The government is pushing for all parties in the supply chain to use electronic invoicing for public sector contracts.

In a report out this month, titled Information Economy Strategy, the government explained that at the moment it will consider einvoicing to be a best practice approach, but will not yet mandate that all suppliers must use it.

It suggests that einvoicing is the way forward in the procurement sector, and given the time and financial savings available, the government does not want to be left behind.

"We need concerted joint action from government, industry and academia, working in partnership towards the success of the sector, and ensuring that the benefits are felt across the rest of the economy," the report outlined.

"Our aim is for central government to use electronic invoicing for all transactions. Some local authorities and NHS trusts are already using e-invoicing, and have realised significant efficiency savings as a result."

Electronic invoicing creates savings in procurement in a number of ways. Not only does it cut the paper trail – reducing money spent on printing – but it also increases transparency which ensures organisations have the visibility to identify problems and make improvements. Finally, it cuts the cost and time associated with administration of invoicing, as all documents are already collated in a single place, reducing the risk of human error.

Improvements across such a wide range of areas make einvoicing something that would benefit small businesses particularly, as they often face greater pressure on margins.

However, the government report stresses that for small and medium businesses to make the most of einvoicing, these systems have to be simple to install, easy to use and without a prohibitive price tag. For this, the government is urging einvoicing providers to improve interoperability and accessibility of einvoicing for SMEs.

The government report also outlined the G-Cloud programme, which aims make the tender and procurement process simpler and more transparent. Since its launch, G-cloud has made government contracts more accessible to small businesses, which now account for 60 per cent of G-Cloud sales so far.

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