Successful implementation of eInvoice processing
What is an eInvoice?
In basic terms, there are three types of e-invoice, also referred to as electronic invoice.
- In the form of a document, such as a PDF file/Word file/email text
- Structured data, such as EDI/XML/XRechnung
- Hybrid formats that combine images and data, such as ZUGFeRD
The digital signature previously required stopped being mandatory in 2011. This has greatly simplified the dispatch of electronic invoices. Many companies have therefore made the decision to send PDF documents as attachments to emails. For hybrid formats such as ZUGFeRD, a PDF document is used as PDF/A-3 with embedded XML data in the required ZUGFeRD format. As a consequence this means that the visual representation and the data are available during invoice exchange. The public sector is in the process of gradually introducing XRechnung in Germany. A format that uses purely structured data and, like the ZUGFeRD format, also supports processing free of media disruptions.
In fundamental terms, the requirements of e-invoices are identical to the mandatory tax information required for paper invoices.
Solution for sending e-invoices/electronic invoices and other documents
Our eInvoice Service – Outbound (‘eBeleg Service – Ausgang’) offers our customers an optimised solution for sending invoices. Here, the format that should be used when sending the invoice can be stored in the master data for the customer in the ERP system.
We recommend the use of hybrid formats or structured data to support the error-free transfer of data on the customer side. This allows all the advantages of electronic invoicing to come into play:
- Optimised accounting processes for vendors and customers
- Faster payment processing owing to a lower error rate
- Elimination of or lower printing and postage costs
The solution supports sending invoices, reminders, credit memos, quotations and other documents.
What requirements need to be considered when introducing e-invoices?
If you decide to receive or send electronic invoices and documents, they also need to be archived electronically. For example, an invoice received electronically cannot simply be printed out and filed away as previously. The procedures for handling and processing supporting documents needs to be documented as part of a process documentation procedure. This applies to both the sender and recipient.
The following points need to be taken into consideration here:
- How is the invoice created?
- How is the invoice transferred?
- How is compliance with tax criteria ensured: Authenticity, immutability, readability?
- How are invoices posted?
- How are invoices archived?
The consent of the recipient is required before you send them electronic invoices. This can be obtained in writing both explicitly or tacitly. This means that, in the simplest case, you send your customer an invoice in electronic form. If the customer settles it, you can assume they have consented to you sending them e-invoices. If you would rather inform your customers in advance and obtain their consent, we can gladly assist you in doing so.
For tax-compliant archiving, use the direct connection from our eBeleg Service to the eBeleg Archive from our cooperation partner d.velop. This is available at an attractive price to both our customers and invoice recipients, incl. the functions required for audit-proof archiving.
For more information on the topic of e-invoices, please visit the VeR – Verband elektronische Rechnungen website, including the 12 rules for GoBD-compliant electronic invoice exchange.
The “Arbeitsgemeinschaft für wirtschaftliche Verwaltung e.V.” also offers sample process documentation as a basis for your process documentation.