On 16 April 2014, the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement on the Directive on e-invoicing in public procurement. The Directive was published in the Official Journal on 6 May 2014 and entered into force on the 20th day following its publication.
Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) refers to the process of issuing, transmission, and reception of invoices in a structured electronic format which allows for their automatic and electronic processing. By automating these processes, e-invoicing can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of invoicing for both senders and recipients.
On 26 June 2013 the European Commission issued a proposal for a Directive on e-invoicing in public procurement. The Directive aims to facilitate the use of e-invoicing in Europe – and therefore contribute to its greater uptake - by removing market barriers resulting from insufficient interoperability between e-invoicing systems and setting out rules for the reception of e-invoices by the public sector. Specifically, the Directive calls for the development of a European standard for e-invoicing, and obliges all contracting authorities and contracting entities across the EU to receive and process e-invoices complying with the future standard.
The Directive was accompanied by a Communication setting out the Commission's vision for the digitisation of the entire public procurement process from publication to payment, referred to as 'end-to-end e-procurement'.