Singapore has indicated that the concept of having a nationwide, interoperable e-invoicing framework is gaining momentum. The announcement by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information (MCI) revealed that e-invoicing is a crucial step forward for Singapore’s businesses. Among other things, he said that “Without an invoice, businesses do not get paid. But invoicing can be very tedious and manual, with many inherent errors. E-invoicing can change that.”
What system is currently in place?
Since May 2008, Singapore has enforced e-invoicing for suppliers of government agencies (B2G). The introduction of mandated e-invoicing has been very successful in reducing the costs of processing governmental supplier invoices, as well as increasing the handling speed and accuracy. However, at present business-to-business (B2B) invoicing has multiple fragmented standards in operation with no mandate in place.
This may soon to change as the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), which oversees the development and regulation of info-communications in Singapore, will be co-operating with industry partners, government agencies and Singapore Business Federation to examine the various standards of e-invoicing that are currently implemented around the world.
The authority has indicated that the quintessential standard should fit both Singapore’s domestic requirements while having an international outlook. We anticipate that the IMDA will provide more details later this year.
From industry sources, PEPPOL is being considered as a very likely infrastructure and format to be implemented in Singapore. Pagero is closely following the developments of Singapore’s plan to develop e-invoicing and will continue to publish updates as their implementation plan is revealed.
What this means for Singapore’s businesses
Businesses in Singapore will need to prepare their systems to send and receive e-invoices in a structured format such as XML. A structured format is different from digitised invoices like PDF, Word, and scanned paper invoices, as it allows machines to automatically read the data into ERP and accounting software without the need for human interaction.
Potential benefits include:
- Faster payment cycles via improved integrity and authenticity of invoices
- Operating costs reduction
- Speeding up business transactions
- Minimising disputes and error reduction
More information can be found on the Ministry of Communications and Information’s factsheet
Pagero is following Singapore’s developments closely. We will stand ready to support businesses of any size. Our platform already provides connectivity with many of the most common standards adopted around the world including PEPPOL. The solutions offered by Pagero support both domestic and cross-border e-document exchange regardless of the software you use, the processes you apply or the size of your company. We help our customers maintain compliance around the globe.