliers and residents, it's crucial any changes are well planned, communicated, and managed. They need to work with a partner who can support the transition from paper to digital and help them meet the aims of the Digital Agenda and benefit from a smarter way of working."

Ricoh's intelligent invoicing service has been designed to help both public and private sector organisations benefit from the advantages of the digital economy. It allows businesses to easily manage both paper and digital invoices at the same time through a single platform, benefiting from the cost savings identified in the Billentis report. The entire service - managing invoices that are electronic, paper, or a combination - is delivered through Ricoh's Document Process Outsourcing Division.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Globally, only five per cent of invoices are sent electronically
  • The larger the organisation is, the less likely it is to know its actual invoice volumes
  • 10-15 per cent of invoices require a reminder, adding to the overall time and cost of the invoicing process
  • 10 per cent of manually entered data contains an error
  • Typically, an invoice is copied six times