The entire globe is talking about digitization, but what does that actually mean? There is an enormous scale of understanding of the term, and, as a result, when it comes to the implementation of digitization projects. Especially concerning sensitive data, as for example in the area of finance, the bandwidth of definitions is copious. From the electronic storage and transfer of documents as PDF up to multiple and complex interfaces, the IT universe of a company offers countless opportunities. But how about digital communication? When our systems speak as they exchange data, do they really speak the same language?
Especially with regard to the special case of companies and public clients exchanging invoices, the IT Planning Council for the German Federal Government and Federal States (German: IT-Planungsrat für Bund und Länder) has been attending to this subject matter and, in July 2017, passed a standardization titled “XRechnung”. Its core element consists of a structured data format, which presents invoice contents in a specified way and is thus suited for automated and digitized further processing. Consequently, “XRechnung” – an XML-based semantic invoice data model – forms a solid basis for the exchange of electronic invoices under German administration. Following the predefined schedule for the introduction of “XRechnung”, starting from November 27 2020 companies are going to be obligated to transfer invoices to federal authorities in this standardized format. From that time, paper or PDF formats will only be accepted in special cases and under strict regulations.
The use of “XRechnung” in this first step concerns the exchange of invoices with federal authorities; federal states and municipalities will follow subsequently. For companies within the EU, electronic invoicing will be partially mandatory, as for instance in Italy, Spain or France. This requirement is based on a 2014 EU regulation with significant impact on Europe-wide procurement processes.
Besides VAT-relevant components, an “XRechnung” contains further information such as terms of payment, bank accounts and supplier data. In doing so, the principles for duly maintenance and preservation of books, records and documents in electronic format as well as for data access (German abbr.: GOBD) are met. In addition to the content, an establishment of a computer-aided process for the shipment, verification and processing of invoices can be viewed – within Europe, on nation, federal state and municipal level, but also in further steps for the entire B2B sector.
With “XRechnung”, an important step in dealing with public authorities has been taken into the direction of digitization. Advantages for all participants are clear: reduced costs, minimized temporal processes, and a subsequent increase of company liquidity through standardized data formats and processes.
ompanies shouldn’t ignore the imminent “XRechnung”. Use this opportunity to optimize your processes and save time and money. Just ask us! With its best-practice products for finance, PROMATIS ranks among the leading providers of functionally advanced and practice-oriented solutions. We have successfully implemented and seamlessly integrated “XRechnung” into the corporate IT of multiple internationally active customers.
Author: Sabine Rudolf
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