Compliance Challenges for ”Legacy B2C” E-Commerce Solutions Moving into B2B

April 6, 2017

We are seeing a lot of vendor scope evolution on the market. Examples include EDI vendors that are developing business network-style services; another one is that platforms focused on procurement of indirect supplies are moving into strategic sourcing and vice versa.

A trend that receives less attention from analysts and specialized press is the journey that many e-commerce and associated payment platforms have started toward embracing B2B transactions.

Historically, e-commerce vendors have designed their capabilities for the generation and management of receipts and invoices for consumers. Such B2C invoices are often not, or only mildly, regulated. In most countries, significantly more complex legal (and in particular VAT) requirements apply to B2B invoices. Limitations of these consumer-focused solutions may include: incomplete invoice content, insufficient integrity and authenticity controls as well as limited legal archiving functionality.

Adding to the challenges of legal compliance, the invoicing process in terms of supported invoice formats, delivery channels and archiving (in many cases limited to web-publishing or e-mail of a PDF invoice combined with only temporary storage) are often insufficient for more demanding business users.

The compliance limitations can lead to significant VAT exposure for both merchants and their clients. In a world quickly moving to real-time tax controls, compliance shortcomings in individual invoices will also be much more visible towards authorities. In addition, the technical limitations often lead to sub-optimal automation and unnecessary costs.

It’s time the e-commerce industry took a good look at the compliance measures that B2B automation vendors have had to adopt to survive in the past decade in order to be prepared for the one to come.

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Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction controls, tax reporting and more. Sovos customers include half the Fortune 500, as well as businesses of every size operating in more than 70 countries. The company’s SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout the Americas and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates.
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