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Electronic invoice

With a view to modernization and administrative simplification, the government of the Brussels-Capital Region has decided to extend the use of electronic invoicing. From 1 November 2020, only invoices in electronic format will be accepted for all public contracts awarded from this date by the administrations and public institutions of the Brussels-Capital Region. After this date, invoices in a different format (paper, email, etc.) will no longer be processed. If you are concerned about this obligation, this page provides information to help you prepare for compliance.

What is an electronic invoice?

However, an electronic invoice goes much further than that basic concept. After all, it is a dematerialized document that is sent by a supplier to its customers, but which also requires computerized data to be transferred via a secure platform. This security is an essential aspect, which cannot only be guaranteed with an electronic document such as a file in PDF format.

An electronic invoice is therefore an invoice that has been submitted, sent and received in a structured electronic form that makes it possible to process it automatically and electronically, i.e. in XML format.

What are the advantages?

Electronic invoicing is a valuable tool for both companies and administrations for administrative simplification (more efficiency, transparency, …) and thus also for significant savings (reduction of printing, shipments, processing time, …).

In 2015, the DAV (the federal agency for administrative simplification) calculated that a switch to 100% electronic invoices would save €3.37 billion in Belgium.

In addition to these benefits, there is also a reduced environmental impact, which once again reinforces the importance that the government should attach to this instrument.

How does it actually work?

In practice, the electronic invoices are sent by the companies via the European Peppol network. All federated entities are connected to this European platform. The Belgian entities therefore collect their invoices from a specific platform called Mercurius. It thus forms the secure access point to the European Peppol network. So that the Belgian platform would function properly, the federal government has opted for a format that is compatible with European standards.

Each federated entity then forwards the invoices to its own boards and institutions, via its own platform. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the BRIC (the Center for Informatics of the Brussels Region) manages the Fidus platform. This platform is intended as an interface between Mercurius and the Brussels administrations and institutions. Fidus thus plays a role in the security and reliability of the authentic sources.

In September 2018, Easybrussels sent a note on the electronic invoice to the authorities and institutions of the Brussels-Capital Region. The memorandum explains the advantages and further rules of electronic invoicing and encourages government services to make use of it.

Read the note.

What are the obligations regarding electronic invoicing?

Invoicing to administrations

Economic operators are obliged to send their invoices electronically to the regional entities. This obligation is stated in the specifications.

Invoicing of administrations

The regional entities send their invoices in electronic form to the government organizations registered on Mercurius.

Dates of entry into force:

  • 1st September 2020: for public contracts above €30,000 excluding VAT.
  • 1st November 2020: for all public contracts.

You are an administration

Implement electronic invoicing in your administration

The sending and receiving of electronic invoices by the Brussels regional entities stimulates their introduction by other Belgian public entities and can be an additional means of promoting this invoicing method.

Discover the key steps for a successful transition to e-invoicing on the Public Procurement website.

How do I inform my suppliers about electronic invoicing?

Templates are available in the attachments of this page:

  • The letter that can be sent to your suppliers of the last 3 years, with adjustments for your institution;
  • The clauses to be added to the specifications and purchase orders.

Information sessions for administrations

Information sessions are organized for the authorities.

Helpdesk

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact easy.brussels via the email address [email protected]

You are a company

How do I send electronic invoices?

Electronic invoicing (“e-invoicing”) is gradually becoming the standard for sending invoices to administrations. Sending electronic invoices necessarily implies the use of software. This can be a tool for invoicing, administrative and commercial management, or maybe even an ERP, a stand-alone application on your own computer, or a cloud solution,…

There are different options for electronic invoicing, depending on your situation: number of invoices issued, type of customers (private or public), software already installed, etc.

Several scenarios are possible:

TYPE OF BUSINESS – company with… Option Contact
ERP PEPPOL- Select Access Point (AP) your AP
Accounting Billing Package PEPPOL- check if your package is ready Supplier of your package
WORD, EXCEL, PDF… PEPPOL- choose application Supplier of your application
Single invoices, only to Government Mercurius PORTAL [email protected]

 

The authorities have opted for an e-invoicing model in which a maximum number of recipients can be reached by the senders of e-invoices. As a result, you will ultimately be able to send e-invoices to both your public and private customers, both at home and abroad.

  • A company with an ERP

Companies with many invoices often have an ERP. If you have any questions, please contact easy.brussels at [email protected]

  • A company with an accounting or invoicing package

If you use an accounting or invoicing package to receive and send your invoices, there is a good chance that your package is already capable of sending an e-invoice. Check whether your software is included in the list of accounting or billing package, attached.

                    My accounting or invoicing package already supports e-invoices (green in the list)

We recommend that you contact the supplier of your accounting or invoicing package to ensure that you have the latest version of the program. This ensures that you can send electronic invoices to the government.

                  My accounting or invoicing package is not on the list

Check with your accounting or billing package vendor to make sure they plan to connect to an ACCESS POINT in the PEPPOL model. Even if your program is unlikely to support electronic invoices, do not hesitate to explore the market to purchase a suitable accounting or invoicing program.

  • A company without a package. You create invoices in Word, Excel, PDF…

Does your company still create invoices in Word or Excel that you then send as PDF?

In recent years, numerous invoicing packages have come onto the market, which are particularly aimed at companies with small invoice volumes. It is strongly recommended that you compare these applications, contact them and get started. This is how your company prepares for the digital future. Discover the list of software packages, attached.

Which administrations can receive electronic invoices in Belgium?

Check whether the administration to which you want to send electronic invoices can also receive them. Since 2019, the Brussels administrations are obliged to be able to receive electronic invoices.

Information sessions for companies

Information sessions are organized for companies.

Helpdesk

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact easy.brussels via the email address [email protected].