XInvoice: Are YOU ready

From November 27, 2020, all federal authorities will only accept electronic invoices (e-invoices) in structured data format. This means that paper invoices or invoices in PDF format will soon be a thing of the past in public administration. The standard for these electronic invoices is called XInvoice. Anyone issuing an invoice to public-sector customers must transmit it in XInvoice format if the order value exceeds 1000 euros.

XInvoice - What is it?

XInvoice is an XML-based, semantic data model that has been established as a standard for electronic invoices and is used in particular in invoice exchange with public-sector customers in Germany. The XInvoice standard was adopted in version 1.0 on June 22, 2017, at the 23rd meeting of the IT Planning Council for the Federal and State Governments. With the XInvoice standard, Germany is concretizing the European standard for electronic invoicing EN-16931 and thus significantly implementing Directive 2014/55/EU of the European Parliament and Council. With the introduction of electronic invoicing in public administration, electronic invoices can be sent to public clients uniformly throughout Germany according to this standard since April 2020.

The XInvoice is based on the XML format and provides all invoice information in a structured data format. As a result, it can be processed automatically and electronically without intermediate steps or media breaks. The correct addressing and forwarding of these electronic incoming invoices is made possible by a structured identification number, the so-called routing ID. Anyone who submits an invoice to a public-sector customer is notified of its routing ID in advance, e.g., as part of the contract award process. XInvoice is the new standard for electronic invoices in Germany. However, invoices that are sent by mail as PDFs or are subsequently converted to electronic formats are not electronic invoices.

What is the advantage of XInvoice?

The great advantage of electronic invoice formats is that they simplify accounting processes.

E-invoices can be transferred and processed automatically. This significantly shortens and optimizes workflows such as invoice verification, approval and payment. For example, the electronic invoice content can be validated more easily and read without errors due to the uniform format. In addition to saving time, automated invoice processing is also more cost and environmentally friendly.

Which companies need to send XInvoices?

Depending on the federal state, the XInvoicing requirement affects all companies that have public-sector clients. This can be, for example, construction companies that regularly execute large contracts for the public sector. Service companies or suppliers to public authorities will also have to convert invoices of more than 1000 euros to the new XInvoice format in the future.

When will the XInvoice format become mandatory?

As of November 27, 2020, federal contractors are required to switch to electronic invoicing for public contracts. Many state and local governments will follow suit in the coming months and years. However, individual federal states have their own legal requirements for electronic invoice exchange. Are YOU ready for XInvoice?

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