As the SaaS accounting world matures a number of us have thought about how we send electronic invoices to each other. It’s kinda crazy that you take an invoice out of an accounting application, flatten it into a pdf, and then someone has to retype it in to their accounting application.
We imagine a world where invoices and other business documents just appear in your accounting system. No retyping, no errors. Major time saved.
We already have Xero to Xero transactions but it would be great to send invoices to any system.
It’s not just small business to small business. Having small businesses using online systems makes it viable for large businesses (like Telco’s and Electricity companies) to produce electronic invoices that small businesses can now receive. That saves big business a lot of money.
One of the building blocks of business to business data interchange is to come up with an standard format.
Fortunately, other people with large brains have already done a lot of this work in the OASIS Universal Business Language specification.
Practically though, this is a big specification with lots of business documents. It’s hard to get your head around it. And we really just need a simple subset to get started. We could start again, but that would mean reinventing the wheel.
So what we’ve done is create an industry website for vendors to navigate through the UBL specification, starting with invoices, and to collaboratively define the minimum invoicing standard we should support.
You can check this out at SimpleUBL.org.
Please let us know what you think, if this is useful and what we should do next.