Over the past 10 years, electronic invoicing has moved from luxury to a near requirement for e-commerce companies to grow. Features like customer payment portals, recurring billing and alternative payment options have made it far easier for customers to pay and businesses to get paid. What was once a nuisance has become easy.
Now, what will the next ten years bring? Where is electronic invoicing going and how might it affect businesses? We’ll take a look at four trends and how businesses can be prepared for them.
In many ways, automation is already here, but it may not be being used to its full potential. Some businesses are still manually sending out invoices, late notices, reminders and other customer correspondence.
This can easily be done by setting up automatic actions. Is a bill over 30 days late? A reminder email can be set up to be sent when an account is overdue, without touching a thing. That’s less staff time spent on invoicing and more time spent on growing the business. The same goes for invoices received.
Automation opens up an entirely new level of productivity that will only increase in the future. Machine learning will make the process even faster as systems are able to analyze invoices, extract company names, account numbers and balances due and automatically pay them.
SaaS solutions are becoming the norm, with the cloud giving businesses more data, records and flexibility in their electronic invoicing. An invoicing system that is accessible, anywhere, provides businesses with the ability to do what they want, when they want it, wherever they are.
A real-time economy in which invoicers can receive or reject payments immediately will reduce chasing and delinquent accounts.
The ability to be “always on” will allow companies to better serve their clients and provide quality of life enhancements to staff, who no longer are tied to a desk.
SaaS solutions have become far more robust in their offerings and will continue to expand. You can now engage in billing, chasing, dunning and automation under one roof.
You can also seamlessly integrate with bookkeeping software to create one single, integrated experience. This time of marriage will continue to evolve into new, easier-to-use customer experiences.
There will be a day when electronic invoices are accepted worldwide. It’s not here yet, but it is undoubtedly coming.
In Latin America, it is absolutely the norm. Governments in Central and South America have pushed electronic invoicing through laws and regulations for over a decade. In 2003, Chile rolled out an electronic invoicing model that has been copied throughout the region. The results have paid off in places like Brazil and Argentina.
In Europe, the EU passed a law regarding the compulsory use of e-invoicing for all government transactions. This is expected to filter throughout the private sector and increase electronic invoicing throughout the continent. It’s already commonplace in the Scandinavian countries.
Asia is trending up and should reach saturation within the next 10 years. It is spreading especially quickly in India and China, where B2B e-invoicing is pushing 80 and 70 percent, respectively.
Growth in North America has been slow but steady, as standardization has been difficult to pin down. Still, the wide acceptance of cloud technology has made electronic payment systems increasingly the norm.
While change is the only constant in financial technology, you can expect these and other trends to make a big difference in how finance teams work and what customers expect from electronic billing.