Join the SCOBDO conference on December 8th 2017: International standardized e-invoicing with eVerbinding within reach
November 30, 2017
SCOBDO enabling e-invoicing
The most important bottleneck for adoption of e-invoicing is the uptake of e-invoicing interfaces by providers of standard (ERP and financial) software packages. Software providers are reluctant to produce and offer such interfaces, as standards for e-invoice formats are not stable (and there exist many of them). The same is true for users of dedicated administrative software in governmental organisations. Therefore the University of Groningen joined forces with eVerbinding, (providing e-invoicing based on the Collabrr platform solution of Vanenburg Software) Ministry of Economic Affairs, Logius, the Municipality of Groningen, Vanenburg Software and GEFEG.mbH and started the project ‘Semantic conversion of business documents’ in short SCOBDO. SCOBDO has been selected for funding under the CEF program of the European Commission. See the overview of participants.
According to European directive 2014/55/EU, from 2019 onwards all governmental bodies in Europe must be able to receive and process electronic invoices. These electronic invoices must comply with a European Norm, EN 16931 that is still to be published by CEN, the European Committee for Standardization.
Presently, many different formats exist for electronic invoices. Service providers will offer to convert these formats to and from the EN 16931 format, but for doing so, they need precise specifications of the formats. The meaning of all invoice elements (the semantics) need to be defined and the technicalities (syntaxes) need to be documented.
Presently, almost each country uses a different format for e-invoices. In some countries, multiple formats are used. Formats have versions and variants. For example in the Netherlands, Edifact invoices (in different versions) are used in retail and transport, HRXML is used in temporary staffing, UN/CEFACT XML is used in agriculture and horticulture, OHNL (a UBL dialect) is used by the government and Peppol Bis (another UBL dialect) is used by various other industries.
The emerging norm EN 16931 (the main product of CEN/TC434) aims to replace all these formats, but for some time will need to co-exist with them. Software will not be adapted to that norm, unless the owner has a strong business case. This means that in fact yet another format is added to the collection.
Services will appear (and are already existing) to convert instance messages from one format into another. The mappings between formats, these services need, are created manually. The formats are manually compared and field-by-field a mapping is made. The semantics of most formats are however described in a fuzzy, unprecise way, so interpretations are needed. This may lead to mapping faults and ultimately to disputes on the business level.
For the longer term, many industries will define extensions to EN 16931, in order to accommodate their requirements. Some of those requirements will be common among industries, e.g. the accommodation of multiple deliveries on an invoice. A coordination mechanism is needed to ensure that similar solutions are chosen for similar requirements.
With the many existing formats, versions and extensions, the mapping effort for the conversion services is huge: it grows quadratically with the number of formats. As it is to be expected that trade is not hindered by intra-European borders, the services ultimately need to support most of the formats in use in all European countries and industries. For most service providers, the costs involved will become prohibitive.
The knowledge and practice from eVerbinding about e-invoicing using the Collabr platform, provided by Vanenburg software is a great fundament to facilitate an international e-invoicing standard.
How does it work?
Final SCOBDO Public Conference – 8 December 2017
If you want to hear more about this topic join the SCOBDO public conference, At December 8 2017. At the conference the results of the SCOBDO project will be presented. The attendees of the conference will be shown how to use the SCOBDO tool to generate mappings between various e-Invoice specifations. The tool can be used to map legacy specifications such as OHNL, Peppol, ZUGFeRD 1.0 and Simplerinvoicing to and from the new European Norm (EN 16931). It can also be used to map Core Invoice Usage Specifications (CIUS’s) and extensions to and from the Core Invoice. Different e-Invoice versions can also be mapped to each other.
The conference will take place in the afternoon at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague.
The entrance to the conference is free.
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