Let E-Invoicing Kill the Post Office and Save the Environment: Exploring Billentis’ 2015 E-Invoicing Report

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Billentis’ 2015 e-invoicing report features a rather curious observation that, depending on the country, “16% to 30% of the total (addressed) letter volume” comes from invoices and bills. And this number can reach “up to 50% in less industrialized countries.”

No doubt, with e-invoicing, the opportunity to change, by an order of magnitude, the amount of mail delivered through the postal service is truly massive indeed. And this holds true across economic cycles. As Bruno Koch, founder of Billentis, reports, “Several service providers processing invoices (paper and electronic) confirmed to the author that economic cycles do not have a noticeable impact on the invoice volume.”

In industrialized nations, there are hundreds of thousands of public sector employees involved in carrying and delivering mail, let alone the back office support required to support such efforts. Curiously, traditional “green” or corporate social responsibility (CSR) calculations examining the benefits of e-invoicing tend to focus only on the individual environmental savings of e-invoice delivery. But what about the back office savings and costs? What about reduced need to purchase equipment, such as sorting equipment and delivery vehicles, in the first place? What about the environmental toll of postal workers commuting to the office?

If the volume of mail can be reduced by even 20% by 2025 because of e-invoicing efforts, the payoff could be significant, especially for countries that could reduce headcount in their postal operations, a material driver of the overall carbon footprint of mail delivery. Moreover, as general invoice volume increases due to, as Koch notes, an increase of the population, the number of households and enterprises and other sources, the results will be magnified further.

So unless you want an expensive and environmentally costly jobs program in your country in the form of the national postal service, get behind e-invoicing – and give unnecessary postal labor costs, equipment purchases and environmental damage the boot.

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