It’s well known that Dubai is a smart city. They have always been ahead of the game when it comes to becoming paperless, but they’ve now announced they’re back on track for a paperless government in 2021.
What are they changing?
In a simple sentence, Dubai are changing their entire government process into a paperless and cashless process. The objective of this is to make all of the government interactions seamless and efficient.
They’re changing the process for the city so that residents and business can make transactions anywhere, anytime through their channel of preference whether that’s on a website, on their smart phone or any other way this wish.
Whilst doing this, they’re also ensuring that for any small medium enterprise (SME) they can take advantage of a procurement opportunity and allow them to send their invoices and make payments digitally to the government.
Doing this will make the lives of people and business much easier to interact with the government. They’ll be saving time and money which will lead to a much happier city experience.
Unnecessary physical visits will be avoided which will result in a significant reduction of stress of the roads, but also will reduce the carbon emissions in the city.
How will this impact Dubai?
There are a huge range of impacts that “Smart Dubai 2021” is going to have. All of the initiatives and KPI’s which have been created, have all been for the city, allowing the city to transform through technology creating an enriched and impactful experience.
The strategy is going to create a positive impact with respect to the city residents, financial resources and the city environment.
Every day different people interact with others through exchanging products, services and even ideas and experiences which is why every single person living in Dubai is not only a producer but also a consumer.
The first aim of the strategy is to ensure that everybody is getting a positive city experience with any of the exchanges that are made. I mentioned before, that interaction happens every single day and the first aim is to make sure everybody is happy.
It’s not only an aim to ensure that the residents are happy, but also any tourists and visitors are happy! Their vision is to become the happiest city on Earth.
When creating the paperless strategy, the question was asked – “At what financial/economic cost can we achieve happiness?” and it was quite simply answered.
There is a course through which digital innovations can create efficiencies for them, rather than additional expenditure. There is a huge opportunity to achieve happiness whilst simultaneously achieving financial benefits for both the private and public sectors.
Finally, the third impact that was analysed was the overall city environment, including the resources and infrastructure.
Dubai have created a course which will create a positive impact on the city environment by ensuring they use clean and sustainable resources which will in turn, enhance their infrastructure.
What impact is this having on the rest of the world?
I think that the Smart Dubai 2021 project is going to have a positive impact on the world. It will show countries that not only can you create a sustainable, efficient environment, but you can also keep each city happy. Of course, this is something that is already starting to happen across Europe.
The EU have previously focused its attention on E-Invoicing for all public procurement transactions with the hope that this will ensure the change for other businesses to start using e-invoicing.
This policy is due to be put in place this year, which is certainly a step in the right direction, and hopefully it does encourage other businesses, who perhaps don’t engage with the government as often as others, to begin using a paperless process even if it just for their invoices at first.
Spain, Italy and Slovenia have created platforms which make sure that all of the residents doing any sort of business with the government are now required to use the Qualified Electronic Signature, and specific transmission methods for suppliers which invoice the public sector.
In the United States of America it’s not had enormous impact (yet!) but there is a legislation in the US that was bought out in 1980 called “The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)”.
This was put into place to minimise the paperwork for specific individuals such as small business; educational and non-profit institutions; Federal Contractors; State, local and tribal governments and other persons resulting from the collection of information by or for the federal government.
What about the UK?
In the UK, there is a new legislation that’s coming out in April 2019 which is encouraging organisations who are VAT registered to start using a paperless process. It states in section 3 of the legislation that all invoices must be retained in the format in which they’re processed in.
If you process your invoices manually in the UK, then this legislation suggest that you must store the original physical copy of that invoice, even if you’re using a scan-to-archive process, but if you’re processing your invoices electronically, with a complete audit trail, you don’t need to retain a physical copy.
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