SME invoices go digital; small businesses have yet to catch up

  • June 21, 2019
878 492 eNet

Digital solutions are gaining ground in the invoicing practices of Hungarian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Printed invoice booklets still rule the market, but four out of 10 SMEs already issue digital invoices generated by a dedicated software. In fact, digital invoices have already overtaken their hand-written counterparts among companies (as opposed to individual entrepreneurs). eNET and the online invoicing service provider Szamlazz.hu have examined the current status of Hungary’s invoicing market.

Over 60% of companies already use digital invoicing solutions

According to joint research conducted by eNET and the online invoicing service provider Szamlazz.hu in March and April 2019, invoicing softwares are still used less frequently in Hungary’s SME sector (micro, small and medium-sized companies employing fewer than 250 people) than conventional, handwritten invoices; 64% of these businesses write their invoices in ink, while 44% use invoicing software. (And 8% use both solutions.) Manual invoicing has maintained its position primarily among the smallest businesses, the individual entrepreneurs, 80% of whom use solely this method. A mere fifth of them have adopted digital invoicing.

Within the SME sector, it’s companies that have embraced digital invoicing solutions. As much as 66% of them already generate their invoices electronically, and only 40% have kept their printed invoice booklets. Among these firms, digital solutions now clearly outweigh conventional, hand-written invoicing.

Regarding digital solutions, most Hungarian SMEs prefer online invoice generators. Twice as many businesses have opted for cloud-based invoicing systems compared to the number of SMEs using locally installed softwares.

Businesses want simple and reliable invoice generator

The research results indicate that businesses choose an invoicing service based on the following aspects: ease of use, speed, market penetration and user judgement of the specific solution. Another crucial feature is the cloud-based system, so that clients can issue their invoices wherever they are, provided that they have access to the internet. Some businesses have transitioned to online invoicing specifically because of the online reporting obligation stipulated by the tax authority from July 2018. Those who already use an online invoicing service are mostly satisfied with it. Besides, they can enjoy the advantage of their solutions as they meet the relevant legal regulations and the tax authority’s requirements, i.e. they don’t have to monitor and adjust to changing regulations.

Among the invoicing softwares, the cloud-based service of Szamlazz.hu is one of the best-known solutions. Research by eNET indicates that six out of 10 SMEs have heard about that particular service. Szamlazz.hu is also one of the most widely used solutions in the Hungarian market.

Even the smallest businesses benefit from digital transformation

Overall, the compulsory online reporting introduced by the tax authority in 2018 has speeded up the digitalisation of invoicing in Hungary. As things stand now, the online invoicing service providers have profited the most of the development, and especially those who offer simple, fast and reliable operation in full compliance with the legislative changes. If the continued digital transformation of the SME sector is to be promoted, the smallest businesses (i.e. mostly individual entrepreneurs) should be supported in adopting digital solutions that render their everyday operations easier and more efficient.

eNET Internet Research and Consulting Ltd

About the research: eNET has interviewed 792 micro, small and medium-sized businesses by phone, in March and April 2019. The results are representative of Hungary’s micro, small and medium-sized business sector in terms of size, sector, region and operational structure.

The research has been commissioned by the online invoicing service provider Számlázz.hu.