Since 1 January 2013, The European regulation (Directive 2010/45/eu) allows to send electronic invoices as simple email/PDF. Given the equality principle between paper and electronic, companies are no longer required to use electronic signatures or EDI to guarantee authenticity and integrity of e-invoices.
As long as a service or product delivery can be proven, invoices can be transmitted electronically without any particular constraints. Very good news for the uptake of electronic invoicing.
Why therefore use an integration platform to do what anyone can freely do from a PC?
Here are 5 good reasons to use an integration platform.
1. Traceability of receptions
Email sending, although statistically very reliable, doesn’t allow to track the opening of your invoice by your customer.
A (good) integration platform will provide you with the time when the receiver opened your PDF invoice. Traceability of sendings (and potential re-sendings) as well as receptions remains available throughout the conservation period of your invoices.
This functionality can certainly help in some customer discussions.
2. Integration within accounting systems
The vast majority of PDF sendings gets printed at reception for manual capture. At best, PDF invoices end up in an OCR system that also requires human intervention before capture in the accounting system.
The solution is to send a structured file that can be integrated into the accounting system. Thanks to an integration platform, you can send, in addition to the PDF version, a XML (UBL2.X) or other format that your customers would request. The UBL2 format can now be automatically recognized by a growing number of accounting systems, including your own in which your sales invoices must also be captured.
Each automatically integrated invoice in accounting (on any of the 2 sides) saves a few euros.
3. Branding of the company
Even if not legally required, sending a signed documet with an electronic certificate projects an image of quality of the issuing company and re-assures the receiving company.
An integration platform will enable you to certify your invoices in a way that reflects the reliability, security and modernity of your company.
4. Secure archiving
Beyond the strict sending, an integration platform provides a secure environment to archive and easily retrieve your invoices. In many cases, the integration platform will prove useful to archive all invoices, including those that are still sent on paper.
Sending an email remains a manual process. Depending on volumes, this can still be a time and money consuming activity.
Thanks to the integration with your invoicing system, you’ll be able to automate the invoice data exports and the creation of emails. The automatic process can take care of translating the email into the language of your customer and of other specificities.
The sending will take place from a platform that can handle large volumes and avoids your emails to be treated as spams for example.
In brief, despite the welcome regulatory simplifications, an integration platform delivers valuable benefits for many companies.
The arguments brought forward in this article sum up the reported comments of Babelway customers, large and small companies alike, currently using Babelway very happily.
Whether through an integration platform or not, it’s high time you start sending e-invoices.