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European Directive introduces uniform electronic invoicing in public procurement

17 June 2014

Electronic invoicing provides clear benefits in the speed and efficiency of transactions. It is increasingly popular and has become the de facto method of organising payments for many companies and government bodies across Europe. It suffers, however, from a lack of standardisation.

In April, the European Commission published Directive 2014/55/EU to introduce more consistent e-invoicing practices. The Directive aims to overcome the disparity of e-invoicing practices in different EU member states which makes it difficult for businesses to operate across borders, effectively acting as a barrier to trade within the economic area. It also obliges public authorities within the EU to accept e-invoices which comply with a standard form.

Compatible invoicing systems will allow companies to participate more easily in tenders, as they will no longer have to adapt their systems for different organisations. Contracting authorities will benefit as well, with savings of up to €2.3 billion predicted by the Commission. The Directive forms part of a wider trend towards end-to-end e-procurement across the EU. This is part of the continuing effort to make public procurement across the EU more efficient.

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