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Who’s More Efficient: You or the Federal Government?

Uncle Sam_blogpost_8.20.2015

With the red tape and bureaucratic processes that mire the federal government, it’s safe to say that most businesses believe they operate more efficiently – and they’re probably right. But the feds dropped a hammer last week to improve one area in which the private sector is still woefully behind – the electronic processing of invoices.

The United States government processes over 19 million invoices each year, but only 40% are processed with electronic invoices. The remaining balance uses a mix of manual and electronic processes, according to a July 17 memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The memo, titled “Improving Government Efficiency and Saving Taxpayer Dollars Through Electronic Invoicing,” outlines efforts by the Obama administration to mandate electronic invoicing among all federal agencies by the end of FY2018. As the memo and other media coverage note, the move will increase efficiency, transparency, and cost-savings, and can reduce the use of tax dollars for late payment fees. Taxpayers will save money and more resources will be available to support critical agency missions

Electronic invoicing can have enormous benefits for businesses too. It’s exciting that top U.S. officials understand these benefits, and are keen to begin the transition. Turning a ship the size of the federal government to adopt new technology is no easy task, but at least this is a first step in the right direction. If the government believes all federal agencies can move to electronic invoicing by 2018, surely it’s doable for the private sector, too!!

While we have a long way to go to improve our B2B payments processes, it’s heartening to see the government leading by example, and understanding the benefits of accounts payable automation and electronic invoicing technologies. Who will be first to realize the efficiencies of electronic processing and payments – you, or Uncle Sam?

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