France and Germany working on common e-invoicing format
The European Union works constantly to improve the effectiveness of economic activity in the internal market, with focus on digitization and business development so that there are no barriers to online opportunities. This is part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market project, which aims to open up digital opportunities for people and businesses in the EU. Related to this transformation are European initiatives such as PEPPOL, a project focused on critical e-Procurement components and solutions for e-communications with any European government institution in the procurement process, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.
Now, the head of the "Forum Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland (FeRD), Stefan Engel-Flechsig, has announced a Franco-German initiative on e-invoicing involving the development of a common technical standard for electronic accounting. These two countries started their bilateral cooperation in 2014, focused on two areas: a common Franco-German accounting form that can be used the same way in both countries and takes into account the requirements of the future EU accounting form, and dealing with legal requirements for e-invoices and scrutiny by the auditors in both countries.
The definition of this common standard is based on the concept of “hybrid calculation” consisting of a PDF A / 3 and XML UNCEFACT D16.B as ZUGFeRD, with the intention that SMEs can also take advantage of the process and exchange electronic invoices with their business partners. Five common profiles are defined (M, Basix WL, Basic, Comfort and Extended). The German-French standard will be given a common name and should be completed by March 2017 and in line with the data model and syntax with the European standard.
The CEN members have unanimously agreed that UBL and UN/CEFACT are the two syntaxes that shall set the future European standard. The next step will be creating the technical specifications to facilitate its implementation. With the new European standard for e-invoicing, the EU aims to encourage public procurement and e-commerce in the cross-border scope.