Electronic invoicing is the tool of administrative simplification par excellence. In Belgium, it helps to save several billion euros! This is why Easybrussels informs administrations and institutions in the Brussels Region so that they can quickly implement electronic invoicing.
What is an electronic invoice?
There are some variations on the question of what an electronic invoice actually is. Frequently, citizens, businesses and administrations perceive that it is an invoice in digital format, such as a PDF file for example.
However, an electronic invoice goes beyond the simple notion of digitisation. It is in fact a paperless document which is transmitted by a supplier to its customers, but which also requires the transit of computerised data through a secure platform. This idea of security is essential and cannot be guaranteed with a simple digital document.
What are the benefits?
Electronic invoicing represents a valuable administrative simplification tool for both businesses and administrations (more efficiency, transparency, etc.) but also for saving significant amounts of money (reduction of printing, sending, processing time, etc.).
In 2015, the ASA (Federal Agency for Administrative Simplification) calculated that a full transition to electronic invoicing would generate savings of 3.37 billion euros in Belgium.
On top of these benefits is the reduction of the environmental impact, which also reinforces the importance that the public service must attach to this tool.
How does it work?
In the Brussels-Capital Region, Easybrussels is responsible for raising awareness, informing and advising Brussels administrations and institutions on e-invoicing. The agency thereby ensures that administrations accept electronic invoices by the legal deadline of the European Directive in 2020.
In practice, electronic invoices are sent by companies using the European Peppol network. All the platforms of the federated entities are linked to this European platform. The Belgian entities recuperate as such their invoices from a particular platform called Mercurius. It forms the secure access point to the Peppol European network. To ensure the interoperability of the Belgian platform, the federal authorities have opted for a format which is compatible with European standards.
Each federated entity then distributes invoices to its administrations and institutions via its own platform. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the CIRB (IT Centre for the Brussels Region) manages the Fidus platform. It aims to act as an interface between Mercurius and the Brussels administrations and institutions. Fidus as such plays a role for the security and reliability of the Authentic Sources.
In September 2018, Easybrussels sent a note to the Brussels regional and local public authorities on the subject of electronic invoicing. This document details the benefits and terms of electronic invoicing and encourages public authorities to adopt it.