UKNeF Publishes 2014 Annual Report

4/Feb/2015. The UKNeF published its annual report for 2014, which can be found here. 2014 was a very successful year for the UKNeF. Electronic invoicing was included within the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill and the Forum launched both a Business Case and an Interoperability Charter for the UK Public Sector, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The Interoperability Charter is proving particularly popular as it is in line with the Government Interoperability Framework. Government signatories so far include the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Department for Work & Pensions, Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, and Crown Commercial Service.

UKNeF Launches Two Key Initiatives

9/Dec/2014. The Government Procurement Summit saw the launch of two key UK National e-Invoicing Forum (UKNeF) initiatives. Both aimed at increasing the adoption of electronic invoicing throughout the UK's public sector.

The UKNeF has produced an e-Invoicing Business  Case for the Public Sector in conjunction with the Local Government Association and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. This business case 'Public Sector e-Invoicing made simple' describes the value and efficiencies available for both buyer and supplier and what criteria should be considered when implementing an e-invoicing solution.

The  UKNeF Interoperability Charter for the Public Sector is aimed at service providers, public sector buying entities and large suppliers to the public sector. The intention is for signatories to agree to interoperate for any public sector electronic documents so that suppliers do not have to sign up to multiple networks.

Electronic Invoicing Included in Small Business Bill

26/June/2014. Under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, published in June 2014, UK public sector contracting authorities will have to accept invoices by electronic means.

If passed, this step taken by Cabinet Office, means obligatory e-invoicing for Public Sector entities comes into force before the EC Directive deadline. The Bill is subject to the usual legislative process.

Parliamentary Inquiry on e-Invoicing Adoption Within the UK Public Sector

30/Apr/2014. The findings of a Parliamentiary Inquiry on public sector adoption levels of e-invoicing was released. The report was initiated by Stephen McPartland MP for Stevenage, a long-term supporter of the UKNeF, and includes testimonies from UKNeF members.

The full report can be found here;

EC Approves Directive on e-Invoicing in Public Procurement

14/Apr/2014. The European Council approved a directive aimed at spreading the use of new technologies in public tenders (PE-CONS 21/14 and 8244/14 ADD 1).

The directive is intended to contribute to improving the functioning of the internal market by reducing the obstacles to entering the market, especially for SMEs, and by solving the problem of the compatibility of different e-invoicing systems in various member states.

The press release  can be found here

Chair's Opening Speech at BIS e-Invoicing Roundtable

9/Dec/2013. UKNeF hosted a roundtable discussion on e-invoicing in the UK public sector, 'Creating an Interoperable Ecosystem for Government & Business' at the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills.

The event aimed to identify a pragmatic way forward on interoperability to deliver real benefits to business and the wider public sector through the adoption of e-invoicing.

The Chair's opening speech is available at the SharedServicesLink website.

How e-Invoicing Could Revolutionise Public Sector Procurement

Published in the Guardian, 14/Jan/2013.

Many other countries in Europe no longer use paper invoicing because they believe electronic trading is so much more efficient. Two Tory MPs say it's time Britain caught up. Electronic invoicing could streamline government administration at a stroke, save taxpayers billions of pounds and enable the government to use its immense purchasing power to open new markets.

We believe electronic invoicing is a test case, offering the government a chance to give a practical demonstration of British digital leadership. Not only would e-invoicing save huge amounts of taxpayers' money, it would, if implemented properly, stimulate the almost instantaneous emergence of online services for e-invoicing and the adoption of electronic open standards. Britain could become a world leader in the field, creating thousands of new jobs and a lasting boost to economic growth. Advocates of e-invoicing have suggested that its full adoption by the government could result in economic benefits of £22bn-£28bn a year for only modest levels of investment.

In this age of austerity, e-invoicing is too good an opportunity to miss. Yet we face an enemy from within: an often cumbersome civil service bureaucracy that is slow to accept change. Britain must escape the stranglehold of the political-bureaucratic obsession that often places a premium on process over outcome. The government must push on if Britain is to fulfil its potential and become a global leader in a digital revolution, having the power to increase national productivity overnight.

Britain already lags behind most of Europe and many of our global competitors. In Denmark, paper invoicing has been banned in the public sector since 2005. E-invoicing in the public sector has been in operation in Sweden since 2008. The Finnish government has accepted e-invoices only since January 2010. Britain must step up its game. Embracing enterprise, innovation and technology holds the key to releasing the economic growth and new jobs for which our country is crying out. That process must begin with the process of government itself. As individual consumers and businesses, we now use e-invoicing every day . The benefits are simply too good to miss .

