E-invoices are only the tip of iceberg of the technical-business solution supporting the electronic business
(SOURCE: Newspaper Finance Jaka Žorž, 28 November 2014)
Having in mind a parallel line in the light of paper invoices production we can say that there are nearly the same request for the electronic ones whereas the production and verification run in the electronic form. In the process of paper invoices the enterprise within its accounting system prepares the invoice, prints it and finally it is examined and signed by the person in charge. Usually the invoice is stamped before enveloping. Then the envelope with the invoice and furnished with the stamp is sent to the buyer. It must be stressed that the enterprises are not sending the invoices by the registered mail; acknowledgement of the receipt is seldom used that provides the feedback information on and when the buyer has actually accepted the invoice.
How is e-invoice produced?
E-invoice should be produced in the similar way as the paper one if the accounting system is in the position to prepare XML file in the form of eStyle simple invoice version 1.5 or 1.6, as well as PDF for the visualization. The invoice for UJP (PPA) must be digitally signed and jointly with the attachments put into the envelope. Some difficulties may arise from such a process but luckily a lot of scenarios are available. If the accounting system doesn’t support eStyle invoices the enterprise is obliged to deploy external application converting the origin invoice file into the form of eStyle. For example some providers of the e-exchange and documentary system are able to facilitate such service. Some of the providers of the applications for the production of e-invoices ensure the production of e-invoices from PDF file or other files (mostly applied are the office programs) which are undertaken by the enterprises from ERP system or the accounting system or sometimes they are prepared manually. In the last period almost all of the leading providers of the business information systems have offered the users modifications for the issue of standard e-invoices and with the difficulties mentioned previously meet the enterprises applying niche systems of ERP, dedicated accounting systems or even combination of systems.
The next step, requiring careful consideration, is the process of e-invoices certification. Here we have in mind the contents control, as well as the financial control. The process formerly based on the paper documents has to be set in the electronic form. For this process the documentary systems or dedicated applications are to the most appropriate to be applied, having built-in process for the certification of issued invoices and the possibility of adding various attachments (reports on performed services, specifications, delivery notes ...). It must be stressed that for the general use in the economic sectors there is no need for digital signing of invoices or timestamps. This is compulsory only for the invoices issued by the enterprises for the budget users, for those transmitted to UJP (PPA) and not the other ones subject to the bank channels.
How to send e-invoices?
E-exchange of e-invoices itself is probably the less understandable part of the electronic business system. Let’s look at its basic characteristics. E-exchange is engaged in the transmission of invoices from the supplier to the buyer through the secure path. Transport system is usually linked to the user applications through so called Web services automating the transmission from the supplier application on the entry side to the buyer system on the exit side. The service may also cover the conversion of origin data into XML and PDF files, digital signature, selection of the recipient and monitoring the deliveries without any additional manual work. Such is for example ZZI bixBox service. The electronic banks require manual export and manual transmission of the e-invoices into the issuing online bank and some steps of signing, selection of the recipient and sending have to be taken into account. The banks use TRR identifier for the transmission and the majority of other networks use location codes or tax numbers.
The main benefits of the e-exchange service are reliable and certified deliveries, automation of the process of exchange from the conversion to transmission of the electronic invoices, as well as the receipt and the security and quality of the service. Contrary to the delivery by ordinary e-mail this service also provides the verification of sender, traceability and acknowledgement of the receipt or the information when the buyer has accepted the invoice.
The services of e-exchange are linked to ERP systems and other accounting systems with the solutions and services for the issue of e-invoices (SETCCE eNvoices, Genis i-Invoices, Bass eBilling ...). The providers of mostly applied services of the e-exchange are the Post of Slovenia and Panteon.net beside ZZI bizBox. Some of the users of documentary systems and applications for the issue of e-invoices have offered their services of e-paths in UJP.net without the enlarged use of the electronic exchange. In thee list of providers of the electronic paths that have concluded contracts for the e-invoices exchange with UJP (PPA) 39 enterprises are listed, among them are the providers of open networks for the e-exchange, producers of the business information systems and document systems, dedicated applications for the issue of electronic invoices and larger suppliers to the budget users issuing their invoices in UJP.net, without any brokers.
For the enterprises wishing to expand their e-business to the partners from the economic sector and in due course to facilitate the traceability of transmitting and receiving e-invoices would be appropriate to select one of the service providers of the e-exchange. In a favourable position are the providers of open networks, they are more flexible in integrating with the business systems and other services of the e-exchange under the supply chain.
How to handle e-invoices?
In the last years the issue of e-invoices has raised some points on the secure storage of electronic documents and has annoyed the enterprises mainly with the excessive administrative requirements. Policy area of e-invoices is stipulated by the latest amendments to the Value Added Tax Act (ZDDV-1G) in line to the audit trail and assurance of identification but the form of files nor distribution and e-signing are not defined.
Upon the deployment of e-invoices the enterprises should give consideration to the issue how to store these invoices. Issued invoices could be stored in the document system or on the file server itself. If they handle their data in a due diligence and take into account good practices of the information risk management they will not meet with the risk of losing the invoices.