IT Sligo provides research for Govt E-Invoicing pilot

DailPotential for savings of up to €240 million

IT Sligo is playing a leading role in an EU-approved pilot electronic invoicing project which has the potential to save both Government and business up to €240 million a year.  It is expected that the project will lead to widespread adoption of electronic invoices by public bodies and businesses throughout the country for the first time.

Minister of State in the Department of Finance Brian Hayes today launched the initiative which will involve seven Government organisations and seven IT service providers who are expected to lead the way for other State bodies and businesses all over the country.

IT Sligo computing lecturer Padraig Harte and Edmund Gray, a researcher at the Institute who is and member of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum for e-Invoicing (MSF) set up last year by the National Procurement  Service (NPS), will play a key role in the pilot project. They will   provide research support and coordination for the IT Service Providers involved. They have already developed a model for e-Invoicing in Ireland, based on an EU system called PEPPOL.

IT Sligo is providing prototypes to both Service Providers and suppliers under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr Harte said: “This project has the potential to significantly change the way business is done in Ireland – for the better.  Processing invoices electronically will result in significant savings for Government and for the Irish business community.”

Once the pilot has been completed, the results will be analysed and a report will go to Government.  Feedback from the pilot will be used to agree on an electronic invoicing strategy for Government, including a target date for which all Government organisations will accept electronic invoices.

According to Mr Gray who is the technical advisor for the pilot, the MSF has identified two key functions for the pilot – to deploy a standard electronic message format and provide an interoperable network to allow service providers ensure that electronic invoices reaches the required Government dept.

The European Commission hopes that electronic invoicing will become the predominant method of invoicing across Europe by 2020, given the potential savings, environmental benefits and predicted efficiency of replacing paper.

President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott, said that the role of IT Sligo in the project demonstrates the reach and capability of applied research in the Institute of Technology sector; “This project demonstrates the benefits that are regularly accrued through the application of applied research. Working in tandem with industry to provide practical innovations is at the core of what we do. This invoicing pilot stands to greatly enhance the competitiveness of business and efficiency in the delivery of public services.”

Potential benefits of e-Invoicing for buyers and suppliers include:

  • Reduced costs – no postage costs, low error rates and reduced staff time re-keying.
  • Less Confusion – a single standard model for all structured invoices
  • Real-time data delivery – more information delivered and processed quicker.
  • VAT compliant – new EU Directive.
  • Environmental benefits – less paper and lower carbon footprint
  • Accurate management information about purchasing, supplier and line items detail, and better stock analysis.
  • International reach – acceptable across the EU (PEPPOL) and further.

Minister Hayes has responsibility for the OPW, one of the State bodies taking part in the project. The OPW, once it receives the electronic invoices, will process them electronically, while some of the other Government bodies taking part will print the invoices and process them in the traditional manner.

You can read the Press Release from the OPW here

Image Caption: Pictured at launch of the Government E-Invoicing Pilot at Leinster House.

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