In both public and private sectors, digital technology is, or is tending to be, omnipresent. This technology makes it possible to simplify internal and external exchanges with customers, suppliers or partners. And with the right tools, companies possess an unparalleled level of security, which is essential considering the level of today’s cyber threat.
In addition to the growing need of organizations for greater efficiency and security, legislation is also evolving to meet new digital requirements. The widespread use of electronic invoices in companies and administrations is one of the main areas in which the French government and Europe have been working in the past few years.
The public sector is leading the way
In the context of public tenders, electronic invoice is mandatory for large companies (more than 5000 employees) since January 17 and for mid-cap companies (250 to 5000 employees) since January 18. This obligation has been extended to SMEs since January 19. Very small companies (less than 10 employees) will be concerned from 2020.
A step-by-step generalization in the private sector
In the private sector, on the other hand, the obligations are somewhat different, as they are not yet subject to regulatory obligations. However, many of them have already become aware of the benefits they can derive from it.
Simplification and cost reduction
The adoption of electronic invoices within companies has many advantages. First of all, it saves a considerable amount of paper, and eventually space. As you move to dematerialization, say goodbye to closets full of invoices. According to the french government, the savings generated by the transition to paperless invoicing range from €3 to €4.5 per document. But it also makes it possible (and above all) to drastically reduce invoice processing times.
« Studies show that accounting departments spend 30% of their time manually entering supplier invoices and that dematerialising invoices represents a saving of around 50 to 75% compared to paper processing and reduces the cost of processing by around 30% […] The widespread use of electronic invoicing would therefore allow significant savings in company management costs, » explained the French government.
To implement e-invoicing in a company or administration, several methods exist:
- The reliable audit trail
- The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) platform
- The electronic signature
The third solution is generally presented as the most accessible and economical. It’s a simple, effective and safe.
Building trust in your exchanges
The electronic signature is a high value-added tool. It contributes to improving team productivity and strengthening customer relations while providing a reliable, secure process that complies with current legislation. Thanks to electronic signatures, each company is able to reinforce the legal value of the documents it produces. This allows it to avoid the risk of disputes about their integrity or origin. It can therefore issue electronic invoices with complete confidence. This signature makes it possible to identify the signatory with certainty, but above all to authenticate and guarantee the integrity of the document
A strong need for support
Whether the goal is to meet new regulatory obligations, or simply to streamline processes that are sometimes heavy and restrictive, companies need support to start a dematerialization project. In a study conducted in 2018, Universign showed that 80% of the companies surveyed would like to use electronic signatures. But they raise questions about good practices, mainly with regard to the legal compliance. This is where the Trusted Third Party comes in. This service provider offers qualified and trusted services.
Creation of a new legal object
On July 2016, eIDAS (a European regulation aimed at increasing confidence in electronic transactions in the European market) entered into force. It offers 3 levels of reliability and guarantee for electronic signatures: simple, advanced and qualified. The last level concerns, among other things, invoices. This text also introduced a new legal concept at European level: the signature for legal entity.
The electronic signature of a legal entity: what are we talking about?
Before eIDAS, only people could sign electronically. Since July 2016, companies and public entities can also sign documents on their behalf that are admissible as evidence in court. Thanks to the electronic stamp, , it’s possible to electronically seal documents such as invoices and certify their origin.
eIDAS makes a difference between qualified and unqualified electronic stamp services. Article 3 specifies that « a qualified electronic stamp shall benefit from a presumption of data integrity and accuracy of the origin of the data to which the electronic stamp is linked ». In addition, when based on a qualified certificate issued in one Member State, this stamp is recognised as a qualified electronic stamp in all other Member States.
Sign on behalf of your company securely
To meet regulatory requirements and the needs of companies, CertEurope, Trusted Third Party, issues electronic corporate certificates. The electronic stamp allows you to sign on behalf of your company any type of dematerialized document for an irrefutable legal value. All PDF invoices can be sent signed, simply and securely. The integrity and origin of documents sent by the company are guaranteed.
Indeed, among the components of an electronic signature, there is a digital fingerprint of the original document. It’s permanently integrated into the document and any subsequent changes can be easily detected. As part of a qualified signature, necessary to issue electronic invoices, a stamp in the company’s name is attached to the document in order to electronically seal its contents and certify their origin.