986 million electronic invoices were processed and delivered to invoice receivers in 2014 by members of the European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA), based on a set of survey results completed in June 2015.
This represented a significant growth of 17 per cent over 2013 volumes of 840 million.
EESPA commissioned this second annual survey among its members as part of its continued commitment to support the rapid market growth of e-invoicing and to play its part in monitoring uptake. The survey was carried out through a trusted third party on the basis of actual transaction volumes, collected on a confidential basis from individual EESPA members for the calendar year 2014.
The majority of invoices processed were B2B or B2G (Business-to-Business or Business-to-Government) invoices (621 million invoices in total in 2014), although the EESPA membership also has a significant involvement in the delivery of B2C (Business-to-Consumer) invoices (365 million invoices in total in 2014).
EESPA members were asked to report the volume (i.e. number of items) of all e-invoices delivered by them to buyers connected to their network or service, and also volumes delivered to buyers connected to a service provider outside the EESPA community. Each member was asked to carefully identify only items representing truly electronic invoices, irrespective of the process through which the invoice or the invoice data were collected from suppliers.
The figures represent an indication of the total footprint represented by the EESPA community in relation to the growing volumes of e-invoices now being processed at the expense of traditional paper documents. The majority of EESPA members participated in the survey, although it is the case that a number of members were for practical and policy reasons not able to participate, and the sample size is affected by the incidence of members joining and leaving the association.
In 2014 the figures reveal a rather less buoyant growth in B2B and B2G transactions processed than in the previous year, although with the incidence of the factors mentioned above, the association is confident that underlying growth rates in these segments are understated. The B2C sector on the other hand showed very substantial growth and a growth of over 50% is very striking.
EESPA service providers are making a very significant contribution to the adoption of electronic invoicing across both Europe and more widely. Service provider networks and services to buyers and suppliers contribute a growing and sizeable element of total electronic invoice volume and these services are more often than not preferred to direct connections between suppliers and buyers, which can be cumbersome to manage and do not take advantage of ‘network’ effects.
Commenting on the latest figures EESPA Co-Chairs Esa Tihilä and Charles Bryant, said ‘ the service provider community continues to make a strong contribution to the development of electronic invoicing and is committed to supporting the growing number of adopters on their journey to realising the massive efficiency gains and cost savings available. Our total figures are still impacted by the reluctance of some of our members to participate in our annual survey- we will work harder in the years ahead to encourage greater participation ’.
EESPA was formed in 2011 as an international not-for-profit association. It acts as a trade association at a European level for a large and dynamic community of e-invoicing service providers, drawn from organisations that provide network, business outsourcing, financial, technology, and EDI (electronic data interchange) services. It focuses on public policy issues, the creation of an interoperable eco-system and championing the widespread adoption of e-invoicing for the benefit of economic efficiency and growth.