Most SMEs in the UK are now using electronic invoicing, although many of them continue to use paper as an additional channel. This emerges from a study by Sage Pay referenced on 11 February on the specialist portal E-invoicing Platform . The figures are quite clear: around 85 % of medium-sized companies use electronic billing methods, but 67% of them acknowledge using paper at the same time.
This trend points to a waste of resources that hampers the benefits of electronic invoicing. With the use of paper as an additional channel, the cost savings, work optimization and environmentally friendly contribution will be barely noticeable. Moreover, workloads may even increase due to this duplication of tasks.
To avoid this situation, businesses must move towards more streamlined billing processes that allow swift and secure access to invoices, both for senders and receivers. With EDICOM Business@Mail, for example, invoice recipients only need a username and password to enter a secure web portal and view their documents. Additionally, they can integrate them with their in-house accounting or billing system, if they have one, or print them out if they have not yet migrated to this system.
Currently, electronic invoicing is not mandatory in the UK, although it is a priority issue for the Executive. As we reported, the Economic Information Strategy was published in June 2013, designed to encourage electronic billing in SMEs and public procurement. This document, the result of an agreement between government and businesses, is not binding, but sets out the way forward on the issue.
Bear in mind that in addition to the economic saving for SMEs after the switchover to electronic invoicing, the system facilitates the development of e-commerce or cloud computing. In other words, it provides the chance to take a technological leap and modernize business.
On 15 January, the European Parliament approved three new directives on public procurement designed, among other aspects, to cut down on red tape for bidders and implement e-procurement in all Member States. These regulations come into force in late March, although national governments have two years to transpose the legislation. The longest deadline is for electronic tendering, which does not become compulsory until July 2018.
The Parliamentary resolutions represent yet another step towards the so-called “paperless office”. Under the measures set forth in these directives, the EU member countries must use electronic means to announce procurement processes, receive offers from bidding companies or issue any public tender notices. In other words, it is mandatory to carry out the entire procurement process electronically.
This measure follows the example of some European countries already working in a paperless administration, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, which have managed to streamline procedures and increase productivity. It also represents significant cost savings. According to the National Association of Internet Businesses (ANEI), the use of electronic media in public procurement processes may eventually cut costs by up to 20%, something that would result in savings to the Spanish government of around €7.8 billion annually.
Electronic tendering also entails greater transparency in the bidding process and enhances competition. Bear in mind that electronic media do away with barriers, and so open the door to public tender for SMEs, micro-businesses or cross-border enterprises.
The new legislation will replace the current public procurement rules (directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC) as of next March and is specified in these three papers approved by the European Parliament:
Importantly, in addition to the promotion of electronic media, for the first time ever it sets out a European standard for the award of contracts with the aim of encouraging fair competition and improving quality-price ratios, through new award criteria more focused on environmental and social aspects.
More information on the regulations approved on January 15 here.
The Central Health Services of the Spanish public system have to manage a high volume of resources to ensure the attention to citizens. In some cases, this organizational task becomes especially complicated, mainly due to the vast dimensions of the service. The solution to the problem is found through information technologies.
The Andalusian Health Service (SAS) is a clear example of how e-management can simplify and automate this process. The Health Ministry of this autonomous region engaged EDICOM to create a centralized communication platform able to integrate the almost 600 SAS suppliers and facilitate the exchange of documents.
This task presented some difficulties, due to the speed with which it had to be developed and the different technological capacities of each partner, ranging from huge pharmaceutical corporations to small local suppliers. However, after a pilot project, EDICOM managed to design a 100% operational XML/EDI solution able to handle a total document workflow, ranging from the purchase order to the invoice from the supplier.
The SAS currently has efficient management that ensures the provisioning of each of the healthcare points spread throughout Andalusia. In addition, administrative processes are now simpler, transactions with suppliers have been streamlined and, as a result, costs are lower.
