Electronic invoices: an important step towards the Digital Town Hall

Since 1 July 2017, all ID-card authorities receive electronic invoices from Bundesdruckerei.

  • Mr Hamann: "The first step towards digitalization for many local government agencies"
  • All public buyers must be able to process electronic invoices by the end of 2019
  • Local government agencies can use the portal to incorporate other suppliers

Berlin – Many local government agencies in Germany are currently making an important step towards digitalization. On 1 July 2017, Bundesdruckerei introduced a new way to send its invoices to the 6,500 ID-card and passport authorities: The company now transmits its invoices for the production of official ID documents as electronic invoices only. Paper invoices will be charged extra. Bundesdruckerei provides a portal for the authorities where digital documents can be sent and received.  This works with all invoice formats. Users always receive the format which they need for their processes. "The change to electronic invoices means a first step towards digital processes for many local government agencies, achieving large gains in efficiency," says Ulrich Hamann, CEO of Bundesdruckerei. "Only a few agencies know already that they can also integrate their other suppliers into the e-invoice portal and thus change their entire supplier management."

With this solution, Bundesdruckerei anticipates legislation: In the next few years, government agencies must be able to receive and process electronic invoices. This is stipulated by the so-called E-invoicing Act, the act on the implementation of Directive 2014/55/EU on Electronic Invoicing in Public Procurement. This change shall be carried out gradually: By the end of November 2018, all federal ministries and constitutional bodies in Germany must be able to receive electronic invoices and one year later, all other public buyers. Paper-based invoices will no longer be accepted as of the end of November 2020.

This will make it easier for public agencies and private companies to send and receive invoices. According to a study carried out by the University of Applied Sciences for Administration in Speyer, processing of one incoming paper-based invoice costs on average 25 euros: Invoices are manually sorted, distributed and approved; data is entered and posted in the accounting software, payments are released and invoices archived, etc. Using the new solution from Bundesdruckerei, all of these time-consuming and costly steps can be replaced by digital processes - for instance by receiving electronic formats, scanning and processing of printed documents. Fully digital processing of invoices saves around 15 to 20 euros for each incoming invoice. This is the finding of the guide "Electronic invoices in the public administration" published by the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The portal through which Bundesdruckerei sends its e-invoices to the authorities is integrated into a larger network for the secure and legally compliant exchange of documents: Traffiqx. Bundesdruckerei is one of the providers within this network which allows to exchange electronic invoices in all formats. More than 300,000 companies are already included. The added value which the network offers is that authorities and companies that are included through one of the Traffiqx members can quickly and simply check which of their suppliers already send electronic invoices. This is an easy and direct way to save money. On request, Bundesdruckerei will assist its customers to integrate further suppliers. Mr Hamann: "The more business partners digitise their invoicing processes, the higher the savings for the parties involved."

Electronic invoices: an important step towards the Digital Town Hall

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