7 Questions on the new core EU invoice data model

June 1, 2011  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

Question 230x200Based on the final report of the Expert Group on e-Invoicing and on and EC decision a new core EU invoice format was developed, which is now open for public review. How and why was this core EU invoice format build? What makes is stand out? And, is it going to aid massive adoption of e-invoicing?

Background
In its massive end-2009 final report, the Expert Group on e-Invoicing (EG) proposed that all actors in the new European Electronic Invoicing Framework (EEIF) adopt a common invoice content standard and data model. This content standard and data model should be based on the UN/CEFACT Cross-Industry Invoice.  The EG also recommended the development of a reference semantic data model to clarify the European context, to make ensure that everyone implementing e-invoicing does it in a uniform way.

Option for wider interoperability
A joint eBES, eInvoicing-3 and BII2 project was set up to develop a core European invoice as well as an implementation guideline. This resulted in a CEN-CWA that represents an agreement on the content and rules for a core invoice for conducting trade within the European Union and its affiliate countries. As such it does not mandate that trading partners structure their invoices accordingly but provides an option that may facilitate wider interoperability than bespoke implementations.

Core EU Invoice: some questions
The goal of the CEN-CWA is to provide a common set of e-Invoicing requirements for Europe only. That way the core invoice and its implementation guidelines would enable the use of the core EU invoice in the European context and in the European market.

So, after UBL2.0, CII and ISO20022 the end-user experiences the emergence of yet another standard.

Those end-users got it wrong of course, because it’s not yet another standard, it is a: “European reference semantic data model for a core EU invoice” based on UN/CEFACT CII. Of course there is a more or less mapping between standards. But from an end-users perspective, the first question that emerges is: “isn’t this yet another standard?”

And, even though the group has based its work on results already developed by CEN workshops like: eBES, eInvoicing-3 and BII2 some additional end user questions emerge:
2. Why yet another standard, why wasn’t UBL2.0 taken into consideration?
3. What makes the EU stand out that it needs its own semantic data model?

Question 4: Standards fragmentation
The project that created this CWA recognizes

“It is expected that other syntax providers will develop similar mapping of the CORE invoice model and implementation guidelines for use in European context. This work therefore respects the fact that in the short term the market will use series of syntaxes,…”

and

“[It] does not support data that is specific to a particular industry nor does it aim to provide support for data that may be required in other regions.”

as well as

“Emphasis is on supporting business processes and legal requirements that are concerned with processing the invoice itself as a business document but support for related processes is limited to the most common forms of those processes. It is thus NOT intended to be usable for ALL circumstances.”
It seems that the MUG project recognizes that this core EU invoice standard isn’t the holy standardisation grail that will help massive e-invoicing

Those motivations lead to additional questions

4. Doesn’t this lead to subsets of a new standard?
5. Doesn’t this (a new standard and its subsets) lead to additional standards fragmentation

6. What about all those other message types in the supply chain? Are going to be Europeanised too?
7. How to enforce the adoption and implementation of this new standard?

More information and comments
The multi parts draft CWA on “CORE European INVOICE data model with UN/CEFACT CII Implementation Guideline” is now under public comment.

Any comment can be sent to the Workshop Secretary Mr Tim Kniep (tim.kniep[at]nen[dot]nl ) by 31 July 2011 at the latest using the form available with the draft CWA at:
http://www.cen.eu/cen/Sectors/Sectors/ISSS/Activity/Pages/MUG.aspx


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