Electronic invoices, an opportunity to upgrade your accounting department
Published on 11 August 2022
Every year in France, nearly 2.5 billion invoices are exchanged, but only 15% are dematerialized. However, the obligation of electronic invoicing is approaching since it will be imposed on companies, depending on their size, between 2024 and 2026.
This is an opportunity for your accounting department, which will be able to save time and devote itself to more rewarding tasks.
The dematerialization of invoices, soon unavoidable
The generalization of electronic invoicing is a subject that has been engaged for several years by the French government, which wishes to better know the real-time activity of companies and improve the detection of fraud, especially VAT.
The generalization started with the obligation for companies to send their invoices to the public sector in electronic format in 2020. Then the 2020 Finance Law introduced the same obligation for exchanges between companies subject to VAT, established in France. However, the obligation is spread over two years, between July 2024 and January 2026, depending on the size of the company, first the largest, then the smallest.
Dematerialize to meet business challenges
Implementing the digitization of paper invoices now should not only be seen as a regulatory constraint. It gives the company the opportunity to meet important challenges by accelerating exchanges, thanks in particular to the use of collaborative communication platforms, and by automating business processes. With this digital transition, the accounting department will be able to improve the quality of the data collected, centralize it and access it more easily. This will result in significant savings thanks to the time saved in the various processes and organization: no more data entry in the IT tool, no more verification of mandatory information, no more anti-fraud controls, no more reconciliation of invoices with purchase orders... This reduction in processing time ensures compliance with regulatory obligations in terms of payment deadlines, thus avoiding costs and penalties, and ultimately improving supplier relations. Dematerialization also optimizes the ecological impact: less paper, therefore less energy and materials spent (in printing, transport...), a proof of the company's commitment.
The value of work, a lever for competitiveness
Beyond these challenges, dematerialization can be a real asset for human resources. While the process is engaging and requires a review of processes and organization, it can also help meet strong demands and expectations, particularly those increasingly expressed by employees, or even future recruits, to perform more rewarding, less time-consuming and repetitive tasks. By eliminating non-value-added tasks, such as typing or filing archived documents, which are taken care of thanks to the automation of the dematerialization tool, without the intervention of employees, you free up work time. This time can be allocated to more strategic functions such as analysis and consulting. For example, the dematerialization tool allows you to obtain data through dashboards to be able to project, predict events, or plan priority treatments... This revaluation of tasks closer to their core business enhances the interest for the function with, at the end of the day, more satisfied employees, more committed and less turnover. This new quality of life at work becomes a real lever for competitiveness.
Responding to the need for autonomy
Another advantage of implementing an invoice digitization solution is the ability to respond to the need to work from home during the health crisis and to have a high-performance, paperless collaborative tool for this purpose. Employees have generally appreciated working from home and are asking for more. According to a study by the training organization Vénus Consulting (FR) in February 2022, nearly 7 out of 10 want to continue to telework, in a mixed formula with 2 to 3 days of work in the company, for more flexibility and autonomy. It therefore seems judicious to create favorable conditions with a tool that allows both to improve the traceability of operations, and their visibility by all, both internal and external actors.
*Figures from the National Electronic Invoice Forum
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