What is an electronic invoice?
An electronic invoice is a legal and fiscal substitute for the paper invoice, providing special security conditions to guarantee integrity and authenticity.
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Get to know the main features of e-Invoicing
An electronic invoice, or e-Invoice, is a legal and fiscal substitute for the paper invoice. This technological system is already a reality driven by mandatory regulations in all regions of the world. However, despite its expansion, there is still confusion about what electronic invoicing truly implies.
The primary misconception is that any invoice sent and received by electronic means is an electronic invoice. However, in addition to this condition, a series of requirements must be met to convert the digital document into an alternative with identical legal and fiscal attributes as those granted to its paper counterpart.
An electronic invoice is considered a valid original document if 3 key conditions are met:
Invoice format: A digital invoice format of greater or lesser complexity is required (EDIFACT, XML, PDF, X12...).
Electronic transmission: Telematic transmission is required. It must start from a computer and be picked up by another computer.
Integrity and authenticity: The document cannot be altered, thus guaranteeing its integrity and authenticity.
What is electronic invoicing like around the world?
For an electronic invoice to be considered a valid original document, it must comply with the specifications established by the legislation of the country from which it is issued:
Different regions have imposed the use of electronic invoicing on a massive scale to taxpayers. In many countries of Latin America, this invoicing system is mandatory for 100% of issuers. Some countries in Europe have made it a mandatory in relationships between Public Administrations and their suppliers.
Prior administrative formalities
Some states require the previous processes of application, registration, obtaining certificates, etc., as prior formalities that must be complied with before starting to issue electronic invoices.
In many cases, the invoice format in which the electronic document must be generated is defined and standardized, with XML being the most widespread language.
Fiscal control code
Countries that encourage the use of electronic invoicing to reduce tax evasion require control codes on the document. These are usually issued by the pertinent tax administration prior to sending the document to the customer.
It is common for the legislation of different countries to require an electronic signature on the invoice. This serves to guarantee the integrity of the document and the authenticity of its origin.
Different existing legislation on electronic invoicing requires the archiving of the original electronic documents under certain security and access conditions.
Our experts discuss electronic invoicing
Latin America and Europe are the two regions of the world with the highest acceptance of electronic invoicing.
Electronic invoicing in Latin America
Electronic invoicing in Europe
The benefits of electronic invoicing
Increased efficiency of administrative processes
Documents are issued, sent, received and recorded immediately and automatically. All processes are integrated with both the sender's and receiver's internal management systems. This level of automation significantly reduces errors associated with manual invoicing.
The cost of issuing, sending and receiving invoices is drastically reduced. Some studies have established a savings of approximately 90% compared to the cost of issuing and managing the same documents in paper format.
Reduction in response times
Efficiency in sending and receiving documents, immediacy of delivery, and the virtual disappearance of errors in the issuance of the document translates into a significant reduction in response and payment times.
Security of communication
The possibility of managing delivery of these documents through private networks such as a VAN (Value-Added Network), or through specific point-to-point protocols such as AS2, guarantees secure and confidential delivery.
At the same time, electronic signature processes allow the sender and receiver greater guarantees regarding content integrity and authenticity of origin.
Integration with management systems
The issuance of these documents can be automated from the data recorded in the internal supplier and creditor management systems. Moreover, their electronic receipt allows invoice recipients to automate their validation and consolidation. This allows direct recording without human intervention in the accounts payable management system.