According to current research, there is a global pandemic of overdue invoices (Walker, 2017). In 2016 in the US, clients settled their invoices an average of 34 days late, or 55 days from the date of invoicing. According to surveys, 92% of suppliers were paid late between 2015 and 2016. 21% of all B2B invoices in developed and emerging markets are paid 60 days past due. In the USA and many other countries, unpaid invoices lead to constricted cash flow, and cause thousands of businesses to file for bankruptcy.
One important component in the fight against late payment is e-invoicing. 56 countries have made or are in the process of making e-invoicing mandatory to some degree. For example, in Brazil, the implementation of e-invoicing nationwide has reduced invoice processing times by an average of 5 days, and reduced the number of businesses that fail because of cash flow difficulties. The transparency afforded by e-invoicing has also reduced the incidence of large clients deliberately withholding payments and otherwise exploiting small suppliers.
That isn’t to suggest that most payment delays are deliberate. A 2013 study discovered that 49% of invoices 30 days past due resulted from errors or missing information. Another study found that 16% of businesses sent invoices to the wrong recipient, or had difficulty identifying the correct recipient. E-invoicing makes these problems and their associated delays disappear. Invoice management solutions that provide built-in online payment options also reduce cash and check payments, which are the most susceptible to errors.
Do these successes mean that electronic invoicing is the answer to payment delays and its associated woes? Not on its own. However, when combined with government regulation, dynamic discounting for early payments, and other process improvements, e-invoicing is an essential tool that improves business practices, makes transactions more transparent, and enhances market efficiency. So in addition to the immense cost savings on offer, implementing an automated invoice solution also offers wide-ranging societal and economic benefits. To discover more about how to deploy electronic invoicing in your own organization, please contact Visionet Systems.
Walker, A. (2017). A hoard of unpaid invoices: Dissecting economies & private market forces to solve B2B late payments (Thesis). Rochester Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.rit.edu/