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SME’s invest wisely in E-invoicing

News   •   Feb 21, 2013 13:40 GMT

  • FPB survey highlights e-invoicing as key area for SME’s
  • 47% of members say they will be using e-invoicing within 12 months
  • Comment from Celeris  Ltd, a UKITA member

Here at the UK IT Association (UKITA) we are always keeping an eye on research to see which business trends SME’s are currently following that may help you in your IT or Digital Media business, and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) have recently commissioned a report to see which IT areas businesses are most concerned with.

They surveyed 4000 members and the results that came back are very interesting. The single area that had most support was e-invoicing, with 47% of FPB members stating that they were already using e-invoicing or that they would be using e-invoicing by the end of the year. Only 38% said they have no plans to incorporate e-invoicing, with most of those citing the difficulty of linking their current credit control systems with new software with  Phil Orford, Chief Executive of the FPB saying, "If the government can tackle the biggest barrier of interoperability with credit control procedures then this figure is likely to jump much higher."

The main benefit that companies believed they would gain by the use of e-invoicing was the ease of chasing up bad payers and the improvements it made to the overall credit control efficiency. 

The gap in the market for simple software that can be integrated with current systems while meeting all government requirements represents a unique opportunity for SME’s working within the IT sector to take advantage of the specialist knowledge they have to get ahead of the game in using electronic invoicing themselves. And it may provide a further opportunity for software development companies to develop their own software solutions for prospective clients.

Other areas of note were cloud computing, with 27% considering moving some or all of their IT services to the cloud, with security and connectivity being the biggest barriers to consideration. Finally, nearly a quarter of all businesses believe that the key technical requirement for improvement to their business is improved broadband speed.

For those considering specialisation in 4G technologies the outlook was less rosy, with only 4% believing 4G would affect the way they do business.

Maira Hayworth of Celeris Ltd has this this to say on the advantages of E-invoicing. “The best and yet least obvious time to implement eInvoicing is in the early stages of a company’s development.  There are certainly more options for SMEs now, ranging from simple web-based invoice input or invoice file uploads - to the more recent Cloud based ERP solutions offering full end-to-end integration.  Automating processes (such as orders, invoices, and payments) while sales volumes are low and systems are still fairly flexible, puts a business on course to expand with a much leaner cost model.  It also motivates employees to constantly think about how they might automate each new process rather than calculate how many more staff they might need to administer it.” Mairi Hayworth is an eInvoicing expert and Operations Director at Celeris Limited - a UK based eBusiness consulting firm and UKITA member.

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