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Delivering Electronic Invoices in 2013 and Beyond

During the past of European Union, 2013 will go down as the year in which the problems of electronic invoicing were taken off. Innovative European Directives propose to utilise scientific knowledge to enhance business tasks, with the objective of lowering expenditures and expanding business efficiency. Therefore, the European Commission desires to improve electronic invoicing and assure widespread utilization of electronic invoices up-to the year 2020.

A Journey Through Electronic Invoicing Legislation in the European Community

Since 2001, the European Union manages online invoicing through Directive 2001/115/EC. Twelve years later, Directive 2010/45/EU – which in many member countries was applied prior to January 1st, 2013 – revised the current regulation framework for online invoicing.

Council Directive 2001/115/CE is created as the response to the need to legislatively determine how paper and electronic invoices should coexist. Furthermore to ordinary requirements, the Directive also founded that Member States should approve invoices provided by electronic mail as long as their legality of origin and stability of content was guaranteed through one of the following strategies:

– A Sophisticated electronic signature.

– A recognized set-up of electronic data transaction, referred to as EDI, for acronym in French (change de Donnes Informatis).

Regardless of the initial intention of the European Commission to standardize laws on electronic invoicing, in practice, the Directive was uncertain and caused many complications in intra-EU transactions. Several of the contradicting statements determined in the Directive may be the subsequent:

– Member States that wished to strengthen the necessities for genuine electronic invoicing via sophisticated electronic signatures and registered electronic certificates were allowed to do so.

– Member States couldn’t apply any other obligations related to the utilization of electronic invoices.

– Member States were allowed to embrace and accept internal rules to ascertain the legality of the electronic invoice, with out the necessity of employing any of the two regarded strategies (innovative electronic signature and EDI systems).

Amongst other issues, this meant that it had been challenging for businesses from adaptive States to interact with businesses from more severe states. After all, the first required to satisfy the regulations of land of city; to match the prerequisites of the State of latter. Also among Member States that requested an innovative electronic invoice there had been complications, since they were managing different security tiers (through the innovative electronic signature or simply a suitable electronic signature).

Thankfully, Directive 2010/45/EU – started through out the year 2013 – partially corrects this circumstance of uncertainty surrounding electronic invoicing. The main differences among the two directives are underneath:

– Papers and electronic invoices are same on the legalized and monetary level.

– The legitimacy of integrity and origin of content are still required in both kinds, but members will not be forced to utilise the electronic signature or EDI exchange system. With modern Directive, alternative systems depending on internal corporate controls will also be permitted.

– The invoice receiver must accept receiving invoices in electronic format, while this is still not necessary in the case of conventional paper invoices.

A Critical Point of view

With Directive 2010/45/EU, the supplying organization and the customer have the freedom to pick the wanted methods to ensure the authenticity of integrity & origin of electronic invoice. After all, since 2013, a new and 3rd option for control has acquired significance, aside from the electronic signature and EDI data exchange. This 3 rd method facilitates organizations to use other options based on internal controls.

However, this new option -internal business control- can be described as wide and unclear concept, merely because greater than one type of approach is allowed, such as contrasting the invoice with the relating bank payments. A combined business modus operandi will exclusively practical after a period of day-to-day implementation.

In contrast, the truth that need of acclaim via the receiver solely corresponds to electronic invoicing and never to paper’s format; this reveals that EU is offering time to organizations and clients to get used to the modern digital situation.

There’s no uncertainty that this application of these latest invoicing process means will tremendously improve invoice creation, sending and reception; which in return, will cause cost savings. Conversely, the problems associated with safe-keeping and custody resulting from the electronic signature will go away.

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