10 Key Challenges of E-invoicing for Global Businesses

While electronic invoicing may seem like a product of modern digital economies, it has been in use since the 1990s, starting with South America. With the primary intent to curb tax evasion and ensure proper tax collection, e-invoicing mandates are now expanding across Europe and Asia. This expansion is not without challenges for multinational companies, which must adapt their systems and processes to meet diverse regulatory requirements. What difficulties do these organizations face?

1. Regulatory complexity

Multinational corporations face serious challenges due to varying e-invoicing mandates across different regions. For instance, despite Europe's economic unity, e-invoicing regulations differ widely among EU countries, complicating compliance and international trade. This necessitates robust, adaptable e-invoicing systems and localized expertise to manage compliance effectively.

E-invoicing mandates also dictate that invoices conform to specific formats, often XSD-based, such as Polish FA(2) or Romanian RO_CIUS, which require structured files with unique identifiers such as invoice IDs for government validation. Adapting internal billing systems to these requirements is particularly challenging when integrating diverse operations such as self-billing or factoring across varied regulatory landscapes.

2. Technological integration

Integrating new e-invoicing standards into existing IT systems poses challenges, particularly when transitioning from traditional invoicing formats such as PDFs to structured data, essential for ensuring invoices meet government validation standards. Adapting to these formats can require significant changes or complete overhauls of legacy ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. Fortunately, an external e-invoicing system can act as a bridge, converting invoice formats to those required by government platforms and performing full validation of invoice data.

Adapting to e-invoicing varies by country, with each setting unique requirements and validation rules. However, the solution to these challenges are specialized e-invoicing systems that are not only flexible, but also adapted to support various security standards, levels of automation and country-specific regulations regarding electronic invoicing. The focus remains on leveraging existing technologies where feasible and adopting new solutions to stay compliant and prepared for future changes.

3. Compliance risks

Modern companies frequently face international e-invoicing challenges due to complex and constantly changing regulatory environments across different regions. These challenges extend beyond understanding diverse requirements to managing rapid regulatory shifts.

Potential repercussions of non-compliance with e-invoicing mandates include:

  • Hefty fines and penalties
  • Legal disputes
  • Damaged relationships with business partners

Addressing these issues requires a robust e-invoicing system to monitor regulatory updates, a task that is particularly demanding for international businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions.

To manage these frequent changes in e-invoicing legislation and requirements, companies must invest in technology and human resources. Integrating systems capable of handling complex e-invoicing formats, such as Comarch e-Invoicing platform, and continuously training staff are essential. 

4. Interdepartmental coordination

Interdepartmental coordination poses another set of e-invoicing challenges for international companies, stemming from the need to align various departments such as IT, finance, and operations, each with their specific priorities, workflows, and systems.

Challenges in aligning different departments include:

  • Diverse priorities and objectives: Each department interacts differently with the e-invoicing systems
  • System integration and compatibility: It's essential that departmental systems (e.g., ERPs) are compatible with the new e-invoicing solution
  • Regulatory compliance: Coordinating among departments to meet legal requirements across various regions adds complexity
  • Training and adaptation: Tailored training is necessary for each department's specific role in the e-invoicing system, requiring coordinated effort and resources

Effective communication and workflow adjustments are crucial for smooth implementation and efficient system operation post-implementation.

5. Supplier and customer adaptation

As companies move to standardized e-invoicing systems, a significant challenge is ensuring that both suppliers and customers are equipped to handle these new formats. The transition affects the entire supply chain, requiring extensive coordination and cooperation from all stakeholders.

Training and support are critical during this period. Extensive discussions about technology needs and solutions ensure that all partners, whether based in the Italy, Serbia, Poland, Germany, France or elsewhere in the world, understand and can implement the required changes. This educational outreach is crucial to minimizing disruptions and maintaining efficient operations across borders.

6. Data security and privacy

Another e-invoicing challenge is the problem of data security and privacy, particularly due to the sensitive nature of invoice data, which includes confidential financial details. This challenge is exacerbated by the involvement of multiple stakeholders and systems spread across diverse geographic and regulatory landscapes, increasing the risk of cyber threats. Moreover, global data protection laws such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, and other similar regulations add further complexity.

To address these challenges, an integrated approach that combines technical security measures with stringent regulatory e-invoicing compliance is essential. Robust strategies should include:

  • Implementing advanced encryption protocols
  • Employing secure authentication mechanisms
  • Conducting continuous data integrity monitoring
  • Appointing dedicated data protection officers
  • Providing regular employee training on data security best practices
  • Establishing clear data privacy guidelines

7. Economic and cost implications

Initially, businesses face several costs associated with deploying e-invoicing systems. These expenses include:

  • Acquisition of suitable software
  • Possible upgrades to existing IT infrastructure
  • Training employees to use the new systems

However, despite these initial costs, the investment in e-invoicing technology pays off relatively quickly. According to research and surveys by Comarch, businesses transitioning from paper-based processes to digital invoicing report an average cost reduction of 50-60%. This translates to savings of approximately $4 to $13 per invoice, which can accumulate significant annual savings, especially for companies that handle a high volume of transactions.

