Revealing the advantages of green invoicing: How going digital is changing how Southeast Asia does business

This year we’ve been working on an interesting series of thought leadership pieces about everything from green policies to complex financial regulation.

A series of three whitepapers, all attaining subject matter experts, uncovering topics on a global scale. The first of the three-part series, “Moving the world towards green invoicing: Revealing the advantages of electronic invoicing”, highlights some of the myths and facts around electronic invoicing.

To read this, click here and download!

For this white paper, we held four interviews to find out what difficulties and challenges the company faced in the U.K., North America, South-East Asia and India implementing electronic invoicing. We also look at some of the advantages, both in terms of cost-savings and benefits to the environment as a whole.

The third interview was focused on South East Asia, where we spoke to Peter Burton, Sales Division Manager. Peter has worked with thousands of clients in Southeast Asia and has seen how digital invoicing is gradually taking shape in a developing country like the Philippines.

In Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines the main issue is government compliance. Businesses must retain hard copy accounting documents, including invoices, for a long period. As a result, it makes it more difficult to push for electronic invoicing. Peter explained, in the Philippines we have over 300 accounts and only a handful of those are currently opting for electronic invoicing. We don’t issue electronic invoices to our other 290 clients. A lot of people want to get rid of paper but because of compliance they can’t. It’s ultimately down to government policy. Ever since the Bureau of Revenue was set up in the Philippines, the government has required companies to keep accounting documents for at least ten years.

However, there is change in the air but it’s not going to happen quickly. Regulations were altered in 2014 so hard copies only need to be kept for five years. That’s the first step. The Philippines is some way off. It’s not in the Congress or Senate for discussion. Once it does come up, customers will want to talk (about electronic invoicing). Singapore and Malaysia are more advanced when it comes to accepting digital copies. Nonetheless, many countries in Southeast Asia have similar regulations.

Overall, the initiative for electronic invoicing in the Philippines is restricted by government compliance rules – like many other countries in Asia. Although there is little to be optimistic about, regulations were altered not too long ago, more changes could see an improvement.

To read the white paper in full, click here.