WHY THE ELECTRONIC INVOICE? WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS?

Faster invoicing processes, with less costs, and higher efficiency are some of the reasons why the Electronic Invoice is a logic solution for any business.

IS IT MANDATORY?

Although it has been in effect since 2014 throughout the European Union, in Portugal, pursuant to Decree-law 123, of December 28, and in order to ensure proper management of the change, the Portuguese government has established a gradual adoption of the electronic invoicing process in contractual relationships with the Public Administration.

 

ISSUING OF AN ELECTRONIC INVOICE IS ALREADY MANADOTORY IN THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION!

Since April 18, 2019, all organisations, suppliers and Public Administration entities must issue, transmit and receive invoices in a structured electronic format that allows their automatic and electronic processing, pursuant to European Directive 2014/55/UE.

Until April 18, 2019

  • The Bodies under the direct administration of the State and the public institutions have adopted the electronic invoice;

Until April 18, 2020

  • The remaining public Bodies will also adopt it.

UNTIL 2020, WILL THE PRIVATE SECTOR ALSO ADOPT IT?

All bodies, organisations and suppliers from the private sector with contractual relationships with the Public Administration will have to adopt the electronic invoice.

By April 17, 2020

  • Large companies

By December 31, 2020

  • Micro, small and medium size companies
WHAT IS THE ELECTRONIC INVOICE? HOW DOES IT WORK?

Electronic invoicing is defined by a European standard invoice model, which means that data are placed in a proper structure. In terms of European legislation, sending a PDF invoice to the client via e-mail will not be sufficient as it is not a legally approved electronic invoice. The company must have a platform that generates the exchange between the seller and the buyer, with the invoice being submitted and imported directly from the system. The invoice may be presented in PDF or image format, with the purpose of being visually acknowledged by the user, but this can only be considered as an addition to the invoicing data process.

This change does not bring an added complexity as an electronic invoice is quite similar to the typical hardcopy invoice, with the exception that all steps of the process are digital: issuing, submission, reception and filing of invoices is made electronically, with the authenticity and integrity of the entire process and of the contents being certified by an electronic signature.

In order to ensure that the electronic invoice complies with the legislation in effect, as of December 31, 2020, companies must acquire a qualified digital certificate (electronic stamp) to certify the invoice issuing entity and the integrity of the invoice's content. Until that date, companies can still use an advanced electronic signature (electronic invoice certificate). In brief the main requirements for compliance with Art. 12 of Decree-law 28/2019 are as follows:

- Invoices, upon acceptance by the receiver, can be issued electronically.

- In order to ensure authenticity of the issuer and the integrity of the contents of documents issued electronically, one of the following procedures must be adopted:

  • Affixing of a qualified electronic signature
  • Affixing of a qualified electronic stamp
  • Using a data exchange electronic system

Companies must use certificates issued by a certifying body, such as Multicert, accredited by the National Security Office (Gabinete Nacional de Segurança) and ensure that the digital certificate issuing body is part of the relevant Trusted List published by the European Committee.

Multicert can implement the digital transformation in your business via the electronic invoicing, from the management platform to the certificates for electronic invoicing. We have the simplest solution, intended for companies that already have the platform and which require only the certificates for signing the invoices, or we can also provide the Electronic Invoicing Platform, which allows the performance and safe processing of electronic transactions between companies and where Multicert acts as a trusted third-party in the process.

Do you still have questions about this issue? We can help you! Contact us!