On 13 July, Germany’s Federal Cabinet approved a bill governing e-invoicing in public procurement. The legislation promoted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) is designed to transpose into national legislation Directive 2014/55/EU, which requires all Member States to adopt e-invoicing in the public sector by November 2018.
With this draft bill, the German Government creates a legislative basis for receiving and processing e-invoicing for all federal public entities. However, the different regional authorities (Länder) and municipal agencies (Kommunalstellen) will have to roll out their own e-invoicing standards, although the most likely option is that they will adapt to the same regulation in order to favour interoperability between administrations and facilitate adaptation for suppliers.
The next step for the Interior Ministry will be to tackle the technical standards for e-invoicing, a task on which several bodies and commissions specifically created for the purpose are now working. Moreover, we still have to wait for the European Standardization Committee (CEN) to publish the interoperable European standard so that the German government can adapt it to its own format, designated “XRechnung”.
A general trend
The rollout of e-invoicing in public procurement processes affects all Member States, so Germany is not an isolated case. As it stands today, some countries such as Spain, Portugal or Italy already require the use of this technology in the public sector and, when the time comes, they too will have to switch to the standard required by the Union Others, like Germany, will work directly to transpose the Directive and declare the system mandatory as soon as the European standard comes into force.
In this regard, the Permanent Observatory on e-Invoicing, a working group set up by EDICOM, is studying the progress made across Europe. This ongoing analysis keeps the Global E-Invoicing solution permanently updated at all times and operational for any country.