FAQs Before Starting a B2B Electronic Invoicing Project in Italy

FAQs Before Starting a B2B Electronic Invoicing Project in Italy

03/05/2018

Due to the Italian initiative (Legge di Bilancio) that has established the binding nature of use of the B2B electronic invoice between private companies (Fattura B2B), it is normal for technical doubts to arise both in companies that already use EDI and in those that are not familiar with electronic data interchange.

Companies must take two key dates into account when adapting to this B2B electronic invoice process:

  • The obligation of companies with activities associated with fossil fuel supplies or providing subcontractor services in public tenders will come into effect on 1 July 2018;
  • The binding nature will be applicable to all private companies with effect as of 1 January 2019.

In EDICOM we can offer various solutions adapted to each company’s particular needs, both for billing between private companies as well as for invoicing the Public Administration (FatturaPA). In addition, the solution is scalable and internationally applicable as it adapts to the requirements of electronic invoicing in more than 65 countries worldwide.

In order to find out the main challenges for businesses, we have created a list of considerations for the implementation of a B2B electronic invoicing project in accordance with the requirements of the Italian Government.

Is my system ready for issuing an electronic invoice?

The first thing to ask a company is whether its internal management system and administrative processes are ready for adapting to the issue of electronic invoices to the SdI. The company will need an electronic solutions supplier that connects to its ERP to transform data into the required structured formats.

  • EDICOM is able to integrate with the main ERPs on the market (SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, etc.) and adapt data recovery with conversion into the format required by the recipient. Our solution is cloud-based, and this means the client does not need any local installation; both maintenance and updating of the infrastructure are carried out by our specialized teams.

If I am already invoicing electronically, how can I adapt my current invoicing scheme to the private sphere?

Companies that are already using electronic data interchange with their business partners or with the Public Administration, will probably work with an invoice file that contain the fields and information necessary, as agreed between the parties. But, with the Italian B2B obligation, the Sdl will regulate the use of a specific XML format that will probably differ from the current format used by companies.

For these cases, a preliminary analysis of the information required by the companies and that required by the Sdl will be necessary in order to adapt the format. The possibility of embedding the invoice in PDF in the XML will also be analyzed, in order to also send information not contained in the XML to the recipient.

  • EDICOM can take care of this analysis and prepare the structured message required to ensure full compliance of the information with the data requested by the SdI, without forgetting the details that are also relevant to the sender and the recipient.

Do I need a qualified signature and time stamping service to authenticate my invoices?

In accordance with European legislation and new eIDAs regulations that normalize electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions on the domestic market, Italian law requires electronic invoices to be digitally signed and accompanied by a time stamp to ensure their authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation.

  • EDICOM, as a provider of qualified trust services, can offer both services which are also certified under the eIDAS European Regulation concerning trust mechanisms in electronic transactions.

How do I connect securely with the SdI to send my invoices?

Once the invoice has been transformed to the format required and the digital signature and time seal have been applied, the documents have to be sent to the Sdl using a safe and reliable channel. The Sistema de Interscambio has defined in and out channels for B2B invoices. Our EDICOM platform is connected to this channels for a secure exchange.

  • EDICOM, through its Public Administrations HUB, implements a secure and direct communication channel with the SdI using the communication protocol defined for both sending and receiving. In addition, our Public Administrations HUB not only allows you to connect with the Sdl in Italy, we also guarantee connectivity with any public body inside and outside the European Union.

How can I receive and integrate the notifications both the Sdl and the recipient of the invoice send me?

Optimal invoice management requires a flow of notifications that will accompany the invoice and provide issuers with greater visibility of its status. In addition, the Sdl must first validate inbound invoices, thus creating a first notification concerning conformity of the invoice.

  • The EDICOM platform ensures an efficient and streamlined flow by making a first syntactic validation to check that the required fields and digital signatures are all correct before sending the invoice to the Sdl.

Our HUB is also the platform responsible for receiving status reports from both the SdI and from the final recipient. On the one hand, SdI will send notifications on the status of each invoice and, on the other hand, a recipient may also submit their own notifications to the issuer via SdI.

  • By using an electronic solution like EDICOM, all notifications received on the status of the documents may be automatically integrated in the ERP to be internally treated in a streamlined manner. If the ERP is not ready to integrate them at the start, EDICOM allows you to manage notifications using a simple web interface.

How do I comply with invoice electronic storage regulations in accordance with Conservazione Sostitutiva?

In Italy, issuers and recipients of electronic invoices must store the electronic documents for at least 5 years. Storage of these documents must also be done in accordance with the "Conservazione Sostitutiva" process which, among other things, requires electronic signature and stamping of the stored documents to demonstrate that the documents have remained intact from the time the seal was applied.

  • EDICOM provides users with a long-term certificate storage service, capable of storing all their invoices together with the acknowledgments of receipt for the time required. The EDICOM certified storage of qualified electronic stamps under the eIDAS Regulation, guarantees the integrity over time of all the documents stored in this system.
  • EDICOM acts as a qualified trust services provider, making the documents and files legally valid and assigning them the category of burden of proof before third parties in the framework of the European Union.

Is my ERP ready to integrate the invoices I am going to receive?

The binding nature of electronic invoicing in the B2B field will have considerable impact on all Italian firms issuing electronic invoices. It will also affect the reception of electronic invoices, as the volume will also be very high. In this case, having an electronic solution allows companies to resolve the invoice issuing and reception issue.

  • EDICOM provides both output and input of electronic invoices, directly integrating them into the ERP to optimize document management and obtain greater efficiency in the handling of all information. EDICOM electronic invoice reception and integration systems enable signature verification protocols that guarantee the origin, integrity, and authenticity of all documents received.
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