Top 4 e-invoicing Roadblocks in Australia

By Robin Sands, Link4

E-invoicing is an innovation that provides benefits for every business. It is simple to get started, and works seamlessly in the background for most organisations. But less than 1% of businesses in Australia use this service. Why is adoption so low?

Here are 4 factors that are slowing the adoption rate of e-invoicing in Australia:

  1. Awareness
  2. Government Adoption
  3. Enterprise Support
  4. Accountants


When hearing about e-invoicing, many people think of emailed PDFs. They may not realise that e-invoicing is something new and unique – the instant delivery of invoice data between cloud accounting systems. There is no need for emails and PDFs, since all of the relevant information appears directly in Xero, MYOB, or whichever system the business is using.

A Peppol e-invoice is delivered immediately, eliminating the stress and fuss of manual data entry and speeding up payment times. Businesses simply need to know what e-invoicing is and how it works, as it is a great asset to any size organisation.

Government Adoption

Many Australian federal government departments are already able to receive e-invoices. While this is certainly a positive step, the receipt of e-invoices will not be mandatory for all federal agencies until July 1, 2022. Additionally, no date has been set for mandating the sending of e-invoices.

Those federal departments who have met the initial deadline still face the challenge of communicating their adoption to trading partners. If their suppliers don't know the agency is ready to accept e-invoices, they won't send invoices that way. The departments need to clearly communicate and onboard their suppliers to ensure e-invoicing is adopted by relevant parties.

For state and local government in Australia, there are few directives for starting the process. New South Wales is leading the way, with e-invoicing to be mandatory for NSW government agencies by January 1, 2022 (for all goods and services up to $A1 million). It is hoped that other states and territories will set their own target dates but, without appropriate guidance, there is unlikely to be a unified or cohesive approach.

The recent 2020–21 Federal Budget, announced in May, allocated $A15.3 million towards encouraging the uptake of e-invoicing. This gives hope for Australia-wide adoption in the near future, at all levels of government, and for SMEs who are digitally ready.

However, unless there is a clear and organised approach, along with time-sensitive mandates where appropriate, the funding will not in itself increase adoption rates. The government must take responsibility for educating businesses and supporting the adoption of e-invoicing as a 'must-have' rather than an optional service.

Enterprise Support

Large organisations have ERP systems in place, which often include Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) capabilities. EDI is the forerunner to e-invoicing and was the first step in replacing paper methods with digital options for creating purchase orders and invoices.

Private sector companies using these processes may not see additional benefits of switching to e-invoicing, and it is not yet mandatory for them to do so. However, aside from improving their workflow efficiency with all their customers and suppliers, adopting e-invoicing will have positive effects on the Australian economy at large. Large enterprise companies like BOC, have even recorded a 50% improvement in late payments after implementing e-invoicing.

Although additional benefits of e-invoicing may not be fully felt by large companies, if they continue to hold back or delay adoption, SMEs will suffer since not enough of their trading partners are on the network; hence, they have fewer options for reducing manual data entry workload.


While e-invoicing has been shown to boost business, increase cash flow, and protect against payment redirection scams, it needs support from the entire business ecosystem. Accountants are proving to be a source of friction against the adoption of e-invoicing.

Accountants may feel that their workload would be unfairly reduced if processes were streamlined through e-invoicing. This has caused some in the industry to push back; yet, increasing productivity through removing the need for manual tasks such as data entry will have a positive flow-on effect for all involved.

E-invoicing is good news for the accounting sector and is one of many digital tools to help businesses thrive. However, it is receiving far greater support from bookkeepers than accountants. Accountants must accept that digital solutions are streamlining workflow, even if it stands to gain from processes remaining complex.

Every organisation would do well to investigate e-invoicing and set their own target date for switching over. E-invoicing is the best thing to happen to the accounting process for many years. We look forward to all being able to experience its full benefits.

Robin Sands is CEO of Link4, an e-invoicing Access Point provider.