There are tens of thousands of companies that do business outside of their own borders. These multi-national companies are required to comply with the local legislation of the countries in which they do business. For many countries around the world, such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa and the member states of the European Union, this includes understanding and complying with Value Added Tax (VAT) or other similar indirect taxes.
By automating manual, paper based accounts payable and accounts receivable invoice processes, companies can reduce costs, improve customer relationships, take advantage of term discounts and reduce the risk of being found non-compliant with local tax legislation, along with the associated risk of fines and penalties.
In early 2010, Sterling Commerce commissioned Forrester Consulting to execute a study to determine the cost of manual and electronic invoice processes, associated errors, and VAT audits. The survey was conducted across 169 respondents in accounts payable, accounts receivable and tax management functions in enterprises with annual turnovers in the range of $250 million to $5 billion, in the United States, Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Italy. The study looked at enterprises in the manufacturing, retail/wholesale, communications/media and distributions/logistics industries.