Mandatory Electronic Invoicing and EDI for the EU Public Sector

This paper looks at the drivers for mandatory B2G EDI e-invoicing, which countries have requirements in place, or soon will, and how businesses can align their billing processes to meet both existing and emerging requirements with minimal disruption.
Mandatory e-invoicing via EDI for EU Public Sector

Excerpt from the white paper:

Introduction

Digital transformation is an understandably overused phrase in business today. Few business transformations are non-digital in nature. We live in an era characterised by ever-increasing digitisation. However, some aspects of business have resisted the rising digital tide longer than others. One such area is the production, exchange, and processing of invoices. But change is coming, and it’s coming fast.

 

There can be little doubt that the coronavirus-inspired lockdown restrictions of early 2020 have forced traditional business processes to adapt swiftly. Business-to-business connections have shifted rapidly to electronic methods as postal deliveries have become delayed or sat unopened in unstaffed mailrooms.

 

Digital delivery has suddenly become the preferred channel for any communication of importance. Businesses are doubling down on efforts to move to electronic invoicing, accelerating this inevitable trend.

 

To date, the most popular e-invoicing format has been a simple PDF copy of an otherwise paper invoice; attached to, or linked from, an email. This has presented the lowest barrier to adoption, maintaining familiarity of invoice appearance and placating all but the most stubborn fans of traditional paper processes.

 

PDF invoices are unquestionably a step in the right direction, but only a step. Much of the promise of electronic invoicing lies in the efficiency of automated production/delivery/processing, as well as streamlined storage and recall. Producing, parsing, and then storing unstructured data, such as PDFs, is not an elegant, nor efficient, solution to these goals.

 

The promised efficiencies of e-invoicing may be appealing to SMEs, but when considered at the scale of transactions in the public sector, these savings become enormous. Consequently, there is an increasing shift towards mandatory e-invoicing of the structured data kind, primarily through an EDI framework, for public sector transactions.

 

This paper looks at why EDI and structured data formats are favoured by governments, how this is likely to influence B2B invoicing, and the status of different European countries regarding requirements. Finally, we look at how businesses can adapt now to meet existing needs and be ready for future requirements.

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