Archive for Standards

The USA are preparing to select a technical e-invoicing standard

The USA are preparing to select a technical e-invoicing standard

Today, it is calculated that over 250 e-invoice service providers operate in the U.S. market. They create, send, and receive more than 15 different e-invoice formats and 40+ different subsets, creating a complex and diverse environment for electronic invoicing in the U.S. The “Catalog of Electronic Invoice Technical Standards” It should lay the foundation for the U.S. market on selecting an invoice standard to accelerate the adoption of electronic invoicing by U.S. businesses.

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SCOBDO, the results are in! [event]

At this event, where also the government policy on e-invoicing is presented, conversion between e-invoicing formats is demonstrated, the underlying technology is shown and the practical use of the system is discussed.

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B2B Router supports the new EU e-invoicing standard via SMEtools

November 14, 2017  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing, Europe, Standards

To support SMEs in Spain, Italy and Belgium with the implementation of the new European standard a project has been launched: The SMeTOOLS project.

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PEPPOL Directory now live and available on www.peppol.eu

The directory is a free-to-browse, Open Source service, designed, built and operated on behalf of OpenPEPPOL, which makes it easy for PEPPOL participants to find each other in the network and identify each other’s capabilities.

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CEN TC434 and EN16931. How it belongs together and where to find what.

October 22, 2017  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing, Europe, Standards

This post was originally written by Philip Helger and originally published here. It tries to give a rough, collected overview on CEN/TC 434 and EN 16931, how it belongs together and where to find what.

The EN 16931-1:2017 was published on October 17th 2017 in the OJ. That means that from April 18th 2019 most public procuring entities must be able to accept e-Invoices complying to the UBL and CII syntax requirements defined in CEN/TS 16931-3-2 and CEN/TS 16931-3-3!

INTRODUCTION

In the beginning was directive 2014/55/EU. Article 3 starts with: “The Commission shall request that the relevant European standardisation organisation draft a European standard for the semantic data model of the core elements of an electronic invoice (the ‘European standard on electronic invoicing’).” This lead CEN to start PC 434 (Project Committee) which was later transfered to a TC (Technical Committee): CEN/TC 434.

STRUCTURE OF THE WORK BY CEN/TC434

The TC434 had 6 working groups concerning with the following topics:

  1. A European standard (EN) on the semantic data model for the core elements of an electronic invoice.
    Created: EN 16931-1:2017 Part 1: Semantic data model of the core elements of an electronic invoice.
    .
  2. A Technical Specification (TS) on a limited number of invoice syntaxes (formats) which fully comply with the EN.
    Created: CEN/TS 16931-2:2017 Part 2: List of syntaxes that comply with EN 16931.
    .
  3. A Technical Specification (TS) on the syntax bindings, i.e. information specifying how the semantic data model could be represented in the listed syntaxes (formats) and their automatic validation artefacts.
    Created:
    • CEN/TS 16931-3-1:2017 Part 3-1: Methodology for syntax bindings of the core elements of an electronic invoice
    • CEN/TS 16931-3-2:2017 Part 3-2: Syntax binding for ISO/IEC 19845 (UBL 2.1) invoice and credit note
    • CEN/TS 16931-3-3:2017 Part 3-3: Syntax binding for UN/CEFACT XML Industry Invoice D16B
    • CEN/TS 16931-3-4:2017 Part 3-4: Syntax binding for UN/EDIFACT INVOIC D16B
  1. A Technical Report (TR) covering the guidelines on interoperability of electronic invoices at the transmission level, taking into account the need of ensuring the authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the electronic invoices’ content.
    Created: CEN/TR 16931-4:2017 Part 4: Guidelines on interoperability of electronic invoices at the transmission level.
    .
  2. A Technical Report (TR) covering the guidelines on the use of sector or country extensions (as described in the Recommendation of the European Multi-stakeholder Forum on e-Invoicing) in conjunction with the European standard, including a methodology to be applied in the real environment.
    Created: CEN/TR 16931-5:2017 Part 5: Guidelines on the use of sector or country extensions in conjunction with EN 16931-1, methodology to be applied in the real environment.
    .
  3. A Technical Report (TR) covering the result of the test of the European standard with respect to its practical application for an end user.
    Created: CEN/TR 16931-6:2017 Part 6: Result of the test of EN 16931-1 with respect to its practical application for an end user.

