The bank for a changing world

Invoice digitization—solutions with substantial benefits

  • 24.10.2018

A central facet of accounting, sales and fiscal management, invoices are valuable documents for companies. The trend towards electronic invoices picked up in 2018 with the arrival of new regulations. Which existing banking solutions can support this drive towards digitization?

A favorable context for virtualization

Digital invoices offer an array of benefits for companies. First of all, they reduce the time and costs involved in processing paper invoices by eliminating two frequent sources of error—mail sorting and data entry. They also ensure that invoices are paid faster, thereby avoiding financial imbalances. Digital invoices also improve the traceability of invoicing operations, while offering easier access from anywhere. They can also facilitate data exporting, notably when the digitization system is integrated into a software-management solution. Since they are stored on a hard disk or in the cloud, digital invoices save space and decrease the risk of damage to these documents. 

In 2018, legislation changed to accelerate digital invoice adoption.

Two new regulations came into effect: 

  1. Since 2016, large French companies have been required to issue digital invoices to public authorities. As of January 1, 2018, this same requirement now applies to mid-size businesses ;
  2. European Union member countries must implement the European electronic invoice in public procurement by November 27, 2018. This regulation outlines common invoicing standards and aims to facilitate trade between EU countries. 

Electronic invoicing in figures

In France

9

in 10 people in France have already digitized at least one invoice

66% 

of companies currently have one or more virtualization solutions

56%

of companies have used digital invoices for more than four years 

Worldwide

30 Bn

digital invoices were issued worldwide in 2016

30%

of invoices are digital IN THE UNITED STATES 

2.3 Bn

Using e-invoicing in the European Union may save up to €2.3 billion euros

(Sources: Bearing Point, Generix Group, Edicom)

Payment solutions to support digitization

Transitioning to full digital invoicing is not without its challenges for organizations. They will have to guarantee the authenticity of invoices and the integrity of their content, while also integrating the digitization tool into their IT system to ensure optimal compatibility with other management tools. This point is especially important for organizations comprising international subsidiaries or complex structures in which invoicing may concern multiple services. 

BNP Paribas, working at the center of change

Banks are developing new tools to help organizations make digital invoices the new standard. For example, BNP Paribas offers solutions that combine virtual invoicing and payment features. 

In partnership with Paytweak, the Group offers its customers a solution for virtual invoicing and payment by email and text. Paytweak digitizes invoices using a predefined model and sends reminders for late payments or unpaid invoices based on a selected scenario. With this solution, companies save time while increasing receipts.

BNP Paribas customers also benefit from the SEPAmail network, which the billing party can use to issue an e-invoice to a customer along with a payment request to the customer’s bank. The latter can then access the payment request with ease through their mobile app or secure online banking portal. The SEPA standard now covers the 34 European countries which have streamlined their money transfer and debiting processes for transactions in euros. 

BNP Paribas Factor—factoring goes digital, too

As a leader in the French factoring market, BNP Paribas Factor is digitizing its services to optimize the transfer and treatment of invoices, notably by reducing fraud risk. Benefits include an opportunity for customers to access financing within a few hours. By using a dedicated platform, BNP Paribas Factor customers can submit a digital invoice and financing request for the invoice in just a click—the recipient will then have immediate access to the funds. 

More than 90% of customers now use this handy and practical feature. Customers can also use electronic signatures to authenticate a document’s author, guarantee its integrity and seal its binding nature. Finally, they can also import all the supporting documents needed for their transactions, thereby reducing the processing time for these requests. Some offers, such as Reverse Factoring, notably offer a 100% virtualized option.  

Crédit Photo header ©Jacob Lund

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