European e-Invoicing

FAQs Webinar: “Widespread Rollout of B2G e-Invoicing in Europe

e-orders-electronic orders-edicom

We have prepared a compilation of the most frequent questions asked during  our webinar “Widespread Rollout of B2G e-Invoicing in Europe”. The webinar gave the opportunity to have a quick reference guide about the uptakes of Directive 2014/55/EU by all the EU countries.

The Directive 2014/55/EU is set to go into effect in Abril 18th. All public administrations of the European Union countries must be prepared to receive e-invoices in a format dictated by the Directive. To promote electronic invoicing, most of the EU countries governments  have also decided to make sending e-invoices to public administrations mandatory for all  providers.

What are the commonalities regarding archiving requirements between all EU countries? Do we need a trusted certificate from approved companies?

Regarding archiving it is important to look into the national rules, as for example the legal archiving period is decided by national law.

On a European level, Regulation 910/2014 is related to legal archiving as it creates a legal framework for the so-called 'trust services': e-signatures, e-seals, electronic time stamps, e-delivery services and website authentication. These services can be used to equate e-documents to their traditional counterparts on paper. This means that if organizations want to preserve the legal conditions of files and documents under the auspices of qualified trust services, it is necessary to have digital archiving that applies the same security policies as laid down in the regulation.

Are Government agencies obliged to send electronic Purchase Orders as well?

Italy is the only member state with an obligation regarding Purchase Orders. The Italian government has issued a law that obliges suppliers of the National Sanitary Services (SSN) to manage the reception of order flows in electronic mode through the NSO platform (Nodo Smistamento Ordini). This means that as of February  1st,  2020 all public entities in the healthcare sector must send their orders electronically to any provider.

As for other countries, there is no obligation. However, in the Nordics, EDI is very common and many, if not most, public entities can handle electronic Purchase Orders. In Denmark, it is expected to become mandatory in 2021 for certain goods and services.

How to identify if the customer is a public entity?

It can be difficult to know if an organization is classified as a public government or not, especially since each member state has their own classification of which entities fall under the Directive 2014/55/EU. That said, if there is an obligation for suppliers to send electronic invoices to a public entity, said public entity should keep its suppliers informed, and they shall also habilitate the reception of the given message.

Also, if in doubt, many times it can be quickly solved by simply contacting the entity in question.

Most country mandates are related to RECEIVING invoices, is there a mandate summary overview that shows which suppliers in which countries/regions should SEND invoices to their customers?

Although the majority of the countries have limited the implementation of the directive on Public Administrations ability to receive invoices, many countries have now dictated all invoicing for all Public Administrations to happen in electronic format. These include e.g. Finland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Croatia, France and Spain. The list is expected to become longer in the short and medium run. However, it is important to take into account that many countries limit the obligation to invoicing only electronically for example for certain level of public authorities or authorities on a particular region.

 Will electronic invoices become mandatory in B2B sector in EU countries?

We expect B2B e-invoicing to become mandatory in more countries in the medium run.

However, nowadays the only country that has extended the e-invoicing obligation on the private sector is Italy. Following the latest news, France has already approved a law regarding obligatory B2B e-invoicing for 2023, but the evaluation on the approach is still ongoing without any clear vision what infrastructure will be implemented and when is the deadline.

In general, we can expect similarities in the e-Invoicing standards for B2B and B2G sectors as time goes on.

Which countries do you see making e-invoicing mandatory over the next 3-6 months?

Following the Directive, all EU countries have to move forward with the use of e-invoicing in the Public sector. It is probable that the next countries mandating obligatory e-invoicing in B2G will be the ones which have not yet applied the transposition of the Directive.

If there are any problems/errors between the country platform and PEPPOL - how will the supplier be involved?

Not all national platforms are connected to PEPPOL. Those platforms that do enable PEPPOL connection can be reached via a certified PEPPOL Access Point service provider. Other platforms require different types of connectivity. A supplier should choose an e-invoicing provider that offers both PEPPOL Access Point services and connectivity to independent platforms and can this way cover all B2G requirements.

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