Invoice compulsory electronics - 5 questions to ask yourself

May 23, 2022 | Digitalization invoices, EDI

Last April, the stakeholders of FNFE-MPE, the national forum for electronic invoice électronique et des marchés publics électroniques, met to advise French companies embarking on the Digitalization invoicing project. This mandatory move towards invoice This mandatory move to electronic invoicing concerns all companies subject to VAT. That's why we've decided to offer you a summary of the topics discussed at the conference, and to provide you with some key points to think about as you embark on the process of Digitalization .

A quick reminder: what is invoice ?

First of all, it's important to remember what we mean by invoice electronic invoicing. These are all invoices created, issued and received by electronic means between suppliers and buyers via Digitalization operators. Contrary to popular belief, the PDF format is not considered an "electronic invoice". 

Electronic invoices are subject to specific legal requirements. According to article 289 of the French General Tax Code (CGI VI) and article 233 of the VAT Directive 2006/2010: "The authenticity of the origin, the integrity of the content and the legibility of the invoice must be guaranteed from the time it is issued until the end of its retention period". invoice must be guaranteed from the time of issue until the end of the retention period".

To achieve tax compliance on electronic invoices, the solution is to follow the European EN 16931 standard, i.e. EDI (electronic data interchange) protocols validated by the tax authorities. This can be done in one of three formats: UBL XML, CII XML or Factur-X. The latter is a hybrid format, since it is based on the PDF format familiar to companies, but also integrates with the Digitalization platforms planned for the 2024 tax reform.

Contents :

The rest of this article deals with the questions you legitimately need to ask yourself in order to deploy invoice in your company:

  1. What are the objectives of the French public authorities with regard to electronic invoice electronics?
  2. What are your deadlines, depending on the legal size of your company?
  3. What model is the DGFiP using to organize Digitalization invoices?
  4. What gains can companies hope to make if they embark on the electronic invoice electronics today?
  5. What are the best practices for supporting the Digitalization invoice process?

1. What are the French public authorities' objectives for invoice ?

The DGFiP (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques) is the public authority responsible for the effective implementation of Digitalization invoices by companies subject to VAT. According to their report on VAT in the digital agethe invoice mandatory electronic invoicing fulfills 4 objectives:

  • Simplify the VAT return procedure by pre-filling in the returns;
  • Reducing VAT fraud;
  • Real-time insight into business activity to better adjust tax policies;
  • Increase competitiveness thanks to the benefits of Digitalization invoicing.

Since this 2020 report, new requirements have been introduced. The scope of the obligations is no longer limited to the receipt and issue of invoices in electronic format (e-invoicing) on domestic transactions between VAT taxpayers , but also extends to the transmission of electronic data (e-reporting) on both international B2B transactions (with a taxable person not resident in France) and those carried out by companies with domestic consumers(B2C).

2. What are your deadlines, depending on the legal size of your company?

France has almost 4 million businesses, the majority of which are very small enterprises (VSEs). The French tax authorities have therefore taken this configuration into account in drawing up their compulsory calendar on invoice electronic commerce. Building on this national context, the tax reform envisages making electronic invoice electronic invoicing in two stages: receipt, then issue.

It provides a fixed timetable to which companies must adjust.

Stage1 concerns the receipt of invoices in electronic format: from July1, 2024, all VAT-registered companies (large corporations, ETIs, SMEs and VSEs) will be required to be able to receive electronic invoices.

Stage2 concerns the issuing of electronic invoices: This stage will be deferred and phased in to take account of the digital maturity of each legal unit, so that the electronic invoice issuing system is correctly installed.

  • July1, 2024: large-scale enterprises (LSEs)
  • January1, 2025 : mid-sized companies(ETI)
  • January1, 2026 : small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), micro-businesses and auto-entrepreneurs

The timetable is strict, but the deadlines are set within a realistic timeframe. However, companies need to be aware of these deadlines as early as possible, to better prepare themselves for this obligation.

3. What model is the DGFiP using to organize this Digitalization of invoices?

The DGFiP intends to use the Y model, inspired by the system introduced in Latin American countries in the early 2000s.

The following illustration shows the various stakeholders in this model, including VAT-registered companies (suppliers and buyers), Digitalization operators (such as ICD International) and the tax authorities (DGFiP).

