The electronic invoice is a powerful tool promoted internationally that brings a multitude of benefits to companies. Although as a rule there are a number of similarities in e-invoicing projects between different countries, the multitude of types of formats, platforms, legal regulations or the level of technological development make the electronic invoicing differ from one country to another.
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From 18th April, 2019, the public administrations of all EU Member States are compelled to electronically receive and process their invoices. This concerns any B2G (Business-to-Government) and G2G (Government-to-Government) trades and transactions within the European Union.
The 2014/55/EU regulation is aimed at standardise a common European e-invoicing format, so that any public or private supplier is able to work with European public administrations seamlessly. Developing cross-border trade falls under the main EU goals.
Electronic invoice or e-Invoicing is a way of proving transactions in a more reliable, convenient, and safe way. It fulfils the same role as traditional invoice and is legally equivalent although it has many more benefits, becoming an essential resource for companies.
This is why implementation of electronic invoicing systems continue growing on several economic sectors. It is a widespread fact both in Europe and Latin America. Taking Spain as an example, during 2018, 181,884,086 electronic invoices were issued, 14.92% more than in 2017. Thanks to this, Spanish companies saved more than €900,000,000 on invoice reception handling that year. Across the Atlantic, e-Invoicing has reached the US, Canada and all over South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, getting over Europe as per implementation degree.
Estonia, like many other European countries, has decided to implement mandatory eInvoicing for the country’s public procurement. This decision is included in the modification of the Accounting Act that was published on 27 December 2016, which established that all contracting authorities (central, regional and local) must accept and process machine-processable invoices as of 1 March 2017.
Mandatory electronic invoicing with Czech institutions was established in the country on 1 October 2016, the year in which European countries such as Switzerland and Croatia also made it mandatory.
The first legislation requiring electronic invoicing for working with European public administrations came into force in February 2005. Denmark became the first European country to impose the mandatory sending and receiving of electronic invoices in B2G relations.
Electronic invoicing has been a reality in Sweden since 2008, when Ekonomistyrningsverket - ESV (Sweden’s National Financial Management Authority) established mandatory electronic invoicing for the agencies of Sweden's central government.
When we talk about the format for electronic invoicing, this refers to the structure of the file which supports the invoice itself and its legal content. In the case of Spain, the Tax Agency has established XML, which is used in the Facturae structure, previously known as AEAT-CCI, as the official format.
As in many other countries in Europe, Austria has been promoting B2G eInvoicing for several years. Electronic invoicing was regulated as far back as 2012, when the Austrian Bundesministerium Finanzen published its Austrian ICT Consolidation Act (ICTKonG). Section 5 of that Act established the requirement to use electronic invoicing in the country’s public procurement: a fact which included the national and international suppliers working with the country's federal authorities.