UBL 2.1 is now an ISO/IEC standaard. Big boost for e-invoicing!

Universal Business Language (UBL) has been available for over ten years now, and is becoming a predominant NEXTGEN format for electronic invoicing. In Europe and many other countries, the aim is that e-invoices will increasingly be distributed in UBL (sometimes in combination with PDF).

More and more governments, providers of accounting software and e-invoicing service providers support UBL. And now UBL 2.1 has officially been adopted as an international ISO / IEC standard. A major step towards UBL e-invoicing!

As we all know electronic invoicing is gaining more and more momentum. Governments and Tax Institutes and e-invoicing services providers stimulate electronic invoicing in several ways (at least in Europe). The European Commission wants e-invoicing to be predominant in 2020 and proposed that there should be a EU Core E-invoice in 2018.

This EU Core E-invoice has to cover both the standard as well as the syntax. One such format is UBL. UBL was developed within OASIS, a consortium that develops global standards. OASIS has recently awarded UBL version 2.1 the official status of ISO / IEC standard. These international standards have been developed to reduce the large amount of specific national standards back and create global uniformity.

The benefits of UBL e-invoicing

The benefit of sending invoices in UBL format is that it makes quite clear which invoice fields are delivered and what the content and meaning of these fields are. For example, using UBL it is always clear in which field the customer number located, which field should display the invoice amount and in which field the charged VAT is located. Based on the invoice information in their respective predefined standardised fields, it is easy to make a bookings proposal in you financial software. In fact by being able to receive UBL’s in suitable financial software, all the invoice is automatically processed. The only thing you have to do is to check the prefilled fields of your booking proposal and that’s it. You’re done!

And now the UBL 2.1 has formally received the ISO / IEC standard status, more and more barriers are removed for more advanced forms of e-invoicing (compared to PDF), saving organisations massive amounts of time and money.

Mind you, the good old PDF invoice remains of value in addition to a UBL invoice, because it is a readable entry document for administrators and be eligible as in fiscal and business transactions evidence. In practice therefore the e-invoice message often consists of an invoice in UBL format and an in PDF format.


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