Model Y for mandatory electronic invoice

Model Y for invoice mandatory electronic

In the interests of interoperability, the DGFiP has accredited Digitalization operators to offer their Digitalization partner platform(PDP). Suppliers and buyers will have to join one of these PDPs. In this way, the electronic invoices and tax reports generated will be converted, archived and forwarded to the right recipients according to a pre-defined communication protocol. As for the tax authorities, they will list all company tax information received by the PDPs in their "Directory", and will monitor transactions using their software, Chorus Pro, integrated with their public e-invoicing platform(PPF).

4. What gains can companies expect to make if they start using invoice electronics today?

Major companies such as EDF, VINCI Energies and EURODISNEY, as well as accounting firms like Cabinet Jégard, took the first steps even before electronic invoicing became compulsory. invoice became mandatory. These firms took part in the Journée de la invoice to share their experience with us.

Feedback from EDF

In 2017, EDF had to process a total volume of around 700,000 invoices. The company was already receiving purchase invoices in electronic format from some of its suppliers. This context favored their first steps towards a Digitalization of their invoices. Here are the four benefits that EDF derived from implementing this process:

  • a reduction in administrative costs and billing errors associated with paper invoices;
  • a reduction in transmission times, which improves relations with their suppliers;
  • a reduced carbon footprint;
  • better tracking of invoice processing status (from deposit to payment).

Feedback from Vinci Energies

VINCI Energies' main challenge is linked to their external growth strategy, which involves expanding from 13 to 57 countries by 2021. This internationalization has brought with it new challenges, notably the increase in the number of invoices and the diversity of legal constraints in terms of Digitalization depending on the country in which they operate. The harmonization of their two ERP systems - SAP and Navision & BC - was the key element in starting their Digitalization invoice process. Between 2016 and 2021, the volume of dematerialized invoices rose from 300,000 to 4.5 million. The transition accelerated in 2020 with the deployment ofEDI and Factur-X. The adoption of invoice electronic invoicing is synonymous with both time savings and greater efficiency in their operational processes.

Feedback from DISNEYLAND Paris

For Disneyland Paris, Digitalization is used for supplier invoices and 99% of temporary staff invoices. The company's aim is to reduce payment delays, reduce the risk of paper-related errors and limit its carbon footprint. invoice paper and limit their carbon footprint. With over 300,000 invoices a year, the company is gradually moving towards automatique invoice processing. And to assess the positive impact of such a change, it is looking at the efficiency rate of EDI invoices, currently at 56% between 2021 and 2022, compared with 24% for paper. invoice paper invoices. The aim is to increase this first rate as electronic invoicing invoice electronic invoicing is fully adopted by itself and all its stakeholders.

Cabinet Jégard's vision

As far as a chartered accountant's view is concerned, Cabinet Jégard specifies that companies that take the plunge into electronic invoicing are very satisfied and do not wish to go back. invoice electronic invoicing are very satisfied and have no desire to go back. The decisive advantage in its field is that it enables instantaneous accounting thanks to automated data processing. invoice This means they can focus on their core business as analysts and advisors. At the same time, Digitalization is an attractive option for customers, as it adds value to their own solutions.

5. What are the best practices for supporting the Digitalization invoice process?

First of all, the roll-out cannot be carried out without an internal team bringing together all the players impacted by this process. These stakeholders will need to be kept abreast of the ongoing tax reform. In addition, an analysis of the existing situation will be necessary. This will involve characterizing the company's customers (domestic or international, B2B or B2C) and the maturity of invoicing practices (with the use of incoming and/or outgoing invoices, then the type of format used - more invoice paper, PDF or electronic). invoice electronic).

Next, invoice addressing rules will need to be established and communicated to your customers and suppliers to avoid future invoice losses. At the same time, you'll need to update your PDP recipient directory, and therefore your entire contact database.

Another area we need to work on isautomation invoice integration viaEDI. As a recipient, this means communicating the data I need to my suppliers, and integrating them into my information system once they have been received.

Finally, depending on your company's specific needs, the last step is to choose the right Digitalization operator, since it will have access to highly sensitive data. The service provider must ensure a high degree of security for electronic data, facilitate real-time monitoring of the status of the electronic lifecycle, and have different levels of interoperability. invoice The service provider must provide a high degree of security for electronic data, facilitate real-time monitoring of the status of the electronic data's life cycle, and offer different levels ofinteroperability.


ICD International has more than 30 years' expertise in the field of invoice electronics. We can meet the different levels of interoperability described by the French government. We can support you in choosing a structured format, in addressing, in complying with DGFiP rules, in transmitting the invoice and follow-up. If the transition to invoice We'll help you make the transition to electronic invoicing an asset. Thanks to this support, you'll be able to meet your deadlines for the 2024 tax reform.

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