Cedric Neve, CEO of Digiteal, discusses emergent new platforms changing the way citizens manage their bills as a result of EU standardisation.
According to Billentis, there were 37 billion invoices sent in the EU in 2016 alone. Around 75% of them were still printed and mailed. The environmental impact of all those paper invoices is worrisome, but e-invoicing can help reduce this negative impact.
Paper invoicing costs 1% to 3% of company’s turnover. The Agency for Administrative Simplification (ASA) in Brussels, Belgium, calculated that delivering a paper invoice costs around €7 more than using an electronic channel. The cost is split between the issuer and the recipient, forcing both to accommodate this old fashioned way of conducting business.
Digiteal provides a better solution, enabling high conversion rates from paper to electronic invoicing. Digiteal also triggers automation, reducing costs further by a substantial amount. As a result, low costs foster competition by offering a level playing field.
Easing the customer journey
Managing recurring invoices is often a painful and inefficient process for both the issuer and the recipient. At a personal level, imagine all those bills that you receive for energy, telecom, water, school, insurances, amongst others; many of those bills are sent on a monthly basis. On average, a household will receive 150 bills per year. Everyone receives those bills, and everyone is losing a lot of precious time managing and paying them.
Digiteal provides a user-friendly solution to automate invoice management. Just look at
the customer journey in the accompanying diagram – it walks the user from a paper invoice to e-invoicing, and then to automatic and user-controlled payment.
PEPPOL defines an e-procurement framework and governance for a pan-European deployment. Invoice issuers can connect to a sending Access Point (AP) and invoice recipients can use the AP of their choice, where everyone can be connected thanks to their compliance to PEPPOL guidelines. This European scope, based on standards, convinced Digiteal to embrace it and help bring PEPPOL adoption to the next level through adding provider-neutral business to customer (B2C) aspects.
Tomorrow, as an individual, you will be able to register to PEPPOL through the e-invoicing app of your choice – Digiteal being just one of those listed. This will inform all the issuers integrating PEPPOL that you want to receive your bills through your app. Instead of requiring you to inform each specific provider of the way you want to receive those bills, they will all know at once.
From the issuer’s perspective, this is also a very interesting solution since:
- It boosts the conversion to e-invoicing;
- It enables multi-channel sending without integrating many specific solutions; and
- There is no cost to connect to any of the receiving parties.
The original innovators in e-invoicing were the Nordics. However, the system that is in place in Northern Europe is a locked-down model in which all B2C invoices need to be processed through banking systems, hindering competition. The adoption of an open PEPPOL B2C will free the market in a way that has never been seen in Europe before.
Through domiciliation, the payment can be done automatically, but the recipient of the invoice loses the control on what will be paid. As a Digiteal customer, after paying the third invoice from a supplier, you will be invited to set up an automatic payment. You will define when you want your bills to be paid depending on the due date, and under the threshold which you choose. This feature comes at no cost for the issuer and ensures that they can be paid faster, and more regularly, without any customer action or administrative tasks. We have more important things to do than pay recurring invoices. With Digiteal, we enable every EU citizen to get rid of this tedious task.
The next steps for e-invoicing
Digiteal started a pilot phase in November 2017 in Belgium and was recently selected by the EU to deploy its concept in other European countries. In this context, Digiteal is seeking partners such as document service providers and connections with big issuers who want to reduce their costs.
Furthermore, if you have not done it already, we recommend that you try Digiteal and experience how easy it can be to manage your invoices. You are just one click away.