Sipping a '66 Haut Brion the other night with a good friend to celebrate a recent birth in the family and reading this story further reinforced my belief that it's a good thing that Europe still has a wonderful culture. Because with apologies to Thomas Friedman, if I could short France (and the rest of the continent for that matter), I probably would. The fact that EU countries promote paper-based invoicing because it makes it easier to collect taxes is akin to putting up toll-booths on highways in order to lower the unemployment rate (which India could probably teach France a thing or two about). According to the above linked Supply Management article, "Buyers are putting their firms and company secretaries at risk of fines or jail terms if they don't ensure e-invoices from foreign suppliers meet the vendor's local authentication regulations." Now, don't get me wrong. Governments need to collect taxes to provide basic services and there are certainly a few fat cat board members of European companies who would probably do well to spend sometime in a correctional facility. But if EU countries prosecute companies in their borders for going paperless, why not stop at fining and jailing the procurement and finance executives.
In fact, why not go after the vendors themselves? Heck, the Xigns and Aribas of the world are just as guilty, given this line of thinking. And doesn't SAP deserve the guillotine as well for offering an adapter that enables other providers to easily integrate with its stack and applications? The fact that companies would ever consider EIPP is horrible in and of itself. Think of all the A/P clerks who could be sacked because they're not needed anymore. What about them? The horror, the injustice! I could keep going for hours, but I've got to respond to an urgent email from Brussels offering me a six figure job to work 15.5 hours a week in their ministry of propaganda, spinning yarns like this. Gotta run, the EU taxman is calling, and the package looks fat! Le socialisme en vie long!