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What is eInvoicing

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Electronic invoicing is the exchange of an electronic invoice document between a supplier and a buyer. An ‘electronic invoice’ is an invoice that has been issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format which allows for its automatic and electronic processing, as defined in Directive 2014/55/EU.

A structured electronic eInvoice contains data from the supplier in a machine-readable format, that can be entered into the buyers Account Payable (AP) system without requiring manual interference. Data can be delivered:

  • In an electronic data file
  • Through a portal
  • From data supplied in a machine-generated PDF

What is not an e-Invoice? 

  • Unstructured invoice data issued in PDF or Word formats
  • OCR (Scanned paper invoices)
  • Paper invoices sent via fax machines

A visualised, human readable version of the invoice may be created for reading purposes. This ‘companion pdf’ flows within the structured message, and is not considered an invoice in itself.

CEF eInvoicing Building Block

The CEF eInvoicing building block has the purpose to promote the uptake and accelerate the use of eInvoicing respecting the European standard, amongst both public and private entities established in the EU, as well as in participating EEA countries.

The CEF eInvoicing building block serves to support public administrations in complying with EU eInvoicing legislation, and helps service & solution providers adapt their services accordingly. The eInvoicing building block therefore foresees Administration to Business communication (A2B). However, eInvoicing can also be used to enable Administration to Administration communication (A2A).

Business to Business (B2B) and Citizen to Administration (C2A) or Citizen to Business (C2B) are not foreseen in the context of the eInvoicing building block. 

The technical management of the eInvoicing DSI is carried out by the Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) of the European Commission. Implementation of the EU policy directly related to eInvoicing is the responsibility of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) of the European Commission.

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