Digital invoice processing is now up to 59% cheaper than paper invoicing

Digital invoice processing continues to get cheaper. According to an annual survey by Billentis e-invoices went down from EUR 10.90 in 2012 to only EUR 4.50 in 2016. That’s an economic gain of almost 60% in four years. At the same time, paper invoicing is still expensive.

14. September 2017 | Blog

Five years ago, there was little price difference between paper and digital invoice processes. So much has changed that digital invoicing is now less than half the cost of its paper equivalent. This tremendous price drop is made possible by new technologies, governmental regulations, and a growing worldwide acceptance. Billentis, an organization with 20 years’ experience in e-invoicing, dissects invoice pricing in four phases:

  1. Print, Envelope, Send
  2. Payment Reminders
  3. Remittance & Purchase Management
  4. Archiving

The calculating method used, leading to the full-costs conclusion, is one standard case that is not representative for every company. It is important to understand its build up before using it as proof.

In the Billentis model, full-costs per invoice are estimated on the basis of an organization with 5,000 employees, with an average hourly rate of EUR 60. Though this includes overhead and workplace costs, it is not a global average by any means.

Furthermore, the researcher notes that organizations face invoices of varying complexity, but used an average invoice of 1.5 pages in this calculation. It is important to note that, as a rule, there is a clear causality between automation of complex invoices and cost savings. Exactly how economically beneficial automated complex invoices are is difficult to research due to the extreme variety.

Lastly, processing costs per invoice paid to the supplier are estimated at EUR 0.30, keeping in mind that these costs vary by supplier and contractual agreement.


At first sight, the cost of digital invoice processing seems to be lower than ever. However, your organization is unlike any other. Just like every organization has its own processes and idiosyncrasies. The cost per processed invoice vary over time and even by department.

If you really want to know the potential cost-savings of digital invoicing within your organization, you first need to know the current price tag. Preparing, sending, processing, and archiving invoices are menial tasks that are easily automated, but without a baseline there is no clear gain.

Need help understanding the possibilities of digital invoicing? Check the Invoice Processing 2.0 white paper.

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