Standardisation activities on e-invoicing
In the current environment, there is no globally used standard for electronic invoicing (e-invoicing). The diversity of data and usage requirements, and very different approaches to their implementation, have led to market fragmentation.
None of the existing formats has so far achieved dominance. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which is still used by many multinational companies is often impractical for the mass of Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Likewise many proprietary formats are only used by one multinational company and its suppliers. As a consequence, market players need to support multiple formats, necessitating the need for substantial mapping and conversion exercises.
One of the key challenges for e-invoicing deployment is to define a single and clear semantic data model. A common data model will facilitate semantic interoperability and ensure technology neutrality. As per the recommendations of the Expert Group on e-invoicing, the UN/CEFACT “Cross-Industry Invoice (CII) V2” should be adopted as the common reference semantic data model upon which future e-invoice content standard solutions are based".
Several European and international standardisation organisations are currently working on e-invoicing standardisation, as follows:
- The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is running a number of activities on specific e-invoicing implementation issues:
- Workshop on e-Invoicing - Phase 3 "eINV 3" (2010-2011)
- Workshop “Business Interoperability Interfaces for public procurement in Europe - Phase 2” (“BII 2”) (2010-2012)
- Workshop on e-business Board for European Standardization ("eBES")
- Joint workshops activity to design Implementation Guidelines for the "Core Cross Industry Invoice European Message"
- The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has developed and is maintaining the CII V2, and has cooperated with the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), for the convergence between the Universal Business Language (UBL) invoice and the CII.
The paper [291 KB] published in September 2012 addresses the major aspects of e-invoicing standardisation and outlines some conclusions for future actions.