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E-invoicing, short for electronic invoicing, is a form of billing presented to the buyer in an electronic format via a predefined exchange of structured data.

Traditional invoicing, which typically involves receiving a paper invoice in the post, is prone to errors and delays at each step in the invoicing process.

E-invoicing makes it fast and easy to receive and process invoices, saving time and resources for buyers and vendors alike.

In this article, we’ll cover what e-invoicing is, how it works and the benefits of adopting e-invoicing. You’ll also find an overview of news on e-invoicing regulations across Europe – find your country from the list and learn how you’ll be impacted by these regulations.

What is an electronic invoice?

An electronic invoice – typically referred to as an e-invoice – is an electronically delivered invoice that, from issuance to archiving, remains entirely digital throughout its lifecycle.

E-invoices are issued, transmitted and received in a standardised structured data format (such as XML or JSON). Because e-invoices contain structured data, they can be automatically imported into the buyer’s accounts payable (AP) system, allowing for a seamless exchange of invoice information between a vendor and a buyer.

Digital images, PDFs and other visual digital forms of invoices are not considered e-invoices. These formats don’t contain structured data and still require the invoice to be manually viewed, read, and entered into AP systems.

Want to learn more about invoicing? Here’s everything you need to know about invoice management.

How does e-invoicing work?

E-invoicing streamlines both incoming and outgoing invoicing. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of both processes:

Incoming invoices

  1. Invoice receipt: First, an electronic invoice from a vendor is received and integrated directly into the recipient’s financial system.
  2. Integration and data processing: Next, the invoice data is processed in a structured format. At step, the data is prepared for further review and validation to ensure seamless integration and data flow.
  3. Validation: The e-invoice undergoes automated validation to verify its compliance with established regulations and standards.
  4. Registration: Once validated, the invoice data is automatically registered in the financial system, streamlining the payment process and marking the completion of the transaction.

Outgoing invoices

  1. Invoice generation: First, an invoice is created within the invoicing solution to bill the customer for goods or services rendered.
  2. Integration and data delivery: Next, the invoice is transmitted to the customer via an operator. To maintain the integrity and accuracy of the data, the invoice is transmitted in a structured data format through secure, integrated solutions.
  3. Validation: Before the e-invoice is delivered to the customer, it’s automatically validated to ensure that it complies with the established regulations and standards.
  4. Delivery: Finally, the validated e-invoice is dispatched to the customer in their preferred format. 

Benefits of e-invoicing

E-invoicing brings several advantages to buyers and vendors alike. Here’s an overview of some of the benefits of e-invoicing:

  • Cost savings

E-invoicing reduces or even eliminates the need for paper invoices. This cuts down the costs associated with printing, posting and storing paper invoices.

  • Increased efficiency

With automation, companies can create, deliver and process invoices fast and easy. This improves efficiency and leads to faster payment cycles. 

  • Improved accuracy

Through automated processing, e-invoicing minimises manual data entry errors.

  • Better cash flow management

Because e-invoices are processed faster and with fewer errors, e-invoicing can lead to quicker payments from buyers.

  • Increased transparency and traceability

E-invoicing provides a clear record of all transactions. This makes it much easier to track and audit financial activities.

  • Better buyer/vendor relationships

Standardised invoicing improves communication between buyers and vendors, reducing misunderstandings between parties.

  • Regulatory compliance

E-invoicing makes it easier for companies to comply with local and international invoicing regulations.

  • Improved sustainability

Automation of manual, traditionally paper-based processes like invoicing is an important first step for companies looking to reduce their environmental impact. 

E-invoicing and EU compliance

Since its adoption in 2014, the e-invoicing directive has promoted the uptake of electronic invoicing in both Europe and on an international level. However, simply digitising your invoicing process isn’t enough to be compliant within the EU.

In December 2022, the European Commission proposed a series of measures to modernise the EU’s Value-Added Tax (VAT) system.

The proposal is aimed at recovering more than €11 billion in VAT per year by disposing of paper-based records, promoting digital signatures and, in doing so, eliminating occurrences of tax evasion and fraud.

It’s safe to say most businesses are embracing the wave of digital transformation we’re seeing. Yet we still hear stories of finance teams who print out and handle practical paper copies of invoices – risking data leaks, duplicate work and a potential information black hole.

The new e-invoicing rules are a bid to make businesses more efficient, and their data more accurate. And of course, there’s the need to be compliant with the laws already in place or shortly on the way.

E-invoicing regulations are in place across much of mainland Europe, but the exact details vary. Find your country from the list below to learn how you’ll be impacted by the new regulations:




In the UK, e-invoicing is mandatory for payments to and from public entities, but is not mandatory for B2B payments. This means that it’s up to you whether you choose to adopt this practice.

However, it’s important to note that you cannot use both paper invoices and e-invoices for the same vendors or to the same customers. The dual system is only permitted while you’re testing out a new process. Once the tests are finished, you can no longer issue both paper and electronic invoices for the same supplies.


France recently postponed its mandatory B2B e-invoicing and B2C e-reporting mandates, but that doesn’t mean it’s a no-go. In fact, 2025 will see a voluntary pilot phase for businesses to participate in, with large and medium-sized companies required to use e-invoices and e-reporting by September 2026, followed by smaller businesses in 2027.

It’s worth noting that the Senate has made a counter proposal to move some of the obligations of the new invoicing law from September 2026 to July 2025.

