Government e-invoicing review gets budget tick

The Australian government has assigned responsibility for a planned study into the costs and benefits of adopting electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) to the Australian Taxation Office. The move was welcomed by the Digital Business Council (Council) which is working to publish an e-invoicing Interoperability Framework on July 1, 2016.

The 2016 Budget announcement did not allocate any specific funding for the study but said costs would be met from within the existing resources of the ATO.

Broader adoption of e-invoicing with State and Territory and local governments will also be considered in the study.

‘Council sees the adoption of e-invoicing as a critical first step to digitising the full procure-to-pay process. The budget statement confirms that we are progressing down a sensible positive path for economy-wide benefits’, said Peter Strong, co-chair of the Digital Business Council.

‘This is a significant initiative which will save the economy billions of dollars’.

Members of the Digital Business Council include Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Australian Payment Clearing Association, Australian Local Government Association and SMB financial software vendors MYOB, Reckon and Xero.

The Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer said that the study is expected to benefit small businesses as they will spend less time entering invoice data for government and more time developing and growing their business.

‘Government adoption of e-invoicing not only has the potential to save government agencies time and money, but also means that each of their business partners, including small business, can uncover significant productivity benefits’, said Mr Strong.

‘e-invoicing is cheaper, faster and more efficient than traditional paper based invoicing. The time and money saved using e-invoicing allows a business to allocate those resources to areas that will enable further business growth’.

e-invoicing is a broadly used term covering the automated exchange and processing of invoice related documents between suppliers and buyers in a structured electronic, or digital, format.

The e-invoicing Interoperability Framework aims to provide a set of established open standards which can be used to extend e-invoicing to all Australian business, including government.

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