What are the benefits of using e-invoices?

More organisations are looking to cut administrative costs by doing more business electronically. E-invoices are fast becoming practical time and cost-saving solutions to help organisations meet this goal.  

The key benefits of using e-invoices include your ability to cut the chances of staff making mistakes, ease of workflow, reduced costs, and less excuses over mail delivery.

The basic method for using e-invoices is to attach an electronic copy of the invoice to an email, such as in .pdf format.In multiple transactions, especially in open global supply chain transactions, partners use value added networks instead and encode the invoice information using a standard business data language. For open global supply chains, these are usually EAN.UCC standards which use Electronic Data Interchange. Whatever the methods used, electronic invoices must satisfy the requirements of the E-Invoicing Directive. This guarantees their authenticity, authorisation and security...

Standard information for e-invoices

E-invoices must carry the following information:

  • a unique identifying number;
  • time of supply (the ‘tax point’);
  • the date the organisation issued the invoice;
  • the name, address and registration number of the supplier (for cross-border sales, letters ‘GB’ must precede registration number);
  • the person’s name and address to whom the organisation is supplying goods or services (for cross border sales, VAT registration number and country identifier);
  • a description of goods and services, their quantity, VAT rate applied and amount payable (without VAT) in any currency (for supply of goods, you can use a code to name products (e.g. GS1 Identifier) so long as you can check the code easily against full description of goods at supplier’s and customer’s premises, e.g. by electronic catalogue);
  • the gross total amount payable, excluding VAT, expressed in any currency;
  • the rate of any cash discount offered;
  • the total amount of VAT chargeable, expressed in sterling (a summary of the VAT amount payable on the invoice by VAT rate or exemption);
  • the unit price (for services the countable element might be, such as, an hourly rate or a price for standard services. If the supply cannot be broken down into countable elements, the total tax exclusive price will be the unit price).

Further information

Read our articles on Transactional Records and Invoicing

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