The Invoice Format of the Future –
Switch to Receiving & Converting Electronic Invoices Now
Electronic invoices (e-invoices) simplify invoice exchange immensely. Time-consuming tasks such as invoice digitization and formal invoice verification are almost completely eliminated. With the Doc² digitization platform, you can already receive electronic invoices. But existing invoices can also be easily converted into the new draught horse.
Current information and legal situation regarding electronic invoices
In September 2017, the German government passed the E-Invoicing Ordinance (E-Rech-VO). This regulates the billing of services following the fulfillment of public contracts. Accordingly, invoicing to public-sector customers is to be carried out only electronically in the future. Since April 18, 2020, all public-sector customers at federal, state, and municipal level must receive and process electronic invoices.
The first important deadline is November 27, 2020, from which date all billers will be required to submit electronic invoices to federal government clients. All invoices that do not comply with the German standard for electronic invoices (XInvoice) as of this date will no longer be paid. The only exceptions to this rule are direct orders up to an amount of €1,000 in accordance with Section 3 (3) of the E-Rech Regulation, invoice data requiring confidentiality in accordance with Section 8, and matters relating to the foreign service and other procurements abroad, as well as for invoices to be issued in organ lending procedures in accordance with Section 159 (1) number 5 of the Act against Restraints of Competition.
There is currently no uniform legal situation for the German federal states; the modalities and deadlines for electronic invoicing differ from state to state. A current overview of the implementation status in the federal states can be found at the Electronic Invoice Association. More detailed information can be obtained from the relevant offices in your federal state.
What is an electronic invoice?
An electronic invoice is a structured data record that is issued, transmitted and received electronically according to precise specifications. The specifications for creating this data record are set out in the European standard EN 16931. The invoice format must also enable automatic and electronic processing of the invoice. A simple pdf invoice is NOT an electronic invoice.
The national implementation of EN 16931 has resulted in the German format XRechnung. The XInvoice contains all relevant invoice information in a machine-readable format. Special software is required so that the XInvoice can also be read by a human. In addition to the XInvoice, there is also the well-known ZUGFeRD format, currently in version 2.1, which also fulfills all the requirements of EN 16931. The big advantage of the ZUGFeRD format compared to the XInvoice is that in addition to the machine-readable part of the invoice, a pdf image is also included. In contrast to the XInvoice, this pdf image makes the ZUGFeRD invoice directly readable for humans.
With Doc² you can receive electronic invoices and convert existing invoices. For example, invoices can be stored in Infor Document Management System and easily processed in other systems.