WORKING WITH THE EN 16931

From a practical point of view this norm means, that all public entities performing public procurement cannot reject electronic invoices from April 18th 2019 if they are retrieved in UBL or CII formats complying to the norm. Certain receivers have an additional 12 month to comply to the requirements, ending up on April 18th 2020.

Because life would be too easy if EN 16931 was a “one size fits all” solution, there are already a lot of so called CIUSs developed. A CIUS is an additional specification on top of EN 16931-1:2017 that narrows certain fields for certain use cases. The methodology how a CIUS is defined, can be found in CEN/TR 16931-5:2017.

An unofficial self-declaration based list of CIUSs is provided by CEF. One upcoming task of CEN/TC 434 is to establish an official registry of CIUSs.

HOW TO GET THE NORM?

Good question. Currently you need to consult your local standardization body and BUY the standard documents. CEN/TC 434 is heavily trying to make the norm available for free, but they haven’t succeeded so far.

If you are impatient and would ask me what documents to buy I would suggest the following ones:

  • EN 16931-1:2017
  • CEN/TS 16931-3-1:2017
  • One or more of CEN/TS 16931-3-2:2017CEN/TS 16931-3-2:2017 or CEN/TS 16931-3-3:2017 – depending on what you want to implement
  • CEN/TR 16931-5:2017

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

Mostly it is about validating, if a UBL or CII documents fulfills all the requirements from the norm. Therefore the following steps need to be performed:

  1. Validate the e-Invoice against the XML Schema of UBL 2.1 or CII D16B – depending on the namespace URI of the XML root element
  2. Apply the Schematron rules for the correct syntax. Schematrons are currently available from GitHub but the licensing of these artefacts is still under discussion. A fully working open source validation engine is available at https://github.com/phax/peppol-validation-engine/ licensed under the business friendly Apache 2 license. It supports UBL, CII and additionally XML EDIFACT invoices.
  3. If you need to follow a certain CIUS, apply the Schematrons of the CIUS in the correct order as well. As there are currently no published CIUSs, there is also no predefined tool support for this. An unofficial self-declaration based list of CIUSs is provided by CEF

OPEN ISSUES PER 2017-10-17

CEN/TC 434 is a pilot project, because it is the first CEN TC that is mandated by law and therefore certain things need to be clarified inside CEN before they are resolved for the users.

The biggest discussion points are currently the costs for the norm (too much) as well as the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) issues concerning the copying and reusing of the norm documents or of parts of these documents. E.g. you are not allowed to reuse a document on different devices or outside the country you purchased it in.

Also the licensing of the Validation Artefacts is currently unclear. Are they part of the norm or not?

GLOSSARY

Term Description
CEN Comité Européen de Normalisation – European Committee for Standardization
CEN/TC CEN Technical Committee – working group
CII UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice – XML representation of an invoice
CIUS Core Invoice User Specification – A specification based on EN 16931-1:2017 that defines certain elements more narrow
EN European Norm – has tighter binding than TR and TS
EN 16931 European Norm instance with ID 16931 – this is the EN that contains the semantic data model for electronic invoices in Europe
TR Technical Recommendation – has lower binding than EN and TS
TS Technical Specification – binding between EN and TR
UBL ISO/IEC 19845 Universal Business Language – XML representation of an invoice

EXTERNAL LINKS

This chapter contains some external links that you might consider helpful:

 

E-Invoicing Standard EN-16931 Launch Event

The event is to celebrate the official publication of the standard and to provide a platform for the public and private sector to exchange views and expertise with regard to approaches for the implementation

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Italy to launch CIUS-IT: the first CIUS based on e-invoice standard EN-16931 [UPDATE]

It will be interesting to see which countries will also implement EN-16931 together with a CIUS and how it will differ from this and other CIUS-es.  And that raises an other question: does your financial software allow for country specific invoice templates based on UBL? Is it CIUS-ready? This could become a big uh-oh for the successful adoption of e-invoicing in Europe.

