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E-Invoicing formats on the international landscape

25/05/2015

One of the things that make of electronic invoices such useful documents is the pre-established format they must comply with. Just in case this wasn’t clear enough yes, e-Invoices are a very specific kind of files, and PDF documents or scanned paper-based bills won’t do it. The format in which they are issued is crucial, as it is one of the features that make these documents remarkable.

E-Invoices are normally issued on an Extensible Markup Language, or XML-based format. This is a markup language both readable for human and machines, that allows files to flow from the companies’ ERP to the customer automatically.

Normally, regardless of the format, an electronic invoice will include the same information as its paper-based equivalent. However, this format allows the inclusion of additional elements, like a digital signature, that will moreover assure the authenticity and integrity of the document, and validate its use for tax control purposes, for example.

 

International e-Invoicing formats

Being familiar with the e-Invoicing format is particularly relevant for companies working on an international scale, since this paperless billing system is stablishing itself as mandatory in many countries across Europe and Latin America.

Even if the e-Invoicing basics remain the same in different regions, this electronic system is not rolling out uniformly around the world, and different countries are applying their own criteria, so that minimum data for invoices, and also their format, can vary from country to country.

In Latin America, for instance, many countries have their own XML-based e-Invoicing format. It is Comprobante Fiscal Digital a través de Internet (CFDI) for Mexico, Nota Fiscal Eletrônica (NFE) for Brazil or Documento Tributario Electrónico (DTE) for Chile. When issuing e-Invoices in these countries, companies must follow the specific format requirements for each country.

In Europe, according to the latest EU VAT directive, all invoices must contain a minimum set of data for both full and simplified invoices. This minimum set of data can, however, still vary across countries. For the last years, Spain has been developing an XML-based format called FACTURAE, while in Turkey an Universal Business Language (UBL) standard is used.

Ready to comply with all formats

In order to successfully comply with all the format requirements, international companies can rely on technological partners that can issue e-Invoices on an international scale. With this purpose, EDICOM launched an International e-Invoicing solution, which Is constantly updated to make sure that electronic invoices are issued complying with all specifications and in the right format no matter what country they are heading to.

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