Lübeck. Small and medium-sized businesses in Germany are open to the idea of technologies that simplify invoice management. However, businesses are not using the technology’s full potential regarding automation of workflows. This is a key finding of the Invoice Management Study 2021 by software provider GetMyInvoices in cooperation with FastBill, developer of the accounting software of the same name.
In total, 76 percent of businesses stated, that they have access to accounting from anywhere. “That means, that receipts are being digitized and are available in that format,” says Björn Kahle, COO of fino, the provider of GetMyInvoices. He adds: “Businesses try to take advantage of digitization”. This is also supported by the fact that 59 percent of the companies surveyed use software that automatically collates and forwards documents, and the majority pay their invoices via online banking (66 percent) or software (17 percent). At the same time, however, the study revealed that managers still spend an unnecessary amount of time processing invoices.
The largest proportion of study participants (39 percent) need eleven to 19 hours per month to process invoices. For ten percent, the figure is as high as 20 to 50 hours. 29 percent said that this work step takes them between two and ten hours. Only 20 percent manage the tasks in less than two hours. Of these, 41 percent feel that searching for invoices, 28 percent that gathering information from receipts, and eleven percent that forwarding receipts are particularly time-consuming. Many companies have to post cash receipts – for the largest proportion (47 percent), this involves between eleven and 20 copies per month. Regarding invoices, 45 percent said they manage the bulk of documents by scanning analog invoices; 15 percent print digital invoices and file them. “That surprised us a lot,” reveals Björn Kahle, noting, “That means great potential for improvement. After all, these activities are not only time consuming, but are also highly error-prone.”
The survey confirms this error-proneness. For example, in 38 percent of the study participants, a cash register receipt occasionally cannot be found or read when it is needed. This happens frequently for 20 percent and very often for five percent. At 25 percent, receipts rank last among the missing receipts that tax consultants demand. Most often, receipts from online portals are missing (47 percent), followed by analog documents (28 percent). Overall, half of the participants have to submit receipts later.
So do breakdowns in the payment of invoices. While 39 percent of the companies surveyed pay their invoices within four days and 37 percent need five to ten days for this, 21 percent regularly miss deadlines, for example for discounts or the payment deadline, because the processes take too long. “There is clearly a need for improvement here, which can easily be covered by automating the work steps,” says Björn Kahle.
Two main reasons why this has not yet been done are that small and medium-sized enterprises often lack knowledge of appropriate solutions (32 percent) or do not have the time to deal with them (26 percent). “This is a very interesting finding for us,” concludes Moritz Wagner, Head of Sales at GetMyInvoices. “In the future, we will therefore do even more educational work on how our software supports and systematically take companies by the hand in their steps to automate invoice management.” To meet the increased demand for information, the first step has already been to increase the free online training courses. Besides, cooperation with tax consultants is to be further expanded.Back