Electronic invoicing: put your data in order now

In France, the next evolution of B2B electronic invoicing regulations requires companies to prepare to launch their project when the time is right. Which open source solution?

What should businesses think about before getting started?

As of today, no company can become a partner government dematerialization platform (PDP) before September 2023. This leaves a relatively short window for large organizations to select a partner and implement the solution in time for July 1. 2024, date of entry into force of the law. The biggest mistake a business can make is not doing anything until September 2023. Choosing the right PDP is a crucial part of the process. However, choosing the right partner is not enough, it is only one of the many factors to be taken into account for the success of your project.

In this sense, successful digital transformation projects are based in particular on the quality of the data. Companies that have not yet tackled the subject of managing their data are likely to encounter problems and delays in the implementation process. To avoid this, companies need to look at the quality of the data they have. Already, the directives on the data that companies must process and store are relatively clear: management of contacts, information of the Siret and Siren type of customers, etc. All these elements will allow the PDP to carry out its mission in the best conditions.

What should companies be concerned about?

Companies need to evolve their organization to be ready. Thus, it is necessary to overcome existing silos between teams and unify the management of existing data. Complying with new regulations will force teams to think differently and act more collaboratively across departments.

To effectively manage this change, companies must set up dedicated multidisciplinary teams and bring together the various project stakeholders. As a general rule, this group will bring together the financial director, the purchasing manager and the responsible for accounting, taxation and the IT departments. Finally, large organizations will also have to involve their global teams, which will intervene to collect, in particular, the information and foreign tax numbers of companies issuing invoices to France.

How to evaluate and select your PDP partner?

Some companies may choose to work with two PDPs, one for accounts payable and one for accounts receivable, but this project must be managed as a whole to be operationally successful. For international companies, it is necessary to ask its suppliers if they are able to work on other markets.

Beyond the pure aspect of legal compliance, there are huge opportunities for companies to automate processes that have until now been largely manual and therefore reduce costs. Finally, companies need to consider what kind of experience their PDP will provide to suppliers who will be invited to use their system to submit invoices. It is not enough to choose a solution that works, it is also necessary to determine what is the best solution for the supplier.

What questions remain unanswered?

Overall, the French finance law is very well thought out. That said, there are still outstanding issues where clarification will be required.

One of these concerns legal archiving requirements and where the data should be stored. There are also questions about the life cycle of invoices, which will require different statuses to be transmitted to the tax administration, throughout the processes that companies currently apply. This may require ERP adjustments with an organization’s systems and guidance from the PDP on how to proceed. Businesses, for example, may need to scale and invest in IT infrastructure to adapt to changes.

- Fabien Lomet, Tradeshift

Open source invoicing: which solution?

Odoo allows to perform this task with an open source base. Otherwise, the LibreOffice Factur-X opensource extension allows you to generate a Factur-X invoice with a simple spreadsheet. It was developed by Akterion.

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