But it's not all doom and gloom. Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, and others in government have shown tenacity in pursuing savings for taxpayers by eliminating waste and improving public sector productivity. To introduce e-invoicing as the default for public bodies will take strong political will. But be assured that, as forward-thinking MPs with experience of business and industry, we will do what we can to press for its introduction at the earliest opportunity.

Adam Afriyie and Stephen McPartland are Conservative MPs for Windsor and Stevenage respectively.

European Commission Requests Data on UK Public Procurement

The recently launched Single Market Act II contains, as one of its key actions, an EU initiative on electronic invoicing (e-invoicing). The planned initiative will aim to promote the uptake and enhance the interoperability of e-invoicing in public procurement across the EU. The expected benefits of such an initiative include, among others, lower operating costs, shorter payment delays, and a reduction in waste.

As part of the preparatory works, the European Commission has just launched a public consultation on public procurement e-invoicing in the EU. The consultation seeks to gather information on the existing use of e-invoicing and opinions on the planned launch of an EU initiative in this area. The requested information will be of great assistance to the Commission during the preparation of the initiative and will ensure that it most accurately reflects market needs.

The consultation is open from the 22 October 2012 until 14 January 2013 inclusive. It consists of approximately 20 multiple-choice questions and should not take more than about 15 minutes to complete.

ACCA Publishes e-Invoicing Good Practises Discussion Paper

The ACCA have published a discussion paper on good practices in the adoption and promotion of e-invoicing within EU member states. The paper presents the findings of a high-level, pan-European consultation on good practices.

It draws on the views of expert professionals and stakeholders in 21 EU member states to identify the initiatives, products and policies that have worked well in promoting the use of e-invoicing. It identifies the countries that are leaders in e-invoicing adoption, as well as suggestions for how their success might be replicated elsewhere.

UKeAG Respond to HMRC Proposed Changes to VAT Invoice Rules

On 31st May, 2012, HMRC issued a technical note outlining proposed changes to VAT invoicing rules to incorporate new EC Directive 2010/45/EU. Under the new directive HMRC cannot impose conditions in relation to the use of electronic invoices and has proposed to change existing rules so that
'authenticity & integrity' of electronic invoices is achieved by any business controls which create a reliable audit trail between an invoice and a supply of goods or services.

Key to the challenge presented by the proposed changes is HMRC's statement that "UK legislation will be amended to remove the electronic signature and EDI requirements and make it clear that the choice is one for business to make." While this statement may seem logical under the EU's intention of individual Member States no longer imposing conditions in relation to the use of electronic invoices, it removes the two clearest working examples of ensuring 'authenticity and integrity' of tax compliant electronic invoices within the UK, and within the wider EU community.

The UKeAG has urged HMRC to reconsider removing these two popular examples of guaranteeing 'authenticity & integrity' from the UK VAT invoice rules entirely and suggests the new rules quote article 233 (2010/45/EU) in its entirety as to promote working examples of compliant electronic invoicing. The full response can be found here.

UKeAG Chair Presents to BASDA

Chris Godwin of STI Forum, and UKeAG Chair recently presented how Europe is changing the landscape for invoicing at the recent BASDA conference. Godwin explained that the Commission wants to see e-invoicing become the predominant method of invoicing by 2020 and how the Digital Single Market is an opportunity for software developers. The presentation can be viewed here.

PEPPOL meets the UK e-Invoicing Advocacy Group

In an ongoing effort to strengthen interoperability and process automation across borders, PEPPOL and representatives from the French government met UKeAG members, at an event hosted by the UK government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
An overview of the PEPPOL project and several French pilot implementations of cross-border eInvoicing were presented, along with opportunities for leading service providers to implement PEPPOL Access Points, facilitating cross-border eInvoicing between the UK and France.
The discussion that followed focused primarily on legal and governance aspects, which are the key points to be addressed by the Open PEPPOL Association over the coming months.
UK government representatives were particularly interested in increasing SME participation in public procurement, considering that SMEs account for over 99% of all enterprises in the UK.  
Update on the EU Multi-Stakeholder Forum

Emmanouil Schizas. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

The European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on E-Invoicing met for the second time on 6 March, in Brussels. Delegates were welcomed by Silvia Adrian Ţicău MEP, the European Parliament's rapporteur on e-invoicing, who discussed the Parliament's response to the European Commission's E-government action plan 2011-15. Other plenary presentations included a review of the Danish experience of mandating e-invoicing, a very thorough overview of PEPPOL and a discussion of the Commission's explanatory notes on VAT invoicing rules.

