Colombia is about to experience a huge cultural change in the Public sector and in business. This imminent change is a sign that the implementation of electronic invoicing may commence at the beginning of next year. Before this takes place, DIAN, Colombia’s national directorate of taxes and customs, will have to approve the new decree it has prepared.
“Today, only 3% of companies in Colombia use electronic invoicing. As its use grows, it will have a great impact on those who use it,” explains Cristian Uribe, EDICOM’s marketing manager in Colombia. It’s important to keep in mind that the current system is based on Resolution 14465 from the year 2007, which makes electronic invoicing optional and requires permission from the receiver. Since aspects of the law such as these have prevented the expansion of electronic invoicing, Colombia will soon approve a new decree that will increase its use.
The new billing model is known as SIFEL, and it will eliminate the existing one. The main difference between the models is that SIFEL will make electronic invoicing mandatory for certain businesses, which has already happened in Chile and Mexico. These two countries have inspired DIAN to implement the new system.
The new decree will establish requirements for companies that provide electronic invoicing services. Also, it will require authorized companies to appear in an accessible electronic catalogue. Furthermore, taxpayers will be obligated to use this system as well as those who receive electronic invoices. The goal of the new system and its initiatives is to build a more solid and secure system for taxpayers and the tax administration.
“DIAN will begin the implementation by requiring 800 companies to switch over to e-invoicing within six months,” indicates Uribe. Afterwards, more companies will be added, so the use of e-invoicing will grow gradually.
How does SIFEL function?
SIFEl regulates electronic invoices as well as credit and debit notes. These documents must be sent in XML format along with the required fields of DIAN’s platform, which will validate the information in less than 48 hours. Cristian Uribe adds that, “as the file is being sent to DIAN, the system simultaneously sends it to the recipient who is obligated to accept it.” Additionally, the issuing system must have the ability to generate an automatic reply signifying that the invoice has been received correctly.
In an effort to guarantee integrity and authenticity, the decree states that these documents must be signed electronically with an electronic certificate that can be provided by the company issuing the document or through a service provider. Furthermore, invoices will be numbered consecutively with an electronic code called CUFE that DIAN will provide beforehand. Further safety measures include the use of a two-dimensional code to ensure security when printing.
This technological leap has caused many companies to worry about how SIFEL will affect their internal processes. In response to this concern, Uribe notes that, “the electronic invoice is not invasive. With the appropriate solutions, it’s possible to comply with regulations and streamline procedures without changing day-to-day operations.” A good example of this is EDICOM’s electronic invoice platform that integrates with a company’s business process management system.
Uribe also affirms that, “the models used to create SIFEL confirm that the expansion of the electronic invoice will produce a positive result in Colombia.” As in Chile and Mexico, the benefits of using this system will be reflected among taxpayers, the tax administration and those receiving tax documents. These benefits include reducing costs, making business procedures more efficient and improving fiscal control. Increased security is another benefit. The list of advantages goes on for those companies that choose to invest in electronic invoicing.