In a joint submission to the Treasury regarding the mandatory adoption of electronic invoicing by business, CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) voice their opposition to the proposal.
Instead, both accounting bodies recommended the adoption of non-regulatory approaches, such as incentives, to encourage adoption, especially by small business.
CPA Australia and CA ANZ said major barriers to potential adoption include many businesses remaining focused on business survival and recovery due to COVID-19 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, making e-invoicing a low priority.
They also noted that businesses that do not send or receive large volumes of invoices may only see marginal benefits to adopting e-invoicing, particularly those whose customers are predominantly individual consumers.
Further, CPA Australia and CA ANZ also noted concerns about the timing of the government consultation.
“COVID-19 has significantly impacted businesses, with many trying to protect their day-to-day solvency while meeting their obligations as employers,” the letter said.
“Giving due consideration to possible additional mandatory requirements is an unnecessary distraction for many businesses during this time.”
Instead, the accounting bodies suggested the government consider incentives such as Singapore’s E-Invoicing Registration Grant.
Under the scheme, eligible businesses are given S$200 (A$195) upon adopting a solution that meets required invoicing standards.
Further, Singapore has also introduced a Digital Resilience Bonus for businesses in the food services and retail sectors by providing bonus payments of up to S$10,000 (A$9,750) for eligible businesses that adopt Singapore’s e-invoicing solution and other digital solutions.
Another option proposed by CPA Australia and CA ANZ is to incentivise adoption by including the Commonwealth government procurement payment incentive that requires agencies to pay supplier e-invoices within five days.