But there is a growing split over whether governments should take the lead in harmonising invoicing across the European Union, or whether it should be a business-led initiative.
Accountants, tax experts and business representatives were told of the benefits of e-invoiving at a conference staged by the European federation of accountants held to discuss whether VAT could survive the 21st century.
A consensus emerged that by adopting electronic invoicing, potentially businesses could make massive savings.
Ine Lejeune, e-business tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Belgium, told the assembled experts that their research revealed average savings made by switching from paper to e-invoicing was 75%.
‘If you look at the millions of papers produced you come to huge values,’ she said.
Electronic invoicing is closely bound up with moves at the European Commission to harmonise invoices across member states.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA’s head of tax and the association’s representative at the conference, expressed surprise at that business should be responsible for driving e-invoicing forward.
‘It has to be government lead or it won’t make progress. There has to be private sector input, but governments have to get together to agree what they can live with.’
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