While paper invoices are still king, electronic invoices continue to make gains. Almost one-fourth of organizations currently receive some invoices electronically, with even more planning to implement e-invoicing systems during the next few years.
According The Accounts Payable Network’s Automation Benchmark Survey 2011 preliminary results, 24 percent of participants stated that they have implemented electronic invoicing. In a 2009 survey, just 10 percent had implemented the technology. The percentage of organizations receiving invoices electronically more than doubled in two years.
Once an organization implements e-invoicing, rolling it out to all of their vendors is challenging because sellers typically have to change their billing practices. As a result, buyers tend to focus their attention on enrolling their highest-volume suppliers first.
This is evident in the survey results. Of organizations that implemented e-invoicing, more than 60 percent have enrolled 20 percent or less of their vendors. However, a quarter of them have also enrolled more than 50 percent.
Despite the growth of e-invoicing, paper still represents the majority of most organizations’ invoice volume. According to the survey results, 75 percent of participants stated that most of their invoices arrive on paper. The second most common receipt method was PDF. Just 5 percent of organizations receive the majority of their invoices electronically.
e-Invoicing has nowhere to go but up, and the survey results indicate that is where it is heading. Nearly 20 percent of survey participants said they plan to implement electronic invoicing within the next two to three years.
The full survey results include a breakdown of common drivers and hurdles to automation, an analysis of how e-invoicing adoption differs by organization size, and a discussion of how automation impacts invoices processed per FTE. All organizations that participated in the survey will receive a copy of the results soon.
In addition, all members of The Accounts Payable Network have full access to the results on TAPN, as well as the results to all previous benchmark studies.