Electronic invoicing in Europe

For the last decade, the European Union has moved towards the integration of a paperless billing system, an e-invoicing model that will ensure the authenticity and integrity of generated documents as well as the improvement on the control of payments and reduction of obstacles in the market. Back in the year 2010, the European Commission set the ambitious goal of making e-invoicing the main method of invoicing in Europe by 2020. This has resulted in a European electronic invoicing full of particularities.

In Europe, the use of electronic invoicing has considerably grown during the last years. In 2009, the electronic share of total invoice volume was of an 8 %, according to Billentis’ “The impact of B2G E-Invoicing to the whole economy” report. This share has climbed up to a 24 % in 2014, and is expected to keep on growing. But how is e-invoicing in Europe different to e-invoicing in other regions?

 

A B2G model

While in regions like Latin America e-invoicing is expanding as mandatory within the private sector, in Europe digital billing is being used by government administrations to improve management and cut down on payment delays. On this B2G invoicing scenario, it is the Administration and its suppliers that ones who must comply.

Numbers prove that even on this scale the digitalization of bills is relevant: the public sector is responsible for up to 18 % of all purchases made in a country, and up to 65 % of all companies are suppliers for the public sector and send invoices to their administrations.

 

An e-invoicing regulation for all member states

In Europe it is the Council of the European Union who’s in charge of regulating the electronic invoicing panorama through the Council Directive 2010/45/EU. This directive focuses on the need to guarantee the origin and authenticity of electronic documents. It is established that e-Invoices can be sent via three methods: through an electronic data interchange (EDI); by applying advanced electronic signatures to the invoice; or through alternative mechanisms.

 

Particularities across countries

Even if there is a common regulation, European countries are developing their own legislation to transpose this directive to their own judicial framework. This is causing an irregular integration into a mandatory electronic invoicing schema, with countries such as Spain, Italy or Slovenia joining in 2015. This particularities also affect the electronic invoice format. Even if according to the latest EU VAT directive all invoices must contain a minimum set of data, countries are still developing XML-based formats that will adapt to their own requirements.

 

E-invoicing in Europe with EDICOM

When working on an international level, the last thing a company wants to stop and think about is how to issue an invoice for each particular country. This is why EDICOM has developed a full International E-invoicing Platform, which can perfectly meet the European Union requirements and link up with the invoice receiving platforms with the public services of different countries.

Peru Makes Bill of Sale Electronic

Peru has started issuing electronic bills of sale in an effort to continue institutional modernization. SUNAT, Peru’s tax administration, implemented the electronic bill of sale by publishing regulation No. 132-2015 on May 27th of this year. The bill of sale is now included among the types of payment vouchers that can be processed electronically through SEE-SOL, the system Peru uses to issue electronic documents, along with invoices, credit notes and debit notes.

According to the regulation, only people with quality electronic bill presentment services have the ability to generate an electronic bill of sale. To do this, taxpayers must have a domicile tax status. Also, their tax status can’t be in a state of temporary suspension or have been rejected by the RUC, the computer record that contains identification data on taxpayers and taxes administered by SUNAT. The third requirement is that they can’t belong to the NRUS, which was created by Decree Law No. 937. The NRUS is the tax regime directed to individuals that obtain income exclusively by carrying out business activities such as operating small restaurants, juice bars, shoe stores, and etc.

This new measure is a step closer to digitalizing society, which decreases the use of paper to make operational procedures more efficient therefore reducing economic costs. The electronic format of the bill of sale may be used, as pointed out in the resolution, with consumer end operations except in regard to the sale of hulled rice, accommodation and food services to those with a non-domiciled tax status and transactions exempt from general sales tax. Other restrictions include not using the electronic bill of sale to sustain tax credit, expenditures or costs and for transporting goods unless a printed representation is included.

 

About the Electronic Invoice in Peru

Peru has been issuing electronic payment vouchers since 2010. The use of electronic payment vouchers started to increase in 2014, once taxpayers began to obey the mandate SUNAT issued, which offers them a greater guarantee of security. Furthermore, it allows them to optimize administration and management tasks using technology.

