New research from iGov commissioned by Basware* has found that almost three-quarters (72%) of public sector organisations are still printing and scanning PDF invoices – an inefficient and resource heavy method of invoicing. Instead of adopting new methods for dealing with their invoices, over half (54%) of public sector professionals admitted to scanning paper invoices for over a third of their total invoices.

In the survey of over 100 public sector professionals, nearly two thirds (64 %) of respondents acknowledged e-invoicing for providing a cost-effective way of increasing efficiency and improving invoice processing time (61%). However, a third (32%) cited the cost of e-invoicing as a significant obstacle to sector implementation. At the same time, the top invoicing challenges predicted for the year ahead are seen as cost reduction and the time spent by staff issuing, transmitting and receiving invoices.

Many organisations are considering investment in e-invoicing between now and the end of 2017. Over a third (37%) want to invest in receiving e-invoices, whilst a further quarter (27%) plan to spend on Accounts Payable automation and funding e-procurement (26%).

“This research has revealed just how slow the public sector has been to adopt e-invoicing. Last year, it looked like the industry was preparing for paperless systems but in reality they are still a long way off. Many participants of the survey said that there is a belief within their organisations that current processes are working well enough, yet this is based on adding costs into the process. This highlights a lack of understanding on the benefits of e-invoicing at the top level” said Stephen Carter, Director of Network Services, at Basware.

He concluded: “More needs to be done to educate the public sector on the benefits offered by managing PDFs and other invoices more efficiently. Our expertise and knowledge makes this transformation a quick, simple and cost effective step. Therefore, in order to make real change, there needs be a shift in focus and an understanding that costs will only increase if current the approach continues. We need to make this happen as the impact on our economy could be huge.”

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