This new proposal needs to go back to the Assembly for voting, however, so the outcome is still unclear. If the Senate's proposal is adopted, all companies will have to be able to receive and process e-invoices by 1st July 2025. Plus, large companies will have to be able to issue e-invoices by this date.


On 15 September 2022, the Crea y Crece Law was definitively approved. This means that companies and self-employed workers will have to carry out e-invoicing in their commercial transactions.

This regulation hasn’t yet had final approval from the Council of Ministers. Once the regulation has been published and approved (this is expected to happen in May 2024), the period of time available to the affected companies will begin to run.

The first phase will involve all companies and self-employed workers with an annual turnover of more than 8 million euros. They will have a period of 1 year.

The second phase will involve the rest of the companies and the self-employed, i.e. those with an annual turnover of less than 8 million euros. They will be obliged to apply this measure within 2 years.


Germany is implementing e-invoicing regulations in the B2B sector. From January 2025, ‘EN-compliant’ e-invoices will become the default in Germany.

Non-compliant invoices will still be accepted at first with a gradual phasing out to happen from 2026-2028.


Denmark’s a bit ahead of the game. In 2022, the country launched a new Bookkeeping Act that made e-invoicing mandatory. This outlined stricter requirements for accounting software providers, including the ability to issue, receive, process and archive electronic invoices.

All companies are now required to use Digital Bookkeeping Systems (DBS) that meet government standards.


In Sweden, e-invoicing is only mandatory for the public sector and its vendors. In the private sector, its use is voluntary.

In February 2023, Sweden took a step closer towards mandatory e-invoicing. The Agency of Digital Government (DIGG), along with The Swedish Companies Registration Office and the Tax Agency, submitted a formal request to the Swedish government to investigate the conditions for adopting mandatory e-invoicing in the B2B and G2B sectors.

As of yet, however, there’s still no clear timeline for Sweden to impose the e-invoicing obligation.

The Netherlands

While there are no mandatory rules for e-invoicing in the Netherlands yet, the country has taken steps towards digitising the procurement workflow. They’ve done this by introducing e-orders via the Pan European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL).

Keep an eye out for any news in this area in case The Netherlands follows in the steps of the rest of Europe.

Getting started with e-invoicing: Here’s what you need to do

Receiving e-invoices

1. Assess your current invoicing process

The first thing you need to do is evaluate your current invoicing process. Identify areas that can be improved by switching to e-invoicing, such as time efficiency, cost and environmental impact.

2. Choose an e-invoicing solution

From standalone software to integrated systems with accounting platforms, there are many e-invoicing solutions on the market. Research different options to find one that fits your business needs and budget.

3. Register with e-invoicing networks

Many vendors use e-invoicing networks or platforms to send and receive e-invoices. Register your business with relevant networks to start receiving e-invoices from your vendors.

4. Inform your vendors

Once you’ve set up your solution and registered with relevant networks, make sure your vendors have your correct contact information, including your preferred e-mail address for receiving e-invoices.

Communicate your transition to e-invoices and provide your vendors with any necessary instructions.

5. Establish processes and procedures

Before you dive into e-invoicing, you should spend some time developing internal processes and procedures for handling e-invoices. This includes:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Establishing workflows for invoice approval and processing
  • Setting up your chosen e-invoicing solution

6. Train your team

Your team should be equipped with the right knowledge to use your chosen e-invoicing solution. Provide them with the training they need to use the system effectively, and make sure they understand the new processes and procedures for receiving, reviewing and processing e-invoices.

7. Test and go live

Before you fully transition to e-invoices, make sure you thoroughly test your system to ensure that it works correctly and integrates seamlessly with your existing accounting software.

Once you’re confident in the system, it’s time to go live with e-invoicing.

Sending e-invoices

1. Assess your current invoicing process

Just like you would for receiving e-invoices, you should start by evaluating your current invoicing workflow and determining what areas you can improve by switching to e-invoices. Consider factors such as manual tasks, paper usage and processing times.

2. Choose an e-invoicing solution

Next, you want to find the right solution for your e-invoicing needs. Do your research and select a solution that aligns with your business needs and budget. Consider elements such as ease of use and integration potential, and choose a solution that gives you good value for money.

3. Set up your system

Once you’ve chosen a solution, set up your e-invoicing system. This may involve configuring settings, uploading your company logo and customising your invoice templates.

4. Inform your business partners

The first thing you need to do is to inform your vendors and vendors that you’re switching to electronic invoicing.

Once you’ve confirmed that your business partners are willing to receive invoices in this manner going forwards, you should verify the contact details of each of your vendors and ensure that they match the information in your invoicing solution.

5. Confirm your invoicing format

When everything is cleared with your vendors and vendors, you should double-check that your chosen e-invoicing format includes all necessary information.

At the minimum, electronic invoices should include:

  • Transaction details
  • Buyer and vendor identity
  • Approved payment methods
  • Applicable taxes and discounts

6. Generate and send e-invoices

Automatically generate e-invoices. Your chosen solution will organise and format the entered data according to your chosen template – and just like that, you’re saving valuable time and resources during the process.

7. Follow up and track payments

Once you’ve sent them off, it’s important to monitor the status of your e-invoices, track payments, and follow up on overdue invoices. Your e-invoicing solution should have features to help you automate and streamline these processes.

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