EDICOM is recognized as an accredited provider by Indecopi, an institution in Peru responsible for approving standards among all sectors. Therefore EDICOM offers a solution for issuing electronic invoices that is aligned with SUNAT’s requirements. One reason why this solution offers multiple benefits to its users such as saving time and money is because it’s an automatic platform that does not require the services of third parties.

Electronic invoicing world leaders

Electronic invoicing continues its general expansion on a worldwide scale, even if different regions around the world are introducing this paperless billing system according to their own schema. While e-invoicing is pretty much optional in North America, in Latin America governments are defining mandatory models which affect most of the companies. Meanwhile, European countries go for B2G models that link e-invoices with the Administration.

One thing that is common for all these regions is the growth of electronic invoicing as a billing option. According to Billentis’ International Market Overview & Forecast, the estimated annual volume increase in electronic bills and invoices reaches a 20 % worldwide. This is why international companies must be familiar with electronic invoicing particularities in different regions, and know which countries are leading the e-billing process.

 

Mexico, the Latin America leader in e-invoicing

According to Billentis’ report, Mexico had the highest absolute and relative electronic invoicing growth rate in 2013. In this country, the majority of taxpayers are required to use the CFDI (Digital Invoice Via Internet), which resulted in over 4,500 million e-invoices issued between January and November 2014.

However, Mexico is not the only one running on the electronic invoicing race in Latam. Back in 2003, Chile was the first country in this region to roll out an electronic invoicing mandatory model, which is expected to conclude its expansion in 2017 with the inclusion of micro businesses. Brazil followed the Chilean model with the creation of its Nota Fiscal Eletrônica, towards which all companies transitioned in 2010.

 

Portugal leading digital billing in Europe

In Europe, Portugal has been one of the countries leading the e-invoicing roll out in the last few years, both on a B2B and on a B2G scale. Since January 2014, all invoices have to be provided to the system of Portuguese tax authorities on a digital format. In Italy, electronic invoicing is also growing up strong: the e-invoicing obligation that started coming in place step by step last June 2014 will affect up to 2.5 million companies.

 

Electronic invoicing in North America

Electronic invoicing is not mandatory in North America, even if companies working on an international scale must pay attention to the regulation established in each country. In the United States, e-invoicing is gaining more traction, demand is growing and its market is opening up. According to Billentis, this growth is mainly focused on SME’s, since digital billing was already first adopted by larger companies.

 

The leader e-invoicing solution

When looking for a technological partner that can lead a company’s invoicing process on a global scale, two things are crucial: the ability to comply with the different regulations in different regions and the flexibility to adapt to the ever changing digital billing panorama. To meet these two requirements, EDICOM has developed a full International e-Invoicing solution which includes sending and receiving platforms which are perfectly tailored to meet the specification of both leader regions and countries that are just starting their electronic invoicing adventure.

Amendments to law on e-invoicing

Since the rollout of e-invoicing in Spain last January, different difficulties have emerged that prevent optimum use of this system. Administrations and suppliers alike have failed to comply with the rights and obligations demanded by this type of billing. To this end, in an attempt to improve the situation, on March 24 the Official State Gazette published an Amendment to Law 25/2013.

The amendment includes changes to five articles of the regulation. The majority are related with regulation of general entry points for e-invoicing in the different agencies. The amendment also addresses other issues related with accounting records for invoices. The aim is to encourage more rigorous control of documents and expedite payment deadlines.

 

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Food labelling prevents serious health risks

Celiac disease is an increasingly common condition. In Europe one out of every hundred people is gluten intolerant. For them, eating products containing gluten, found in wheat, barley, rye or oats, can have potentially harmful health consequences. This highlights the importance of accurate labelling to ensure food security.

To this end, the European Union has taken measures to increase the information provided to consumers not only in physical stores, but also in online shopping, an increasingly popular practice among consumers.

 

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