The European E-invoicing Service Providers Association reports a significant growth of 29% and over 1.6 billion processed e-invoices in 2016

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The European E-invoicing Service Providers Association reports a significant growth of 29% and over 1.6 billion processed e-invoices in 2016

The headline results:  1 615 million electronic invoices were processed and delivered in 2016 by members of the European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA). This represented a significant growth of 29 per cent over 2015 volumes of 1 252 million.

EESPA commissioned this fourth annual survey among its members as part of a continuing commitment to supporting the rapid market growth of e-invoicing and to play its part in monitoring take-up. The majority of invoices processed were B2B or B2G (Business-to-Business or Business-to-Government) invoices (1035 million invoices in total in 2016), although the EESPA membership also has a significant involvement in the delivery of B2C (Business-to-Consumer) invoices (580 million invoices in total in 2016).

B2B and B2G 2014 2015 2016 Increase
Direct – Electronic invoices delivered to customers 495,670,263 622,176,197 837,051,732 34.5%
Indirect – Electronic invoices delivered to other service providers destined for their customers 125,623,446 144,722,343 197,543,933 36.5%
Total 621,293,709 766,898,540 1,034,595,665 34.9%
Direct – Electronic invoices delivered to customers 238,589,671 274,238,390 269,429,038 -1.7%
Indirect – Electronic invoices delivered to other service providers destined for their customers 126,002,783 211,142,429 310,946,934 47.3%
Total 364,592,454 485,380,819 580,375,972 19.6%
Grand total 985,886,163 1,252,279,359 1,614,971,637 29%


This year for the first time we have received responses to the question contained in the Survey ‘what is the average value of an invoice processed by your firm?’. The figure derived from the relative limited range of responses was EUR 5868. On this basis, the total value of the reported invoices processed was EUR 9 477 billion.

EESPA Chair, Esa Tihilä, said ‘it is a pleasure to report the increasing buoyancy in the reported figures and to see the importance of having accurate numbers on e-invoicing adoption and exchange. We notice that these statistics are experiencing wide use. There are few systematic surveys in the market and the EESPA report complements the widely recognised Billentis annual survey’. (

Tihilä added ‘this data is essential for European authorities in tracking the success of their policy initiatives in e-invoicing, and also signifies to those who have not yet started the e-invoicing journey, the value that e-invoicing makes to cost reduction, improved efficiency, competitiveness, liquidity generation and environmental benefits. It is clear that e-invoicing service providers are a growing part of digital transformation. Reflecting our commitment to supporting the growing number of e-invoicing adopters, we encourage all our members to participate in this survey, now completed for the fourth year running’.

The survey: the results are based on a survey of individual EESPA members completed in June 2017. Members provided statistics on the basis of actual transaction volumes for the calendar year 2016 to a trusted third party who collected the individual figures on a confidential basis and calculated the aggregated volumes.

EESPA members were asked to report the volume i.e. number of e-invoices delivered by them to buyers connected to their network or service, and also volumes delivered to buyers connected to another service provider. Each member was asked to carefully identify only truly electronic invoices, irrespective of the process through which the invoice or the invoice data were collected from suppliers. The average value of an invoice was provided by a number of respondents by simply dividing the total face value of invoices processed by the number of invoices processed.

The figures represent an indication of the total footprint represented by the EESPA community in relation to the growing volumes of e-invoices now being processed at the expense of traditional paper documents. The majority of EESPA members participated in the survey. For the latest year there was a substantial increase in the number of members reporting their figures.

A number of members were not able to participate for practical and policy reasons, and the sample size is therefore affected by this as well as the incidence of members joining and leaving the association. Some adjustment to the figures were undertaken to smooth out these factors. Given our insights into the volumes processed by non-participating members the overall volumes attributable to the EESPA community would of course be appreciably larger.

How to read the survey: in 2016 the figures reveal an important growth in B2B and B2G transactions over the previous year, and the same for the B2C sector. Even after allowing for the increased participation in the survey B2B/B2G volumes grew by 18 % on a like for like basis and 16% for B2C volumes. Given that we stand on the threshold of the move to e-invoicing by EU public administrations based on the provisions of Directive 2014/55/EU, the future should bring accelerating volumes based on the critical mass that is already evident in these numbers.

The aggregated value of invoices processed by respondents to the survey, represents a significant and growing proportion of the European and global GDP. Of course, gross invoice values cannot be equated with GDP owing to the need to eliminate the multiple counting of factor inputs contained in the total value of invoices generated in an economy’s supply chain to arrive at an accurate estimate of the true ‘value-added’ represented by GDP measures. Next year the average value exercise will be expanded.

EESPA service providers are making a very significant contribution to the adoption of electronic invoicing across Europe and globally. Service provider networks and services to buyers and suppliers contribute a growing and sizeable element of total electronic invoice volume and these services are more often than not preferred to direct connections between suppliers and buyers. 

EESPA: EESPA was formed in 2011 as an international not-for-profit association. It acts as a trade association at a European level for a large and dynamic community of e-invoicing service providers, drawn from organisations that provide network, business outsourcing, financial, technology, and EDI (electronic data interchange) services. It focuses on public policy and compliance issues, the creation of an interoperable eco-system and championing the widespread adoption of e-invoicing for the benefit of economic efficiency and growth. 

For more information:
Secretary General, EESPA – Charles Bryant


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