Brussels (Belgium), Jan. 27, 2012 /E-Invoicing Newswire via Spend Matters/ -- Regulators in the European Union and Member Countries passed legislation, officially published in the 7 January 2012 Council of the European Union Summary of Monthly Acts that includes updated requirements for electronic invoicing (also referred to as "e-invoicing") providers serving public and private sector organizations within member countries. Act 2012/421/EU represents Council Decision of 4 January 2012 to regulate e-invoicing transaction tariffs at a nominal value per invoice. Act 2012/422/EU (4 January 2012) regulates the purchase (acquisition) price of network operators and providers.
"With the common currency in decline, we felt it important for Member Countries to a do a service to their constituents that could spur economic activity by reducing the costs of commerce. Given the positive force that EU regulation has brought to enhance the overall competitiveness of EU member countries in the past decade, it is a logical extension to regulate the pricing of transactions for commerce inside and in between member states," said Jacques Blanc, Commissioner of Commerce.
Council Decision summaries for Act 2012/421/EU and Act 2012/422/EU follow:
2012/421/EU: Council Decision of 4 January 2012 on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Member Countries to Article MCMXC and Article MMMMCMXCIX of the General Agreement on Invoicing and Trade (INTT) 2007 relating to the modification of concessions in the schedules pertaining to aforementioned legislation hereby defines standard pricing for e-invoicing tariffs of 27.65 euro (€) cent per invoice for e-invoices delivered within the European Community. Fines of up to €2 per invoice will be assessed against network providers for violating this threshold.
2012/422/EU: Council Decision of 4 January 2012 limits the transacting multiple in the event of change of control of e-invoice network providers/operators to be limited to not more than either 2X revenue (prior year) or 2X EV (enterprise value).
Council unanimously approved these measures. According to one senior "Eurocrat" who refused to be named, "Member States and their representatives enthusiastically supported both pieces of legislation. We arrived at the 27.65 euro (€) cent number by examining the cost to deliver a paper invoice via post, assigning a fixed percentage against this sum for electronic delivery, considering redundancy and pension-related costs for fewer post workers and hereto factoring in reasonable profit assumptions for 'web-based' operators," ultimately arriving at this price.
He continues: "In analyzing companies charging organizations a percentage of invoice value which could result in individual e-invoice transmission costing €20 or more, we realized the threat to commerce and business vitality within the EU. E-invoicing sums at levels approximating postal services (e.g., €1 per invoice) were also deemed to be a barrier to commerce...Moreover, recent acquisitions of network operators have raised valuations of these organizations to such a level that price increases, based upon current schedules, for companies are inevitable, which led to the creation of the second act."
Spend Matters, an online research journal covering the e-invoicing market, suggested ulterior motives might have factored into this decision. "The combination of the decline of the Euro relative to the dollar as well as the valuation advantage that US technology/invoicing providers have over their European counterparts traded on European exchanges forced the hand of regulators to create legislation that would favor European businesses and reduce the cost of business-to-business commerce activity within the EU." In addition, the site suggests, "buried deep in Act 2012/421/EU is a provision that exempts companies transacting in the forthcoming drachmas, escudos and pesetas reissuances from the new regulations."
Jean-Pierre Philistine, Communications Director General, European Commission - (32) 2 MMMMCMXCIX
A note/disclosure from our highly paid lawyers in Brussels: this is satire.