How do e-invoices to the federal government work?
Step by step instructions for submitting e-invoices to the federal government
Since early 2014, all companies that provide goods or services to one of the roughly 1,600 departments of the federal government in Austria have been legally required to issue their invoices in electronic format only. Invoices sent via fax or e-mail are not allowed because these documents cannot be processed electronically by the federal government. In case you are about to become a subcontractor to the federal government, this EDI Blog posting will guide you through the process step by step and explain what you need to know about issuing e-invoices to the federal government and which customized solution might be your best option.
If you provide goods or services to departments of the Austrian federal government, you have to issue your invoices electronically (e-invoices). There is no way around this. However, several options for issuing these invoices exist. The federal government offers different options, ranging from manual recording and uploads in a predetermined format to automated invoice transmission. The option you choose will primarily depend on your technical possibilities and especially on the amount of invoices you expect to issue. If you have an ERP system and also issue e-invoices to the federal government on a regular basis, you will choose a different option than a company that only issues one invoice every three months.
Your registration on the Company Service Portal
Before starting your contractual relationship with any federal agency, you must register on the Company Service Portal (USP). The illustration below shows all subsequent steps.
EDITEL’s online services allow you to see the status for every transmitted invoice whenever you want. This also includes the PDF issued by the federal government/the Federal Data Center if invoices were accepted as well as any error messages. If you encounter any problems, our EDITEL support team will be happy to help.
After your e-invoices have been successfully transmitted or any necessary changes have been made, the federal government will subsequently authorize payment.
Reduces workload and increase efficiency
Compared to previous processes, the automated transfer of e-invoices straight from your ERP dramatically reduces your workload and increases efficiency. If you work for the federal government on a regular basis or if you have reason to believe that this volume will increase in the future, you should consider transferring your e-invoices via EDITEL (see illustration). Ideally, conversion and mapping are also done by the same provider, and we will be more than happy to take care of that for you.
Also, don’t forget that not only departments of the federal government, but also other clients such as provinces, regional authorities and external companies of the federal government are increasingly requesting e-invoices (on a voluntary basis) so that they can process these documents electronically. For you as an entrepreneur, one of the benefits is that you usually receive payment for your pending invoices much sooner than before. This is a win-win situation on all levels.
Generally speaking, e-invoices to public authorities are a European issue. Many countries have introduced rules, some of which vary greatly. One example is our neighboring country Germany, where e-invoices to the federal government have been mandatory since late 2020 (XRechnung; with different deadlines for regional authorities).
My colleagues and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about invoices to public authorities. Please use the contact box on the right to send your inquiry.
About the author
Head of Sales at EDITEL Austria
EDITEL, an EDI service provider, is the internationally leading provider of EDI solutions (EDI = Electronic Data Interchange). The company specializes in the optimization of supply chain processes for companies of all sizes and in all industries.
Portrait photo copyright Editel/Petra Spiola
Symbolic image copyright pixabay
Graphic copyright EDITEL Austria GmbH