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How and why generate an electronic invoice?

20 Jul 2022. 12:54
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    1. Tools
    Scope to digitize
    1. Commercialisation

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Electronic invoicing can be an improvement in the invoicing process of your online business, read on to find out more about its advantages and applications!

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Pasos y herramientas para hacer una factura electrónica
Descripción

An invoice represents much more than a piece of paper with a stated amount. In fact, it is a commercial document that proves that a transaction between two parties has been legally and validly carried out. However, thanks to digitalization, this document that we usually receive or issue in physical form has evolved to join the digital transformation.

As we know that digitizing invoicing processes may not be an easy task, in this post we want to summarize all the necessary information so that you can issue electronic invoices in your business.

 

What is an electronic invoice?

First of all, we must emphasize that the electronic invoice has the same legal effects as a traditional invoice. This means that, just like the paper invoice, the electronic invoice is the proof of the provision of services or delivery of goods, only that it is issued and received telematically.

Another important factor to know about the electronic invoice is that its issuance is conditioned to the consent of the recipient. Therefore, this is a legal alternative to the traditional paper invoice.

 

Advantages of electronic invoicing

For both large companies and SMEs, electronic invoicing has a number of advantages. Among them are the following:

  • It saves on printing and mailing costs that may be required to issue the invoice on paper.
  • It reduces processing cycles, making processing and shipping time much faster and, consequently, also the collection of payments.
  • It reduces the probability of fraud or forgery by not allowing the document to be manipulated.
  • It generates a lower impact on the environment, saving paper and energy, and reducing CO2 emissions derived from printing and transportation.
  • It reduces human errors since, being an automated system, there is less chance of making mistakes when entering the data and sending the invoice.
  • It saves storage space as it does not take up physical space.
  • Facilitates access to stored invoices making the process of sorting or locating them faster and more agile.

 

Types of electronic invoices

There are two types of electronic invoices, structured and unstructured formats, which are explained below!

  • Structured format invoices

These invoices are made up of data that can be generated automatically by the invoicing software used by the issuer. Similarly, they can also be processed automatically by the recipient's computer systems. An example of this type of invoices could be those using XML language such as UBL, FACTURAe or EDIFACT, among others.

 

  • Invoices with unstructured format

This type of invoice consists of an image. This means that the processing in order to be entered into computer systems requires manual intervention or, failing that, an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program. The most common invoices of this type are paper invoices that are subsequently scanned and invoices in PDF format.

Both types of invoices are capable of being transmitted via the Internet. The main difference between the two is that the structured format allows and facilitates automated processing, while the unstructured format does not.

Ways to generate an electronic invoice

Now that we know the advantages and types of electronic invoices, we explain the different ways to issue one.

  1. Through a computer program or system that creates electronic invoices that can be accessed through the Internet or a program installed in the computer.
  2. Through the issuance of a third entity that provides electronic invoicing services.
  3. That they can be created by the invoice recipient himself through a self-billing method.

What are the requirements for electronic invoices?

Electronic invoices, in addition to the consent of the recipient, like any invoice, must comply with the following requirements:

  • They must be legible.
  • They must guarantee the identity of the supplier of the goods or services invoiced and that of the issuer of the invoice in case it is not the same.
  • They must guarantee that the content of the invoice has not been modified.

It should be noted that both the legibility and authenticity of electronic invoices are guaranteed by the software that creates or receives them.

If you want more information about electronic invoices, we recommend you to visit the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, FACTURAe.

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