From accountancy, to e-accountancy, to lion taming

Electronic business has many levels. No surprise then that e-business (or e-commerce if you prefer) is served by e-accounting, which itself comprises of e-payments and (before that) e-invoicing… and every other level of e-accounting if you have the stomach for an endless stream of new-age e- prefixes.

One such vendor operating in this space is Tradeshift. The company’s e-invoicing platform has this week announced its “Real Supplier Choice Movement”, an initiative which has been engineered to bring new openness to the heady world of e-invoicing.

Why, what’s the problem?

Tradeshift contends that we need to, “Stand up against the business models of e-invoicing companies such as Ariba and OB10 which charge expensive fees to submit invoices through their systems.”

As such, Tradeshift’s business model allows suppliers to submit unlimited e-invoices for free. Umm, apart from when those suppliers are in fact big businesses… who still need bespoke deployments in with additional and incremental commercially charged for services.

NOTE: In fairness, this is because Tradeshift has to refactor those businesses’ entire supply chain infrastructure so they are doing all their business through the company and this is said to be “no small task” to bring about.

But hey that’s OK, the traditional open source model accommodates perfectly for “charged for” enterprise level services, right?

… and regardless, says the company, this model still benefits buyers as well who see much higher supplier adoption rates on the Tradeshift Network.

Behold — the e-invoicing evolution/revolution cometh!

Tradeshift CEO Christian Lanng has explained what the campaign is all about. “We are very excited to be bringing Real Supplier Choice to the e-invoicing sphere. We haven’t seen much evolution over the years when we look at e-invoicing business models.”

“Suppliers have been getting the short end of the stick and footing the bill for everyone for a long time. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can provide invoicing and networking solutions that provide value to everyone – on either side of the transaction. Listening to suppliers is long overdue, and listening to suppliers’ needs will ultimately benefit their customers as well. It’s truly a win-win,” said Lanng.

NOTE: The Real Supplier Choice campaign is described as a grassroots movement designed to elevate the voice of small business and suppliers. The goal is to learn exactly what hardships suppliers experience from being forced to use large, corporate EDI systems and expensive electronic invoicing platforms such as Ariba and OB10, to submit their invoices.

The bigger picture here is something in fact something that Tradeshift is calling “network-powered business” more than e-accounting; since once the network is built out, it can actually be used for anything, not limited to accounting.

Of course, it’s a bit of jump isn’t it? Traditional e-accountancy into new world open source e-accounting all in one go. That’s rather like jumping from traditional accountancy to lion taming in one brave move surely?

Well perhaps no, the days of Monty Pyhton’s chartered accountants have (arguably) passed us by now and e-invoicing in the open model was meant to be, right?