Electronic Invoicing in Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is an increasingly large player in the global economy. Entering this market is both a good business opportunity and a serious challenge for many companies. As an electronic invoicing partner, EDICOM accompanies businesses as they break into new markets and expands services to meet their needs.
Electronic invoicing is key to facilitating the objective of market accessibility because it standardizes commercial transactions and helps to eliminate barriers.
EDICOM has a comprehensive solution that enables users to work in different markets with a single platform. The electronic communications platform with compliant e-invoicing and VAT reporting capabilities manages electronic invoices both with public administrations and between private companies (B2B2G), in line with national specifications.
The Status of e-Invoicing in Asia-Pacific
Electronic invoicing is spreading throughout the APAC region on a country-by-country basis. It has yet to be standardized like in Latin America, where e-invoicing is used in most B2B transactions, or Europe, where it is widely used in the B2G sphere. However, there has been progress in APAC, stemming from the many advantages an e-invoicing system offers. Some of those advantages include:
- Improved audit processes and reduction in tax fraud
- Optimized administrative processes through the automation of electronic transactions
- Ease of commercial transaction exchange and increased competitiveness in a global economy
Throughout what remains of 2020, several countries in Asia-Pacific will join their neighbors in the large-scale rollout of electronic invoicing systems. They plan to complete implementation and make electronic invoicing mandatory in the coming years.
The GST e-Invoice/IRN System is India's electronic invoicing program. Beginning on October 1st, it became mandatory for companies that invoiced more than rs500 crores in the last fiscal year.
The Good and Services Tax Council (GSTC) is the administration responsible for tax processes in the country. Following the voluntary adoption phase that began in January 2020, companies in India will gradually be incorporated into the system on a mandatory basis.
India's invoicing model requires the prior validation of electronic invoices, called GST Invoices, by the government before they can be sent to buyers. To this end, the government has set up a series of portals called Invoice Registration Portals (IRP). Issuers of electronic invoices must submit them to an IRP which electronically signs the documents, applies a unique code called the Invoice Reference Number (IRN), and generates a QR code. Only invoices with an IRN code are valid.
There are several prerequisites for issuing electronic invoices in India. Issuers must:
- Be registered in the GST portal, and in the government’s e-invoice or e-way bill portal
- Possess a valid GSTIN code
- Have a technology provider capable of connecting to the government's hub and exchanging electronic invoices in line with the tax authority specifications
EDICOM's Global e-Invoicing Platform generates invoices in the GST INV - 1 format and sends them to the IRP for validation. They are then automatically reintegrated into the company's management system.
Beginning on 2022, electronic invoicing in Vietnam will be mandatory for companies and individuals providing goods or services. Self-printed invoices, pre-printed invoices, or invoices purchased from the tax authority will no longer be valid.
Prerequisites for electronic invoicing in the country include prior registration through the General Department of Taxation (GDT) website and approval by the tax authority. E-invoices are generated in an XML format, must include a digital signature, and are to be stored for a minimum of five years.
Taxpayers report data from electronic invoices to the tax authorities either directly or through an authorized service provider, such as EDICOM.
Beginning in January 2021 any company with a commercial license in Taiwan, whether foreign or domestic, will be obliged to invoice electronically. The e-invoice in Taiwan is called the Electronic Government Uniform Invoice (a.k.a. GUI or eGUI). The format, based on XML, is MIG-3.2.1.
To invoice electronically, companies must meet the following requirements:
- Possess an industrial and commercial certificate issued by the Ministry of the Economy
- Work with an electronic invoicing provider that can transmit invoices to the government's platform in line with the legislation
- Have previously requested a serial number from the tax authority that identifies the invoice
Electronic invoices must be digitally signed and submitted to the Ministry of Finance’s platform within 7 days of their issuance. Taiwan's e-invoicing legislation also requires the certified storage and preservation of the documents for at least five years.
Singapore launched its national invoicing system in 2019 through the European PEPPOL infrastructure, becoming the first country outside Europe to use the network for the exchange of electronic invoices between private companies. This year, e-invoicing extended to the B2G sphere when government agencies connected to the PEPPOL network.
To implement electronic invoicing in Singapore, issuers must:
Have an e-invoicing solution provider that can automatically send and receive electronic invoices in the PEPPOL standard
Have a PEPPOL Access Point provider. PEPPOL messages can only be exchanged between two Access Points (AP), meaning that both senders and recipients need to have an AP to operate in the PEPPOL network.
Obtain a PEPPOL identification number (ID). In Singapore, the PEPPOL Access Point itself is responsible for registering its client with the Service Metadata Publisher (SMP).
In 2018, the governments of Australia and New Zealand decided to implement their electronic invoicing project in tandem through the Australia and New Zealand Government Electronic Invoicing Arrangement. The following year, both countries joined the PEPPOL network to exchange e-invoices in the B2B and B2G sectors.
To send and receive electronic invoices in Australia and New Zealand, businesses must use an Access Point accredited by the PEPPOL authority in each country. The AP will be able to process messages according to the PEPPOL network specifications.
Additionally, both private companies and public entities need access to invoicing software that can transform electronic invoices generated in their management systems into the standard PEPPOL BIS Billing 3.0 format.
As a prerequisite for e-invoicing in New Zealand, companies must obtain a unique identifier called the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).
PEPPOL Point Certifications
More and more countries outside the European Union are adapting their systems to the PEPPOL network (Pan-European Public Procurement on-Line). PEPPOL was developed in Europe to promote cross-border public procurement, but its interoperability capabilities and powerful telecommunications infrastructure have allowed for its expansion to other countries.
EDICOM was certified by the international association OpenPEPPOL as an Access Point provider in 2015.
Outside of Europe, EDICOM has been accredited as an Access Point for the PEPPOL network in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2019, it was certified by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and in 2020, by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Trade, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Accreditation as a PEPPOL Access Point or “authorized third party” allows EDICOM to connect to the PEPPOL network, through which private companies and governments can exchange electronic documents of any kind.
EDICOM develops and maintains its PEPPOL solutions independently of third-party providers. This guarantees flexibility and agility in meeting the demands of the disparate markets that have implemented PEPPOL standards.
The use of EDI technology makes it easier to work in various local markets. The service offering that EDICOM provides is a Global e-Invoicing Platform, plus the capacity to quickly expand services and offer solutions wherever needed. This allows businesses an advantageous position in the international marketplace.
EDICOM’s recent efforts have been directed towards becoming a provider of electronic invoicing services in the APAC region. That includes achieving the necessary accreditations from governments and their tax authorities, as well as adapting the e-invoicing platform to align with the technical requirements in each country.
EDICOM currently offers EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and electronic invoicing solutions in over 70 countries. It has an international support center with a dedicated phone line for each operating country. The technical team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, monitoring and analyzing the performance of the solutions.