Companies on their way into a seamless digital future
Digitalization brings with it numerous innovations, which are especially noticeable in payment transactions. Wide-ranging changes and innovative developments mean that payments are being processed in new ways, but present companies with the challenge of incorporating new concepts into their business processes. The pressure from outside, i.e. from the authorities, to promote this digitalization is enormous and manifests in strict instructions to implement new standards and specifications, and not just on a national level. Such a global mindset is necessary because simplified processes and standardized procedures are essential in the international economy. Implemented in part, but for the most part still in the planning stage, are mandatory innovations that companies need to address now.
Switzerland is taking on a pioneering role in digital payments, justified by the country's extremely high invoice volume and the resulting requirements for efficient processes. The first step out of the analog world in 2019 was the introduction of the QR bill, a further development of the Swiss payment slip that contains all relevant information in encrypted form and thus represents a simple, secure, uniform and valid method of payment. The next step in closing the entire value chain from invoice creation to payment is the e-bill. This allows invoices to be received, verified and paid online via the bank account. This provides companies with an extreme simplification of processes, but requires structural changes in their systems. Based on XML technology, data can be transferred in a structured manner and thus the entire credit and debit payment transactions can be processed in digital form. Adaptations and additions to ERP and other financially relevant systems are necessary to fully map the O2C (Order to Cash) and P2P (Procure to Pay) processes and to take advantage of a media-independent approach.
EN 16931 marks another milestone in terms of end-to-end digitalization. Developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and adopted by the EU in 2017, this standard includes a semantic data model for electronic invoices. In Germany, this mandatory requirement is implemented through the XRechnung format - an electronic invoice delivery service for federal public sector customers. Although currently only mandatory for the public sector, companies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of a standardized electronic invoice for comprehensive payment transactions and are using it in their processes.
The ViDA (VAT in the Digital Age) initiative of the EU Commission represents another building block of digitalization. The proposal, which was published in December 2022, includes facilitations in the cross-border movement of goods and services within the EU as well as digital reporting requirements and e-invoices. These changes affect all companies across all industries, which involves long-term and conceptual planning for implementation in ERP systems as well as all processes along the supply chains.
The seamless digital future is becoming a reality, that's for sure. But the path to this new world is fraught with extreme effort, especially for companies. The benefits of digital, unified, harmonious and valid processes are more than known and are already being implemented today, as these approaches create positive momentum for business profitability, society and the environment. Support in this complex world, which includes legal basics, knowledge of business solutions and expertise in multi-layered process landscapes, is required. PROMATIS, specialist for business excellence and with experience in international financial business, is available as a competent partner with proven and established concepts.
Author: Sabine Rudolf
Image: © monsitj / istockphoto.com