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New Zealand Launches Digital Invoicing Initiative

Central government agencies must be able to receive invoices in an electronic format beginning 31 March 2022. This is the first step to making Business to Government (B2G) e-Invoicing mandatory in New Zealand.

The goal of this initiative is to simplify procedures and help companies handle large volumes of invoices to reduce costs. Digitising the invoicing process will help alleviate administrative processing time and combat tax fraud. The New Zealand government estimates savings of NZ $4.4 billion over 10 years using the electronic system.

There are myriad benefits of digital invoicing. Two-thirds of Aotearoan businesses agree a new way of invoicing will reduce the risk of cyber hacking, cut admin time, speed up payments and improve cash flow, according to research commissioned by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The government-commissioned research is timely. It comes at a time when eInvoicing is starting to roll out across New Zealand. At its core, eInvoicing automates and simplifies the exchange and processing of invoices. The direct exchange of invoice information between buyers’ and suppliers’ financial systems should cut processing time by half – even if these systems are different.

Mark Wierzbicki, the General Manager eInvoicing at MBIE, details that eInvoicing enables a low touch, an error-free process that the current practice of emailing a PDF or scanning a paper invoice simply can’t achieve.

“eInvoicing is the digital exchange of invoice information directly between buyers’ and suppliers’ financial systems, with no need for a PDF to be generated and no manual handling or data entry required when you receive an eInvoice.”

– Mark Wierzbicki, General Manager eInvoicing, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment

New Zealand’s eInvoicing uses using an international standard, called Peppol. By using a standard eInvoicing network, different systems should be able to talk to each other smoothly, Plus, it should guarantee secure transactions to different systems, and markets

If things go as planned, the gains from digital invoicing should be substantial. By using eInvoicing, MBIE Chief Financial Officer Stewart McRobie discloses savings could be worth billions as there are over 280 million business-to-business invoices exchanged in the country annually. Overall, that should be a big boost to businesses and the New Zealand economy.

McRobie describes digital invoicing as a smarter way to invoice that will have a multiplying effect on the economy. He explains the more businesses are eInvoice-enabled, the more they, and the economy will benefit. Moreover, the government official is confident there could be no better time to implement the digital than now. He describes the measure as a boost in these difficult COVID-19 times.

It is anticipated that by 2026, 90% of central agencies will be using electronic invoices. As per the timetable, he confirmed that half of the central government agencies will be ready by the end of March 2022, with the remaining to follow soon after. For his part, Mr Wierzbicki says that already there are more than 4,000 businesses that can receive eInvoices with more coming.

eInvoices are gaining a lot of traction these days. Australia, New Zealand’s biggest trade partner, has also mandated its own eInvoice system for all its government agencies with the target deadline set this 1 July 2022.

Digital transformation has been central to the Aotearoan government’s formula for economic success. Consistently, the administration has shown it is willing to explore emerging digital technologies to get the whole economy moving. Most recently, is the nation’s digital currency initiative. As reported on OpenGov Asia, New Zealand’s central bank has started work on creating a digital currency.

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