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Electronic Invoicing – standards for interoperability


15 Jan 2010


Trade & Society
Innovation & Enterprise

The European Standardization System has a long-standing commitment to encourage innovation and promote interoperability. In support of this mission − and based on the expertise of more than 70 companies, tax authorities and technical experts − CEN has published today the results of its Workshop on ‘Electronic Invoices and Compliance’ in Europe.

Brussels (10 December 2009) – Substantial savings for business can be achieved through carrying out transactions electronically. However, this requires interoperable solutions, and, in the case of electronic invoicing, solutions that meet the needs of public authorities (regarding VAT, for example) across all European member states.

With its approved deliverables, the open CEN Workshop ‘Electronic Invoices and Compliance’ has today presented a significant step in standardization regarding electronic invoices in Europe. This initiative will help businesses implement the VAT Directive 2001/115/EC and national legislation concerning electronic invoices. The Workshop team has been working closely with the European Expert Group on Electronic Invoices, and its deliverables are aligned with the ongoing activities of industry and the tax authorities.

With over 70 companies, tax authorities and technical experts actively participating, the CEN Workshop has proved to be the accepted technical platform of the electronic invoice industry − which comprises software companies, service providers and end-users, as well as the tax authorities − in an increasing number of European countries.

The published CEN Workshop Agreements can be used by companies and tax authorities to assess electronic invoice solutions.

The published CEN Workshop Agreements include:

-An eInvoicing portal ( describing electronic invoicing in all 27 member states

-A step-by-step guide how to achieve compliance regarding legal requirements and best practices

-A methodology for handling emerging technologies and business processes

-Criteria for increased interoperability amongst eBusiness networks

Regarding this initiative, CEN Secretary General Gaston Michaud commented:

“The eInvoicing Workshop is currently one of the most important CEN Workshop activities. The deliverables of the Workshop represent an essential milestone in maintaining the momentum achieved in industry and progressing electronic invoicing in Europe.”

The Workshop will continue, focusing on integrating efforts in standardization and technical developments. The major objective of the next phase is to provide support for a technical platform to carry out the specific European work that stakeholders require, both in terms of the technical needs expressed in the current CEN Workshop and in the emerging recommendations of the Expert Group.

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