ZUGFeRD 2.0 Invoice exchanges with government agencies

The European Union means business. Since 2014 guideline 2014/55/EU has stipulated that by the end of 2020, businesses must send invoices over €1000 to government bodies and contracting authorities in electronic form. For those who work regularly with government agencies this means that a change to their ERP procedures cannot be avoided.

Which format should you choose?

X invoices or ZUGFeRD 2.0?

What’s the difference?

The difference is quick to explain: ZUGFeRD 2.0 is characterised as a hybrid format. In a nutshell, it produces legible and printable PDF documents, which contain all the invoice information in its traditional sense, whilst also transmitting the data in what is known as a ‘structured electronic format’. In contrast, an X invoice consists solely of the structured data and can be processed only by software. However, there is no difference between the structured data in either format and both conform to standard EN 16931.

For those who want to err on the side of caution or those who still have many customers who require a traditional invoice (for example, private customers or smaller businesses), ZUGFeRD 2.0 is the better choice.

Why does the EU want to change to the structured electronic format for invoices? Quite simply, it will save costs. The saving is estimated at €6.5 billion.

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