EESPA Survey: e-Invoicing Shows Strong Growth of 23% in Europe

September 20, 2018

Over 1.9 billion e-invoices were processed by European e-invoice service providers last year. This means e-invoicing is showing strong growth of 23% compared to the previous year.

ESPA survey

E-invoicing in Europe continues to grow significantly. The European E-invoicing Service Providers Association EESPA reports that over 1.9 billion e-invoices were processed by its members last year.

Compared to the e-invoicing volumes of the previous year, this means a substantial increase of 23% in total in business-to-business (B2B), business-to-government (B2G), and business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic invoices.

“The volume survey shows a continued, solid growth for e-invoicing in Europe. We are definitely heading in the right direction, and the survey results reflect the ongoing transition to e-invoicing and electronic invoice processes in both large companies and governmental organizations,” comments Ahti Allikas, Head of Partners and Networks at OpusCapita and a member of the executive committee of EESPA.

Market changes will accelerate growth

In 2017, EESPA members delivered 1265 million B2B and B2G e-invoices, and 719 million B2C invoices in total. The survey estimates that the total value of the electronic invoices processed was EUR 4,6 trillion. This is the fifth annual survey that EESPA has conducted to monitor the growth and the take-up of e-invoicing in Europe.

EESPA e-invoicing volume survey

“Over the years, the growth has been steady. But an even more substantial growth is just around the corner. E-invoicing is currently a hot topic around Europe, and especially the developments in the B2G market will accelerate the adoption of e-invoicing,” Ahti Allikas says.

European public sector will move to e-invoicing as the European directive 2014/55/EU will take effect in April 2019 and obligate public sector organization to receive e-invoices if suppliers send them according to the European standard.

“In some countries, the public sector has mandated e-invoicing already, and some countries are planning to do so now. Italy has taken a step further and decided to make e-invoicing mandatory for all companies, both in B2G and B2B trade. I believe this will soon be on the agenda in many European countries. After the readiness for e-invoicing is built, the next logical step is to demand e-invoices from suppliers to make most out of the investments,” Allikas says.

Interoperability on the rise

According to the volume survey, most of the e-invoices in B2B and B2G trade are still delivered in closed arrangements, where suppliers and buyers use the same e-invoicing service provider, the so-called three-corner model.

“Although the volume of e-invoices delivered through these direct connections is still considerably higher than the volume of indirect e-invoices, there is an over 36% increase in indirect traffic. This means that more and more e-invoices are delivered through interoperable connections between service providers rather than in closed networks,” Ahti Allikas points out.

“This trend is to be welcomed, as interoperability and common exchangeability are the keys to the widespread adoption of e-invoicing, and particularly important for supplier activation. It needs to be easy for any company, regardless of size, industry or country, to join e-invoicing. EESPA is for one actively working for interoperability in e-invoicing, and as the operator of one of the biggest e-invoicing networks in the world OpusCapita is also able to participate and contribute to the development.”

Stay up-to-date on the latest developments and discussions in e-invoicing. Subscribe to our Monthly e-Invoicing News and you will have fresh topics on e-invoicing delivered to your inbox.

Do you need to get up to speed on what is happening in European e-invoicing? Watch a recording of our webinar where we took a deep dive on the new EU directive on e-invoicing.