France on the wave of electronic invoicing
Nearly 100 million invoices per year, 1 115 000 public sector service providers, 77 500 affected public entities – in France, the state has had to receive all invoices from suppliers electronically from the 1st of January 2012. That is why the special portal Chorus-factures was created. It allows one to record and monitor the progress of the invoice, i.e. from receipt to payment, whereas the invoice is automatically transferred to the Chorus information system (software).
On the 1st of January 2017, the requirement for the electronic receipt of invoices will extended to the local authorities and public institutions that will recently have to not only receive, but also issue all invoices electronically. This system will gradually involve all service providers to the public sector, according to the following schedule:
• from the 1st of January 2017, large enterprises (over 5 000 employees) and public entities;
• from the 1st of January 2018, midsize companies (250 to 500 employees);
• from the 1st of January 2019, small and medium-sized enterprises (10-250 employees);
• from the 1st of January 2020, micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees).
The State Agency for Financial Information Systems (AIFE) is, therefore, currently developing a joint solution – The Chorus Pro system. The new free of charge solution is based on a system of transfer of electronic data interchange (EDI). The suppliers connected in this mode transmit invoices via a so called “flow” in the form of the structured data files.
For the suppliers with fewer invoices, there is a second option for electronic communication – namely XML or PDF formats (signed or unsigned). In the Chorus Pro system, the invoices will be archived for 10 years, the entire system will be accessible via the Internet.
Other European countries are also on their way to paperless billing , such as Denmark where the exchange of invoices with the state sector has been compulsory in electronic form since 2005, the Netherlands and Germany are planning to introduce this obligation by the end of 2018.