The E-invoicing Checklist: let’s archive [part 14]

September 24, 2012  |  Electronic Invoicing, Publications

Archiving requires particular skills. Just ask the people at the UK National Archives. They hold over 1.000 years of the nation’s records. You’re archive probably doesn’t go back that far, but it still is important to prevent yourselves from digital Alzheimer’s. Just read this latest entry in the E-invoicing Checklist series and you’ll be fine.

When we think of e-invoicing and e-billing, we focus mainly on creating, sending, receiving and processing invoice information. However, archiving invoice information, together with all other administrative files, is as important as all other processes combined. By archiving information we prevent ourselves from developing digital Alzheimer’s.


Use the statutory retention period

The invoice (information) and its master data must be stored during the statutory retention period. Currently, (electronic) data must be stored between 5-10 years. Invoices related to immovable goods have to be stored longer.


Paper stays paper, electronic stays electronic

Basically, you need to store a paper invoice the way you sent it on paper. Store an e-invoice the way it was electronically sent, provisioned or exchanged. Paper invoices scanned into digital images can be destroyed if the digital images meet the requirements of an electronic invoice.


Either the original invoice is displayed as-is or the invoice can be reproduced

Currently, in some EU countries you can choose to reproduce your electronic invoices from the source data, while in other countries you must be able to show that the stored (electronic or paper) invoice is identical to the invoice that you sent.


Protect your invoice against theft, destruction, corruption and alteration

You should also ensure that your invoices (in fact your entire administration) are properly protected against theft, destruction, corruption and change.


No changes are made to the invoice

The invoice should not be changed. Not by human interference or error, and not due to changes in the master data. This should technically or otherwise (in processes) be made impossible. Still, if any changes were to be made, these changes should be visible and it should be clear what changes were made and why (comply or explain).


When retrieving invoices from an electronic archive, controls should remain in place

When an electronic archive is used, the archive itself should be able to guarantee the integrity(and authenticity, legibility and audit trail) of the stored invoices. The use of secure storage or relying on the security guarantees linked to the existing electronic invoice are good examples.


Billing information is available for tax audits within reasonable time

It has to be possible to export saved invoices for fiscal control and they should be available in a format that the competent tax authorities can check, e.g: XML, XLS, CSV, ASCII. It is quite logical that an e-archive can be distributed faster than a paper archive.


There is a simple way to search for/in invoice information

There has to be a simple way to retrieve a specific invoice from an archive (for example, an indexing system makes it easy to search by criteria such as customer name, date or invoice number).

We’ve only got a few more entries to go until we reach the end of the E-invoicing Checklist series, but we would still advice you to download your own personalised E-invoicing Checklist here.

Previously published articles in this series:
New series: The E-invoicing Checklist [part 1]
The E-invoicing Checklist: Manual [part 2]
The E-invoicing Checklist: Current EU e-invoicing basics [part 3]
The E-invoicing Checklist: The new EU E-invoicing Directive [part 4]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content – tax requirements [part 5]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content of the simple invoice [part 6]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content clarity and comprehensibility [part 7]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content payment instructions [part 8]
The E-invoicing Checklist: create your invoice [part 9]
The E-invoicing Checklist: It’s issuing time! [part 10]
The E-invoicing Checklist: receiving invoices [part 11]
The E-invoicing Checklist: verify your data [part 12]
The E-invoicing Checklist: manage your master data [deel 13]

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