To learn more about the Andalusian Health Service success story, you can check out this analysis:
As of January 1, the majority of taxpayers in Mexico must use electronic invoicing. Beyond fiscal obligation, many companies are taking advantage of this shift to CFDI as an opportunity to improve, modernize and optimize their management.
One way to make the most of electronic invoicing is by inclusion of addenda. This is an optional element that allows us to integrate relevant trade or commercial information for many businesses in the CFDI. For example, information on the delivery location or the product’s serial number. It is important to highlight that this content is not regulated by the SAT, so each company can define the fields it considers most useful for its business activity.
The addenda are added to the CFDI after the invoice has been validated by the Certification Provider or the SAT. Their integration into electronic format avoids the need for parallel deliveries, so running costs are reduced. Moreover, with the inclusion of addenda, the use of paper is no longer necessary and storage and management of these data is simplified, more closely monitored and with less likelihood of error.
Although the content of addenda is not regulated by the SAT, the Omnibus Tax Ruling (RMF) does specify which formats are to be used to ensure proper integration in the CFDI. These are some of the requirements:
- The additional information must be included in the taxpayer format
- Addenda must be integrated once the CFDI has been validated
- Addenda must comply with the provisions set forth in Annex 20 of the RMF
To this end, it is important to have CFDI issuing software that includes the addenda most widely used by the major companies in Mexico and which makes it possible to generate new ones easily, otherwise communication with clients and customers will not be assured.
At EDICOM, we have a solution for issuing CFDI which includes more than 60 addenda, such as those for Liverpool, Soriana, Chedraui, etc. In addition, each day we analyse those most in demand and incorporate them into our solution, so that the invoices can be issued in a flexible, transparent way and in line with the requirements of our clients’ trading partners.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Administration (MINHAP) has drafted a document with answers to the most common queries and doubts about application of the Law on electronic invoicing (Law 25/2013). According to this regulation, use of Facturae will be mandatory as of 15 January 2015 for all invoices for amounts over 5000 euros, although some changes are already evident. Since last January, the Public Sector has an accounting register for invoices, with the aim of achieving a more immediate understanding of the economic reality.
The FAQs document published by MINHAP raises questions related with file construction, communication with Public Administrations, identification of incidents and troubleshooting. Some of the most significant aspects include:
- Invoices must contain three new fields: accounting office, management organ and processing unit. MINHAP recommends including the codes of these administrative bodies in all invoices issued in 2014 to facilitate internal administrative procedures.
- Administrations already using electronic billing, but in a different format to that laid down in Law 25/2013 of 27 December, must adapt to the new compulsory scheme.
- Issuing an electronic invoice will not be mandatory for amounts up to €5000. Nevertheless, the supplier may do so voluntarily.
- Under the new law, the government may request additional information to the invoice (copies of goods receipt notices, orders, etc.) in the same way as before.
- In the event of any incident or error, the managing body shall notify the company. In the invoice return procedure, the reasons for return shall be specified.
- The supplier may check the status of their invoice throughout the process, from registration until payment.
- The current operating points will no longer serve as entry registry for invoices. As stipulated in Articles 6 and 11 of Law 25/2013 of 27 December, the general point of entry for electronic invoices will be the only one.
The EDICOM solution
To facilitate the rollout of electronic invoicing in line with the terms laid down by the Spanish legislation, EDICOM has created a platform able to adapt invoices to the Facturae format. In addition, we have a dedicated communications service through the Public Administrations HUB, which simplifies the connection with all administrations, whether local, regional, national or even European.
This way, the rollout of electronic invoicing poses no problems. It is done automatically and with all the requirements set forth in the regulations.
One example of the successful implementation of this new electronic model for billing the Public Administrations is the invoice reception platform of the Generalitat Valenciana, known as Ge-Factura. This project was developed by EDICOM, using EDI (electronic data interchange) portal technology.
Find out more about the Generalitat Valenciana success story.