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No longer paper invoices

The German federal government no longer accepts paper invoices

Austrian Suppliers must switch

Effective 18 April 2020, German local authorities and state governments are legally required to accept electronic invoices from their suppliers. On the federal level, this is already the case. For the supplier side, the phase of voluntary electronic invoicing will soon be over. “Austrian businesses should now make sure they get technical access to the new electronic XRechnung system, or else the German federal government will no longer accept their invoices after 27 November 2020*,” said Gerd Marlovits, the CEO of EDITEL, Austria’s leading service provider for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

EU directive 2014/55/EU requires all public clients or concessionaires to accept and process electronic invoices. While this directive dates to 2014, some member states are only now gradually transposing it into national law. The German authorities’ strict requirements are thus not related to the fight against the Covid-19 virus. But it comes at a convenient time because paper invoices oftentimes go through many different hands, making them ever less popular. In addition, switching to e-invoices offers quite a few advantages. “The use of e-invoices reduces the room for error and also involves less work and paper. Ultimately, they help save money and considerably decrease the environmental impact,” said Gerd Marlovits, CEO of the internationally active Viennese EDI service provider.

E-invoices have many advantages

Also, if structured digital data are exchanged during the invoicing process, invoices usually get paid faster. It allows invoice recipients to process the data easily and automatically. Soon, the German federal government will no longer accept PDF invoices that include no structured data. The same applies to scanned paper invoices.

The most convenient, fastest and most secure way of sending invoices to German authorities is the fully automated transfer via the PEPPOL network (Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine) supported by all German authorities. “As a leading EDI service provider in the CEE region, EDITEL helps Austrian businesses get technical access to PEPPOL. Upon request, we can also check invoices, convert them to XRechnung and transfer them automatically,” explained the expert.

Different deadlines for authorities and suppliers

Austrian consumer goods suppliers, especially those that deliver cleaning products, toilet paper, and groceries, are especially affected by this transition because they usually deliver supplies on a regular basis. However, different deadlines* apply both to suppliers and specific authorities in Germany. The federal government is already required to accept e-invoices. State governments and local authorities since 18 April 2020, as well. On the other hand, suppliers and service providers for federal agencies are required to provide their invoices electronically from 27 November 2020. Before that, it can be done on a voluntary basis. There are no standardized deadlines for suppliers when it comes to submitting invoices to state governments and local authorities because every state can define its own rules.

Mag. Gerd Marlovits, CEO Editel Austria © Editel/Nadja Nemetz

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