What Does ‘Paperless’ Mean? Much More Than the End of Paper
Paperless business is here to stay. It represents the dematerialization and digitalization of organizations in both the public and private sectors. Digitalization is a major factor for competitivity, efficiency and productivity. It is no longer just an option for businesses, but a necessity.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Eliminating the use of paper is, first and foremost, an important factor for environmental sustainability. It also minimizes the printing and storage costs of paper documents. Operationally, the digital transformation of companies improves their efficiency and reduces costs in the following ways:
- Error reduction thanks to process automation.
- Reduced processing times.
- Increased security and confidentiality of business operations.
When we speak of paperless, or digital transformation, we are referring to the implementation of technologies like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). EDI allows for the exchange of documents that are standardized and agreed upon between trading partners at either end of a transaction. Using a common language, different IT systems interact with one another, automating document integration into firms’ internal management systems, or ERPs.
EDI applications are quite diverse, and their benefits increase exponentially the more trading partners are involved in an electronic commercial transaction (clients, providers, logistics providers, etc.).
Applications of EDI Solutions
- Automated, integrated systems. EDI automates the generation, delivery, and traceability of electronic transactions using any ERP. Orders, shipping notes, invoices, inventory reports, price catalogs, and other documents are processed without human intervention.
- Electronic invoicing. E-Invoicing is a key part of the digital transformation of businesses. It has expanded globally due to government regulations mandating e-invoicing between private companies and public administrations (B2G). However, given the multitude of operational benefits it supposes (efficiency, cost reduction, process automation, error elimination, time savings), e-invoicing is also used in B2B operations. Increasingly, large companies are requiring it of their suppliers.
- Fiscal and tax compliance. Public administrations worldwide require businesses to declare certain financial documents electronically. EDI solutions automate the generation of these documents and their declaration to the relevant authorities. This process allows firms to comply with the ever-changing requirements without heavily impacting their business operations.
The Public Sector Push Toward Digitalization
Public administrations have played an important role in the digitalization of companies. One example is the implementation of electronic invoicing in European Union public procurement. EU Directive 2014/55/EU requires Member States to establish electronic invoicing systems based on a common European standard. Another example is electronic taxation, which is widely used in Latin America. It increases the traceability of the declaration process to prevent tax evasion. This has led to legislation imposing electronic data exchange in the B2G sphere and has encouraged a leap to the B2B sphere.
The impact of digital transformation has evolved at different rates according to sector, with the logistics and retail sectors being the most advanced. The impulse to go digital is driven by the need to be more competitive in a globalized market.
Starting a digitalization process requires planning, strategizing and a change of mentality within a business to migrate to a different operational model. For this reason, it is important to seek the advice and consultancy of a company that specializes in the process.
One of the main advantages of EDI solutions is their scalability. EDICOM develops B2B communications projects tailored to each client, depending on their current situation and their present and future needs. Since the technological infrastructure is hosted on the supplier’s cloud servers, the benefits offered by EDI complement one another and can be adapted or expanded, as necessary.
Initiating a digitalization project is often spurred by a legal requirement, like electronic invoicing as a supplier to the public administration or tax compliance. The EDI solution can be expanded to include other commercial transactions in phases.
EDICOM, a global provider of EDI solutions, specializes in consultancy and implementation of digitalization projects for multinational companies from different sectors. EDICOM's EDI solutions have enabled thousands of companies to optimize the commercial and operational processes, ultimately increasing profitability.
EDICOM has developed global e-invoicing solutions that operate in multinational environments for all types of companies. It is even possible to send electronic invoices to customers that do not have a technological solution for their reception.
The EDICOM Global VAT Platform is a B2B2G electronic communications platform with EDI capabilities that automates declarations to tax authorities. It can be adapted to comply with various local tax systems worldwide.
EDICOMLta (EDICOM Long Term Archiving) is a platform for certified electronic storage. Dematerialization is a process intrinsic to digitalization. Electronic documents must be stored securely, and their authenticity guaranteed, so that the electronic document has the same legal validity as a physical document. In many cases, electronic storage is subject to legal requirements that vary from country to country. The EDICOM solution adapts to comply with these requirements.
*The contents of this publication belong solely to EDICOM GROUP and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.