Time to prepare for mandatory e-invoicing

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Written by Bert Vanstechelman

 

As of 2026, all companies worldwide will need to invoice electronically, no longer via simple PDFs but through certified secure trade systems. Here is what you need to know.

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What is electronic invoicing all about?

Digital invoicing is the electronic exchange of invoices between a supplier and a buyer. Many organisations already transmit invoices in a PDF format via e-mail. This will no longer suffice as digital invoicing. E-invoicing implies the document is transmitted and received in a structured format which allows it to be automatically and electronically processed.

Why is this obligatory?

Governments all over the world are demanding that both domestic and foreign companies who are doing business in their country comply with a specific format of e-invoices. The European Commission also implemented several regulations to combat fraud, one of them being the digitalisation of invoices between governments and companies. According to current regulations, companies will have to invoice electronically as of January 2026. As several governmental organisations and global companies have already implemented electronic invoicing, they are forcing their suppliers to move along.

What is in it for you?

The advantage of digital invoicing is twofold; speed and accuracy. Creating and transmitting invoices takes time and is prone to errors, even when done via e-mail. The document has to be converted to PDF, an e-mail has to be written and the document attached. With digital invoicing this is all done automatically and the invoice is booked immediately after being sent and received in both the supplier and customer system.

How does it work?

Invoices have to be handled through a number of certified borderless secure trade systems, such as PEPPOL. PEPPOL - Pan European Public Procurement - is available in 15 countries including Belgium and is used by many governmental organisations. Others exist too, such as e-Factura for Romania and KSeF for Poland. Companies will need to understand the regulations for each country they want to do business with and develop a strategy when working in different countries, using different tools.

What do you need to comply?

Most ERP software including SAP is capable of creating documents in XML format. If you are already using ERP software, a connection needs to be set up between your system and the solutions used within the specific country. For customers already using SAP, the SAP Document and Reporting Compliance (DRC) tool provides an end-to-end solution. Once configured, documents are mapped to the required format, authorised, authenticated and sent to the respective platform. As soon as it is acknowledged by the receiver, a registration number is created and given to the sender, while the recipient will be allowed and process the e-invoice.

What is next?

Time is ticking as the deadline of January 2026 is approaching fast. But some European countries have even set a stricter deadline. For Romania, the obligatory use of e-invoices via their approved e-Factura platform has been set to 1 April 2024 (the actual deadline was 1 January 2024 but a three-month’s grace period was agreed upon). In Poland, the deadline for mandatory e-invoicing was set for July 2024. However, the Polish Ministry of Finance recently announced they will postpone the July launch and has not yet determined a new deadline.

Expertum is here to help

Expertum has already assisted many organisations in implementing e-invoicing, some of them operate in several European countries in which different regulations apply. Our experienced finance and integration consultants can assist you in selecting the necessary software components and will guide you through the setup and configuration, from start to finish. Feel free to contact us if you need more information. Or attend one of our free Expert Sessions on e-invoicing. For more information and registration, click here.

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About the author

Photo of Bert Vanstechelman
Bert Vanstechelman

Bert Vanstechelman is Chief Executive Officer at Expertum. He has more than 25 years of experience in SAP technical consulting, covering countless SAP versions in combination with all kinds of databases and operating systems supported by SAP. Bert specializes in platform migrations, SAP release upgrades, and SAP HANA conversions.

Read more articles by Bert Vanstechelman

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