Trans-Tasman e-invoice could save $30b in 10 years

The New Zealand and Australian governments are inviting submissions on a proposed trans-Tasman e-invoicing standard, being developed as part of the Single Economic Market agenda (SEM), designed to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.

They have issued a discussion paper Early thinking: Operational governance for trans-Tasman e-Invoicing setting out details of the proposed standard and asking for submissions.

New Zealand's small business minister, Stuart Nash, said the productivity gains resulting from a common e-invoice standard could translate into economic benefits in excess of $30 billion over 10 years.

"New Zealand and Australian businesses process around 1.3 billion invoices annually, and e-invoicing aims to help them save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems," he said.

"We want to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment and e-invoicing is part of that."

Nash said feedback could be provided via the Ministry of Business Innovation web site. "We’re looking for people to give us feedback on the framework that will be used for the day to day operation of e-invoicing in Australia and New Zealand.”

The New Zealand government committed operating funding to support the e-invoicing collaboration in its 2018 budget and in May 2018, the Australian Government confirmed that work to progressively adopt e-invoicing would begin across all levels of government.

In August 2018 both governments agreed on five design principles to underly the joint e-invoice standard.

- Interoperable single digital economic market – including systems, technology, semantic models, alignment of international standards to ensure ease of trade across jurisdictions;

- Digital inclusion – to enable easy access to all businesses and digital service providers and aligned to the Digital Service Standard for both Australia and New Zealand;

- Open and responsive to change and innovation – ability to respond to changes in a dynamic environment whilst enabling innovation in broader contexts such as procure-to-pay and eDelivery/digital message exchange;

- System integrity – trusted and secure;

- Government commitment – commitment by multiple layers of governments to deliver an integrated solution across multiple jurisdictions.

The discussion paper says the preferred option for operational governance of trans-Tasman e-invoicing, after an initial establishment phase, is an industry-led, self-funded (not-for-profit), incorporated entity with a board of directors consisting of industry stakeholder representatives appointed by A-NZ industry groups and governments.

The discussion paper also offers for consideration the e-invoicing interoperability framework developed by the Australian Digital Business Council (DBC), an industry driven initiative of peak Australian industry bodies, technology providers with involvement from government agencies.

It says: "The framework aims is to provide certainty on how a prescribed set of established open standards can be used to extend e-invoicing to all Australian businesses, minimise the cost of implementation for software providers and enhance business interactions (especially for micro to small businesses) by making invoicing an automatic digital interaction."


Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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