There are two schools of thought in the shared services world regarding how to define e-invoicing.
The first school represents those that believe an electronic invoice is a structured data file, rather than an unstructured file. This structured data file is transmitted directly from the supplier’s system to the buyer’s system. During this transmission the data is never touched by a human, never printed, and never converted into an unstructured file. The data could be transported through a) a closed, point-to- point channel (EDI) which connects the supplier directly to the buyer, b) an open e-invoicing network that connects many suppliers to many buyers, or c) a supplier portal.
The second school has a broader view. This school includes within their definition the receipt of “unstructured data,” namely PDFs received by email.