Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. Dext provided some insights into the pressures accounting tasks impose on SMEs. Other research came from Billtrust, CIPHR, Qlik, SDWorx, VinciWorks, Workiva, Wrike and Xero.


Billtrust released its first annual E-Invoicing Interoperability and Compliance Report. It offers a view into the ever-changing global electronic-invoicing requirement landscape, featuring dynamic regulatory and technological developments.

In addition to an extensive compilation of current B2B and B2G European invoicing mandates, the report spotlights insights, trends, rules and regulations. This is to assist companies and organizations considering or planning to implement their international e-invoicing initiatives.

Sunil Rajasekar, Billtrust CEO, said, “Electronic invoicing is here to stay. More than 100 countries have moved or started moving towards e-invoicing, and by 2030, it is expected to be the predominant model worldwide. E-invoicing is also a crucial component in meeting new regulatory obligations imposed by tax authorities. This new report provides a vital resource for B2B companies while underscoring that the need for digitization in accounts receivable has evolved from being optional to a key imperative.”

Marco Eeman, Managing Director, Europe, Billtrust, added, “The number of international e-invoicing mandates in operation requires a level of understanding that many companies can’t achieve on their own. Navigating this complex landscape of mandates and regulations effectively means firms will be able to remain internationally compliant and be confident they can continue to conduct business in every market they wish to operate.”


Ciphr published details about a good manager’s top 20 most important skills and attributes from a survey of UK employees.

The top ten skills were:

  • Trustworthiness – 69%
  • Treating everyone fairly – 66%
  • Honesty and authenticity – 62%
  • A positive attitude – 61%
  • Being reliable and consistent with their teams – 60%
  • Friendliness – 58%
  • Compassionate and supportive -56%
  • Leads by example – 56%
  • Effective communicator – 55%
  • A team player who encourages collaboration – 54%

Karen Lough, Head of Learning and Development at Ciphr, says. “There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to management. Organisations often promote managers based on how good they are at their jobs and can forget to look at whether they possess the right skills and attributes to be a great manager. As this research illustrates, many of the traits that are deemed important to being a good manager are based on personal values and how people come across in their behaviours, rather than the technical skills and knowledge they might have and how well they do their job.

“Organisations that underinvest in their managers, and don’t train them on how to be a great manager, are courting chaos. They run the risk that these undertrained, inexperienced managers will simply be making it up as they go along, which is certainly not in the best interests of their teams and has the potential for wider ramifications across the business. The managers themselves will feel discontent and unsupported, and their teams will be dissatisfied too, which will lead to reduced productivity and performance, and, ultimately, attrition because people are more likely to leave if they don’t feel valued.”


Research by Qlik shows public sector organisations in APAC value data, but governance and compliance are taking over as data leaders’ primary objectives and responsibilities.

The report also shows how governance has become fundamental to shaping strategy. Many public sector organisations are now allocating more resources to governance than capability. Mirroring a default view across the sector that data is a ‘risk to be managed’ rather than an ‘opportunity to be exploited.’ In this climate, CDOs are more likely to possess governance activity capabilities (77%) instead of analytics (63%) or data literacy (57%).

When asked about their priorities for the next year, many data leaders ranked strategising, maturity assessments, inventories and governance boards above more innovation-focused initiatives, such as deploying analytics tools, decommissioning old technologies or publishing open datasets.

Geoff Thomas, Senior Vice President, APAC, Qlik, said, “Our study provides valuable insight into the responsibilities and demands faced by CDOs in the public sector today. While CDOs have never been more important, and they play a critical role in the overall infrastructure of the public sector, the research clearly demonstrates how their job is rapidly evolving.

“Critically, they are increasingly focused on addressing risk rather than seizing on opportunities when it comes to data. To overcome this cautiousness, CDOs need to realise and maximise the return on data and analytics.”


SD Worx published more insights from its major survey of 4,833 employers and 16,011 employees in sixteen European countries. The briefing includes the investment organisations make in HR digitisation across Europe. Swiss (68%), British (68%) and Spanish (66%) companies, in particular, lead the way in terms of investments in HR digitalisation.

The use of HR digital technology is increasing. Three out of four are using digital applications actively and frequently. Four in ten companies (41%) offer employees a mobile app as a central access point to various HR systems. However, there are too many apps, with companies running an average of 17 HR applications.

Veronik van Loon, SD Worx Academy Portfolio Manager, notes, “Increasingly, companies realise that technology can not only help make their organisation more streamlined and efficient, it can also support employees in their day-to-day tasks and personal development at work. This benefits both staff and the organisation in the long term, explaining the greater willingness to invest in training and development. Particularly in the context of the war for talent, which is at least partly a result of digitalisation and new working arrangements, organisations cannot escape the increased importance of employee-oriented applications.”

In an analysis of the Belgian job market, SD Worx did not see employment growth in SMEs in the first months of 2023, unlike in previous years. Vassilios Skarlidis, SME Consultant, SD Worx, commented, “Worryingly, there has not yet been any net job growth in the first six months, as has been the case in most other years. On the one hand, SMEs are less likely to be able to recruit.