The return on investment for e-invoicing systems is also rapid. This quick payback period, coupled with the ongoing cost efficiencies and environmental benefits of reducing paper use, underscores e-invoicing as not only a financially sound decision but also a responsible environmental choice.

8. Cultural and language barriers

Challenges of e-invoicing also encompass cultural and language barriers for big companies operating internationally. Different regions have diverse business practices, legal standards, and invoicing requirements that must be carefully integrated into any e-invoicing system. Additionally, language differences can complicate communication, leading to potential misinterpretations and errors in financial processing.

To effectively address these challenges, companies should consider:

  • Multilingual support: Developing interfaces and documentation that support multiple languages to ensure usability across different linguistic groups
  • Local compliance integration: Collaborating with local experts to integrate local business rules and tax regulations directly into the e-invoicing system
  • Culturally tailored training and support: Providing training programs and support teams that are attuned to local practices and can assist in the relevant languages

These strategies help in smoothing operations across various countries, maintaining e-invoicing compliance, and enhancing the accuracy of financial reporting, thereby facilitating better international business management.

9. Technological reliability and support

International companies face e-invoicing challenges due to the varying maturity levels of government platforms across different countries. This inconsistency complicates compliance, especially in regions such as Europe, where e-invoicing mandates can differ significantly between countries or even within states.

Managing these challenges requires partnering with experienced vendors who understand the technological and regulatory nuances of e-invoicing systems. As the trend moves toward continuous transaction control methods with e-invoicing at its core, the importance of reliable technical support and seasoned partners increases. These resources help companies:

  • Quickly adapt to legislative changes
  • Maintain compliance
  • Manage varying e-invoicing systems efficiently

10. Scalability and system flexibility

To mitigate potential e-invoicing challenges, companies must ensure their systems are adjustable.

  • Scalability is essential because as a company expands, so does the volume and complexity of its transactions, leading to slowdowns, errors, and inefficiencies that can ripple across operations
  • System flexibility is equally important. Business environments are dynamic; a rigid system that cannot adapt to new requirements or integrate with evolving technologies can become more of a liability than an asset

To address these challenges, companies should carefully select the right e-invoicing solution. Modern, cloud-based systems are designed to accommodate dynamic business changes and can be easily tailored to meet corporate needs.

Mitigating the risk of global e-invoicing challenges

Changes are always challenging, especially when they involve fiscal laws and the operational processes of international companies. Addressing global e-invoicing challenges such as regulatory complexities, technological integration, data security, and interdepartmental coordination requires specialized solutions and meticulous planning. This ensures that the transition to e-invoicing not only complies with legal requirements but also enhances operational efficiencies and aligns with organizational goals.

Fortunately, platforms such as Comarch e-Invoicing are specifically designed to comprehensively address these challenges. Comarch's solution offers a robust framework that provides scalability and flexibility, essential for managing growing transaction volumes and adapting to evolving business environments. It also integrates seamlessly with existing technological infrastructures, thereby minimizing data security risks and enhancing both compliance and interdepartmental coordination.

Learn more about how Comarch e-Invoicing can help mitigate the risks associated with electronic invoicing. Our consultants are ready to assist you, easing the stress of the transition.



1. What are e-invoicing mandates?

E-invoicing mandates are legal requirements set by governments that require businesses to submit their invoices electronically through specified formats and systems, often directly to tax authorities or via government-approved platforms.

2. How can U.S. companies comply with e-invoicing mandates abroad?

U.S. companies conducting business in countries with e-invoicing mandates must adapt by implementing standardized e-invoicing systems that comply with local regulations and are capable of interfacing with government portals.

3. What technological upgrades are required for e-invoicing?

Successfully implementing e-invoicing involves several technological upgrades, such as integrating their e-invoicing software, ensuring cybersecurity measures, or implementing process automation.

4. What are the benefits of transitioning to e-invoicing?

Adoption of e-invoicing has multiple benefits for large companies, most importantly:

  • Reduced cost
  • Accuracy
  • Protection against fraud
  • Improved efficiency

5. How many countries have implemented e-invoicing?

It's challenging to provide an exact count of countries with e-invoicing mandates, as the situation is constantly evolving. Different countries have implemented varying systems, mandatory or voluntary, applicable to B2G, B2B, and B2C transactions.

6. How many types of e-invoices are there?

Each country that mandates e-invoices typically implements its unique type of electronic invoice. Generally, these can be categorized into three types:

  • Invoices with structured formats such as XML
  • Invoices with unstructured formats such as PDF
  • Hybrid formats

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