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Technology Update
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What is actually an e-Invoice?

16/02/2015

Technology is already fully integrated in many aspects of our daily lives, including, for many of us, our working environment. For the past several decades, software and devices have revolutionized the way companies work, improving their communication possibilities in a globalized world and boosting their efficiency.

It comes as no surprise: Companies like to save. They like to save time, they like to save space and, most of all, they like to save money. This is driving us into a paperless way of working, in which recycling bins are nearly empty while our computers fill up with digital documents, e-Invoices being one of them.

What an electronic invoice is not

Not just any invoice on a computer screen can be considered an e-Invoice. Compliant Electronic invoices are not as simple as other digital documents, and it is easy to get them wrong. If the data is issued on an unstructured PDF or Word format document, it is unlikely to be an e-Invoice. The same applies to scanned versions of paper invoices. Even with these incomplete solutions, companies can save space, since no physical storage is needed, and money, because no printing or mailing is necessary. However, technology has much more to offer in the billing landscape.

What an e-Invoice actually is

E-invoice compliance is slightly more complex, but also has much more to offer. It is the exchange of an invoice document between a buyer and a supplier in an integrated electronic format. The format of the documents is crucial: they are processed according to a standardized format, normally through XML, and they can automatically flow from the distributor to the Accounts Payable system. Thanks to this automatic process, companies can save time and have a better control of their invoices.

For many e-invoices to comply with government protocol, they must also include an electronic signature to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the invoice, and a Tax Control Code, which validates the document for tax purposes and makes compliant electronic invoices highly secure documents. Because of this, governments can use them as a tool to control and to stamp out tax evasion.

While in some countries, like the United States, this system is not yet normalized, other countries, mainly from the Latin America region, have embraced digital invoice compliance as mandatory. This is why it is a tool strongly recommended for businesses with an international perspective.

First steps towards digital invoicing

When facing the path towards a paperless invoicing system, it is easy to find a number of complex legal and technical requirements, especially if the system is to be implemented on an international level. This is why EDICOM has developed an electronic e-Invoicing solution, which is constantly updated by a Permanent Electronic Invoicing analyst desk and administrated by dedicated technicians. EDICOM’s electronic invoice sending and receiving platforms are tailored to send and receive e-Invoices in any country, always respecting rules and regulations. This is why EDICOM has become the most trusted organization to undertake international digital invoicing projects.

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