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Electronic invoicing rollout in the European Union

16/10/2013

The European Union is moving towards a paperless Public Administration. The adoption of electronic invoicing in the Governments of the Member States has become one of the priorities on the Digital Agenda, due to the environmental and economic benefits entailed. In fact, it is estimated that savings could reach 2.3 billion euros.

To promote this initiative, on June 26, the Commission published a Directive on electronic billing in public procurement, which also aimed to improve interoperability among the different billing systems by means of a European regulation.

Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Austria currently lead the ranking in electronic billing uptake in the public sector. However, as of next year initiatives will be rolled out to enable several European Union countries to join this system.

In Italy, for example, the Administration’s gradual adhesion to the digital billing scheme is well underway and, according to the decree passed earlier this year, is due to finalize by June 6, 2015. Other states, such as Belgium, will prolong this term for almost another two years, until January 1, 2017.

In Spain, electronic invoicing becomes mandatory in the public sector as of January 15, 2015, except for invoices equal to or less than 5000 euros, as specified in the Draft Bill approved by the Council of Ministers in July this year.

The British Executive has also adopted measures to encourage electronic invoicing, both in the public and private sector, through its Economic Information Strategy. However, this document is not binding, but is rather put forward as a recommendation.

In France, although the obligatory use of electronic invoicing to work with the Public Administration is not foreseen, several efforts have been made in French legislation to encourage its uptake in the different Administrations in their relations with suppliers and creditors. Specifically, the 2008 law on Modernization of the Economy stipulates that by the deadline of January 2012, the State should be in conditions to receive “dematerialized” invoices from those suppliers wishing to deliver them by electronic means."

The advantages of paperless administration extend beyond the borders of the European Union. In recent weeks, we have heard about States such as Indonesia, Turkey or Kazakhstan making the move into electronic billing, although currently the most advanced countries in its implementation are Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

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