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Turkey moves to enlarge e-bill and digitize logistics, agriculture and professional service invoicing

August 28, 2017  |  Compliance, Europe, Government, Standards

The Turkish Revenue Authority (“TRA”) has published on 25/08/2017 not one, but two draft communiqués on more digitization.

The first draft consists of bringing a change in the obligatory use of the Turkish e-bill project (“e-arsiv”). The current legislation obligates taxpayers that have made any amount of sales over e-commerce and surpasses the total annual gross turnover level of 5 million TRY. As of 25/08/2017, 8261 taxpayers are issuing e-bills to receivers which fall outside the e-invoice obligation area. The e-bill users are also obligated to use e-invoice. Among other procedures designed to legislate e-commerce in general, the drafted Communiqué’s Article 5 suggests to amend the gross turnover level down to 1 million TRY. This is sure to encompass a larger obligatory population as it translates to any taxpayer making even 0.01 TRY e-commerce sale will have to issue all its invoices either on e-bill. Taking into account to growth in local e-commerce sales the Turkish public in general will be getting less and less paper invoices or bills. Peculiarly taxpayers with a turnover between 1 to 5 million TRY will not be jointly obligated to use e-invoicing, unlike those with a turnover of and above 5 million TRY.

The second and maybe the more important communiqué draft aims to digitize new fields;

  1. The much awaited e-dispatch note,
  2. farmer’s receipts and
  3. professional service receipts (i.e. medical doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.)

with a target obligation date of 01/07/2018.

e-Dispatch note

The system will be available very much like the TRA’s current methods of e-invoicing. Taxpayers will use the system either through licensed e-invoice providers or direct integration to TRA via systems on-premise or the proposed limited TRA webportal.

(eFinans is currently ready with its webservice guides and offers test and development environments for e-dispatch note. As all e-invoice users are obliged to received e-dispatch notes for any incoming parcels. It has started coaching its 130+ software partners to develop their connecting software to serve their clients’ needs on eFinans’s development environment. For more information please consult international@efinans.com.tr )

Farmer’s Receipt

The system is currently relatively unclear compared to e-Dispatch note. Proposedly it will run one-way much like the Turkish e-bill “e-arsiv” does. Obligated taxpayers will keep their copy of the farmer’s receipt digitized while continuing to issue in paper format to farmers.

Taxpayers will use the system either through licensed e-invoice providers or direct integration to TRA via systems on-premise or the proposed limited TRA webportal. Technically it is already known from experiences in e-arsiv that the direct integration is largely undesired by taxpayers due to high costs and relatively difficult IT audit requirements involved.

(eFinans is currently expecting technical XML samples and shall be ready shortly after TRA announces these technical details, with its webservice guides and offers test and development environments. For more information please consult international@efinans.com.tr )

Professional Service Receipts

The system is currently relatively unclear compared to e-Dispatch note. Proposedly it will run one-way much like the Turkish e-bill “e-arsiv” does. Obligated taxpayers will keep their copy of the receipt digitized while continuing to issue in paper format to service receivers. However, unlike the farmer’s receipt, the receiver here will receive the paper receipt upon request. This signifies an operating procedure much akin to the current Turkish e-bill process.

Taxpayers will use the system either through licensed e-invoice providers or direct integration to TRA via systems on-premise or the proposed limited TRA webportal. Technically it is already known from experiences in e-arsiv that the direct integration is largely undesired by taxpayers due to high costs and relatively difficult IT audit requirements involved.

(eFinans is currently expecting technical XML samples and shall be ready shortly after TRA announces these technical details, with its webservice guides and offers test and development environments. For more information please consult international@efinans.com.tr )

Europe launches validation services for E-invoicing standard EN-16931 [UPDATE]

August 28, 2017  |  Europe, Standards

Europe has finally launched an e-invoice validation service, dedicated to the validation of invoices that follow the CEF eInvoicing specifications, notably the UBL 2.1 and Cross Industry Invoice (CII) syntaxes.

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My suggestion for the CEF Telecom 2017-3 call for proposals on e-invoicing

Doesn't it feel a bit weird that EU community money (!) was spent on a new standard that is aimed be used by everyone, mandated (!) in the EU, but that is not freely available (!) because CEN holds the IP rights (!), and meanwhile there is €4 million available to promote adoption of this standard?

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