The discussion paper, “Early thinking: Operational governance for trans-Tasman e-Invoicing”, stems from both governments committing to a process called the Single Economic Market agenda (SEM), designed to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.
The intention is to establish an independent, fair and equitable governance structure for trans-Tasman e-Invoicing.
“The introduction of this common e-Invoicing approach will make it faster and easier for businesses on both sides of the Tasman to interact and transact with each other, and with government,” the paper said.
“This means that, in future, we will see A-NZ businesses being digitally enabled and directly transacting with one another in an efficient, automated and standardised way.
“This will improve productivity, reduce instances of fraud, improve data quality, and enrich interactions between businesses when dealing with each other, and with government.”
Where we are now
In May this year, the Australian government announced it will work to progressively adopt e-Invoicing across all levels of government, citing research from Deloitte Access Economics that showed that e-Invoicing could result in economy-wide benefits of up to $28 billion over 10 years.
According to the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers executive chair, Matthew Addison, work being done the e-Invoicing framework and the delivery arrangements are progressing, with the industry waiting on the Digital Capability Locator (DCL), a centralised lookup facility of “digital addresses” facilitating the delivery of e-Invoices to businesses.
“What we are waiting for is the government’s delivery of the DCL which is in testing mode at the moment and that is due for a beta release very shortly and production in the first quarter next year,” said Mr Addison.
“The discussion paper is a great step forward in trying to bring the governance and accreditation part of the e-Invoicing framework to conclusion. These discussions have been on the table for a number of years, we’re now in a position of getting the government and the industry to agree on who should govern which bits of an e-Invoicing infrastructure.”
What’s in it for accountants and bookkeepers?
Mr Addison believes that with the government already supporting the use of e-Invoicing, accountants and bookkeepers should start preparing for a “total move” to a digitised business process.
“It’s improved business process, improved use of accounting software or invoicing apps so that the information can be transferred more efficiently, and we can have better business processes in place so accountants and bookkeepers should be encouraging their clients to have a digitised business process and it will help enable more accurate data processing rather than having manual intervention,” he said.
“There are already solutions that businesses can put in place to automate the invoicing process both on issuing and receiving, the next phase of a total digital journey is the e-Invoicing framework so accountants and bookkeepers should be implementing the invoice issuing and invoice receiving technology that exists today.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.