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How to send e-invoices to the Public Administration in France?

23/09/2016

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As each day goes by, suppliers to the Public Administration in France are increasingly closer to implementing electronic invoicing. As of next January, this system will be mandatory for large companies as well as central and regional official bodies. The process will continue gradually until 2020, with the incorporation of small and medium-sized companies. In total, the measure will affect thousands of taxpayers who are now asking themselves how they need to issue their invoices to the public sector in order to comply with Ordinance Nº 2014-697.

As the obligation affects very different profiles, from small businesses to large corporations, the regulation provides for different e-invoice sending options. We can distinguish them around two main typologies: automated solutions and manual solutions. Let’s take a look at how they work.

Manual solutions

This is the perfect option for suppliers to the administration that generate a low billing volume and have a very limited technological capacity. There is no need to implement anything to achieve fiscal dematerialization.

We find three different ways of manually issuing e-invoicing:

  • Web Portal

Taxpayers choosing this option need to key in the invoice twice: once in their own accounting and again in the Chorus Portal. This process thus requires time and can give rise to errors. For this reason, it is only advisable for businesses issuing fewer than 100 invoices annually.

  • Importing to Chorus Portal

Similar to the first option, but instead of keying in the invoice, the taxpayers can import it directly from their own systems. To do so, they must first generate a signed PDF file. In other words, the process is slightly shorter, but the security is low as the format is unstructured. This is why it is only recommended for companies generating between 100 and 1000 invoices annually.

Automated solutions

This type of solutions is designed for multinational corporations, those issuing more than 1000 bills annually, or those wishing to progress towards digital management.

In this case, the AIFE (Agence pour l’Informatique Financière de l’Etat) allows the use of two types of XML schema. On one hand, INVOICE UBL V2 and, on the other, UN/CEFACT CII (CCTS/NDR v3.0). Both are structured formats that provide strict security assurances and enable automatic generation and forwarding of messages to the public sector. In addition, they make integration between systems and applications possible.

Transmission takes place by EDI, with direct and secure indication protocols. With automation, the time employed in complying with tax obligations is cut, minimizing errors, improving productivity and, in consequence, increasing economic saving.

EDICOM has developed EDI solutions designed for businesses already using this technology that need to adjust to the current requirements, as well as those that have yet to implement a solution. In either case, the e-invoice issuing process is carried out immediately, in these 5 phases:

  • First of all, the platform captures the data automatically from the company’s ERP.
  • The information is then transformed into XML format.
  • The next step consists of validating the data to ensure that the file contains all the information required by the AIFE and the recipient administration.
  • Then, EDICOM connects with the Chorus Portal through the Public Administrations HUB, so all the invoices can be transmitted automatically.
  • Finally, the link with Chorus ensure traceability of the e-invoices. Companies can consult the status of their documents in real time through their own ERP.

The spread of e-invoicing among the public sector and its suppliers will lead to a significant lowering of economic costs compared to the traditional billing process. Total yearly savings are expected to be around €710 million. To find out more about this system, you can download the White Paper on e-invoicing with the Public Administration in France (available in French and English).

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