In a bid to help boost the adoption of e-invoices, European Union legislation has been introduced that will require all member states to be able to receive e-invoices by November 2018. Basware estimates that governments in Europe issue 3.15 billion invoices each year at an average cost of 60 euros ($65.94) per invoice.
However, there will be several obstacles in front of governments trying to meet this deadline.
Canan Kocabasoglu Hillmer, a senior lecturer in operations and supply chain management for Cass Business school, explained to CNBC what these challenges would be. She said: "The challenges tend to be primarily driven by the complexity of the invoicing processes and leadership needed during the transition. The more complex the underlying billing and payment process, the more diverse the different parties taking part in the transaction are and the more uncertainty about ownership of different phases of the process, the bigger the challenge."
Tihila suggested governments intending to adopt e-invoicing should seek advice from the private sector. He said: "When creating infrastructure and processes for automation, invoicing and e-invoicing, governments can learn from businesses. Using the expertise of service providers to create the e-invoicing infrastructure is a stronger path to success and means that governments, businesses and citizens will see more benefit."
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Hillmer also suggested how governments could switch to e-invoicing. She said: "Successful adoption is mostly spearheaded when there are clearly identified leaders, who are accountable for the success of the transition, have the clout to push through resistance, are enthusiastic and are willing to communicate regularly with the various stakeholders.
"There have been several lessons learned from the adoption of e-procurement, including e-invoicing, in the B2B context, which can provide great insights for the government sector."