“On the other hand, we remain at a high level in terms of contract terminations for SMEs. This can be explained by the cautiousness due to the increase in costs, but also by the fact that they have difficulty in finding the right personnel. In 2023, exits exceed monthly entries in SMEs (except for February and March). The second quarter also shows this negative trend.”


VinciWorks published findings from a survey that found organisations are not prepared for the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). In January 2023, 77% of respondents have yet to commence preparations for CSRD reporting. Of those surveyed, 50% acknowledged that their organisations are likely to fall under the purview of CSRD. Only 23% have taken the initiative to commence preparations for CSRD reporting. While less than a third (29%) plan to embark on this journey within the next six months.

Nick Henderson-Mayo, Director of Learning and Content at VinciWorks, commented, “The inaugural CSRD reports are slated for submission in 2025. Organisations that prioritise preparation over procrastination are better positioned to enact policies and procedures that ensure seamless compliance.

“Despite Brexit, CSRD will have a big impact on British business, particularly those trying to trade with the EU, or who are part of international supply chains. By training employees on sustainability and ESG principles, awareness can be cultivated, fostering active support for the organisation’s sustainable objectives.”


Workiva published the 2023 Global ESG Practitioner Survey. It found that 71% of ESG practitioners surveyed say three or more internal teams contribute to ESG reporting within their organizations. Further, 74% say their companies have appointed at least one employee to oversee ESG reporting and initiatives. This is up 6% over the previous year. The same percentage expect their organizations will be required to comply with two or more global regulations. Together, these results illustrate the increasing significance of ESG in corporate reporting. They underscore the complexity of ensuring accurate and assured data in ESG reports.

The survey uncovered a disparity in perceptions across seniority levels. While 62% of C-level executives strongly agree that their companies apply the same level of diligence to ESG reporting as they do to financial reporting. Only 32% of managers and senior managers share the same sentiment. Likewise, 87% of executives say their organizations have appointed someone to an ESG-specific role. Compared to 68% of managers who say the same.

The survey was developed with Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School. He commented, “It’s no secret ESG is receiving heightened attention in boardrooms or that increasingly complex frameworks, standards and regulations are presenting new challenges in ESG reporting. What struck me from the survey results is the dichotomy between practitioners of all levels agreeing they find value in ESG reporting while managers in the trenches are saying their companies are not applying the same diligence to ESG reporting as they do to financial reporting.”

Paul Volpe, Senior Vice President of Growth and Head of ESG Solutions at Workiva, commented, “The survey reinforces what customers share with us every day at Workiva. Though investors and regulation remain top of mind, practitioners know there is more to ESG reporting than responding to external demand. Done well, ESG reporting unveils opportunity and empowers executives with a vision for the future that sets them apart from their competitors in the eyes of their customers, employees and investors. But the complexity in ESG reporting is very real.

“Practitioners agree that technology is the linchpin in the ESG reporting process, and it’s up to business leaders to equip their teams with the tools they need to unlock the value in ESG.”


Wrike published a Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact (TEI) Report. Based on a composite company of several Wrike customers. The report found that a composite organization using Wrike discovered a return on investment of 396% over three years. This represents a net present value of $9.78 million for the composite company.

The qualitative benefits highlighted in TEI reports often hold more value for most prospects.

These included:

  • Productivity improvements for project managers and team members
  • Reduction in wasted or low-value work
  • Increased visibility
  • The ability to make sound decisions rooted in data
  • Additional profit through increases in work velocity and customer retention

Thomas Scott, Interim CEO at Wrike, said, “Today, organizations face challenges using disparate work management and communications solutions, which result in inefficiencies and security issues, as well as limited cross-team visibility and collaboration. At Wrike, we provide a modern solution to address these mounting efficiency challenges by offering leaders a solution that improves productivity and reduces expenses by bringing work into one place, ultimately enabling them to achieve efficiency gains across the organization. This new study examines what we are doing at Wrike to assist business leaders in their pursuit of efficiency.”


Global research from Xero revealed that 80% of small business owners are concerned AI development and adoption is outpacing regulation as generative AI tools permeate various industries and the workforce. Future Focus AI research surveyed over 3,000 small business owners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It revealed that small businesses believe sensitive information disclosure (41%) and data privacy violations (41%) are the biggest ethical challenges relating to AI use in their business. This is closely followed by worker displacement, with 38% citing this as the biggest ethical challenge.

Mark Rees, Chief Technology Officer at Xero, said, “While AI brings lots of benefits, the survey results highlight the need to provide more knowledge, tools, and policies to ensure small businesses are not left behind and can continue to thrive. Xero is always looking at how we can bring new technology safely into the hands of customers, in a way that will make a positive difference in their lives. It’s about putting the customer first, not shipping lots of AI features for the sake of it.”

The report highlights the excitement, challenges, and fears about deploying AI. Xero has published the Future Focus: AI Guide for Accountants and Bookkeepers to help them navigate the impact of AI on their practices and clients.

Rees added, “We wanted to cut through the hype and fear-mongering and answer a really simple question: what does AI mean for your typical practice? The Xero guide is intended to help accountants and bookkeepers make well-informed choices when it comes to using AI tools, to help manage the risks and realise the benefits for them and their small business customers.”

Research from the week beginning 14th August 2023



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