Reimagining Invoices For The 2020s

Gunjan Tripathi explains why you need to forget everything you know about invoices and start again.

How to Conduct a Reverse Sales Tax Audit

Invoices, or a form of invoice, have been used as a means to record trade for thousands of years. The first known ‘invoice’ dates back to 2,900 BC. Written in the ancient language Cuneiform, Sumerian temple priests are thought to have kept track of agricultural produce bought and sold, with simple drawings created to show the items that needed to be kept in their records. And up until very recently, any invoice produced or received by businesses has followed the same lead in that they have been ‘visual’ – a human has been able to look at it and understand it. This is now changing as the need for visual invoices starts to decrease. As a result, tax teams everywhere need to forget everything they know about invoices and instead look to the future.

Progression of the humble invoice

Invoices are, arguably, the backbone of the business world. A business cannot operate if it does not receive funds in exchange for the goods or services it provides, and is unable to record its revenue accurately or comply with tax authorities without an invoice. Yet, despite the rapid digitalisation of the finance function over the past 30 years, invoices have remained relatively unchanged. Yes, digitalised, but the format essentially has not been updated for decades.

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