The UK is leading the EMSF Working Group 2, whose job it is to identify best practices in Europe. In the group's break-out session delegates were updated on the progress of the consultation and first findings were sanity-checked; a tentative list of the most common models of e-invoicing adoption was produced and 'model leaders' were nominated to collect case studies of good practice. Underlining the importance of this agenda, the Commission was represented in the session by Michel Catinat, head of unit "ICT for Competitiveness and Industrial Innovation" at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR).

The EMSF will meet again on 25 September 2012.

UK government still cool about e-invoicing and failing to capitalise on money funded by tax payers

Susie West. Shared Services Link.

I attended my first UK e-Invoicing Advisory Group (UKeAG) meeting yesterday. It's a body of experts, service providers and influencers looking to forge relationships with policy-makers within the UK government.

The intended outcome of a forged relationship is that the UK government catches up with governments like Denmark, US, Greece, Brazil and Mexico and start requesting, even mandating e-invoicing amongst their own suppliers.

The ripple out effect of this is that e-invoicing will become an 'no-brainer' project for multinationals and SMEs across the nation. It will become an obvious business-move for British based businesses.

The issue the UK faces as a nation is that the government is just not beating the e-invoicing drum.

We see pockets of adoption in the UK public sector with parts of the NHS and councils.

But is this 'bottom up' approach working?

So far the UK's volume of electronic invoices is 'average'.

Nigel Taylor, a spokesperson for the UKeAG, said that if the UK government embraced e-invoicing, it would be looking at savings of £3 billion per annum.

If e-invoicing was encouraged, better still mandated, by the UK government, a whole swathe of the country's paper invoices would disappear.

What does this mean to you as businesses? It means you'll trade with your trading partners in an environmental, economic, efficient way which results in cost savings and cleaner processes.

And should the UK government embrace e-invoicing, what does that mean to you as a UK tax payer?

It means the tax you pay, which is hard-earned, is being spent in an intelligent, efficient way, which fails to be the case the longer the UK government remain cool about engaging in e-invoicing.
How to save a billion - scrap those invoices

The public sector could be missing out on as much as £3 billion a year in savings by failing to switch over to electronic invoicing, an industry group has said.
Nigel Taylor, head of e-invoicing solutions at e-commerce specialist GXS and a spokesperson for the UK e-Invoicing Advocacy Group, made the claim to a House of Commons meeting of the Conservative Technology Forum.

E-invoicing is the removal of paper from the invoicing process, either by use of web-based forms or data exchange between buyer and supplier systems. Already widely used in the corporate sector and spreading to smaller businesses, it saves money by removing the need to hire people to print, handle, match and store paper invoices.

Speaking after the House of Commons session, Taylor told that by extrapolating from European research it could be estimated that the savings available to the UK public sector as a are more than £1bn a year and could be as much as £3 bn. But he said the practice was currently only "dotted around here and there" in the public sector, partly due to people's bad past experiences with implementing complex e-procurement systems, of which e-invoicing was often viewed as a part.

"In the past, government has focused on e-procurement, but e-procurement is quite a difficult thing to put in place compared to e-invoicing - it touches all areas of a business, with all stakeholders involved", Taylor said.

"So perhaps this level of difficulty has put public bodies off considering e-invoicing.

"E-invoicing can be part of e-procurement but It is the easiest place to start as it doesn't require big changes to internal systems".

There is a lack of awareness of the potential benefits of e-invoicing, he said, which range from saving money on staff costs; freeing up staff to move to front line services; combating fraud; gaining access to valuable live data showing the organisation's current financial position; carbon footprint reduction; and the fact that it can make it easier for small businesses to supply public bodies, and facilitate their being paid within 10 days as mandated by the government.

UK public sector pioneers of e-invoicing are few and far between but include the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, which according to the UK eInvoicing Advocacy Group is aiming for cost savings of at least £100,000 a year; Birmingham Primary Care Shared Service Agency (BPCSSA), a body providing finance and procurement services to three Primary Care Trusts and one NHS Trust in Birmingham; and the BBC, though no major central government departments have yet made the switch. 

Website by cFront Software