Austria is one of the European countries with compulsory e-billing with the public sector firmly in place. Since January 2014, all providers of goods and services to the Administration must use this system in their business relations, regardless of the value of their contracts. The aim is to cut down the use of paper and speed up operations to boost economic savings.
Estimates calculate that more than half of the country's companies, some 90,000, do business with the public or government sector. This explains why use of the technology has spread so rapidly. With e-invoicing, costs are reduced by 70% compared to the traditional paper-based process, which translates as an annual saving for the State of approximately €7 million euros.
As is occurring on a global scale, the Austrian government has its own electronic invoicing model, covered by the IKTKonGlaw. This standard supports two different formats. On one hand, the one known as ebInterface, an XML standard developed by AUSTRIAPRO and the University of Vienna. On the other, the PEPPOL international standard, created by the OpenPEPPOL association and used in other European regions such as Italy (Emilia-Romagna), Denmark, and soon the UK.
These formats also provide the option of sending bills to the administration through two different channels:
Via Unternehmensserviceportal or USP (Business Service Portal ). This is the best choice for companies wishing to use the ebInterface standard. Depending on each company’s particular features, the regulation provides for issuance of invoices by this method in three different alternatives:
Fill in a form in the portal and send it online. This is a suitable option for businesses that occasionally work with the Administration and only need to send one invoice, as the process is carried out manually and mistakes may be made.
Upload invoices manually. In this case, the process consists of creating invoices according to the standard demanded, using a free application and subsequently uploading them to the portal.
Creating and developing a “web service”. This is the ideal alternative for companies that frequently engage in commercial relations with the Administration It consists of hiring the services of an outside provider, such as EDICOM, which creates the e-invoices in line with the required standard and automatically forwards them to the public sector.
Like Austria, other European countries including Italy, Spain and Portugal have already rolled out e-invoicing in their administrations. Others, like France or Germany, are scheduled to do so soon. Each of these regions requires compliance with different technical and legal characteristics. This is why multinationals are faced with a considerable challenge.
To make adaptation easier and maximize the benefits of this system, EDICOM has developed an international e-invoicing platform aligned with the requirements laid down in more than 60 countries worldwide, including Austria. Through this ERP-integrated solution, companies can create invoices, dispatch them and connect with the government agencies as needed, totally automatically.