How to dematerialize your invoices?

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Tax dematerialization has become one of the challenges of the process of digitizing companies. Gradually imposed by the institutions, it implies being able to provide the same guarantees as paper archiving. Here is the information that companies need to dematerialize their invoices with complete peace of mind.

Status of the legal framework in France

What the 2014 Simplification Act (the “Macron Act”) says

In 2014, the Macron law, which aims to simplify the life of companies, also deals with the dematerialization of invoices. Article 222 stipulates that companies are obliged to accept electronic invoicing when it is gradually offered to them by 2020 (depending on the size of the company).

The government explains this measure by studies showing that accounting departments spend as much as 30% of their time manually entering invoices. Thus, dematerializing your invoices would help French companies gain in competitiveness, since it would reduce the cost of processing by about 30%.

In particular, it requires government suppliers, institutions and local authorities to communicate with public services and the government by invoicing in electronic format via the Chorus Pro portal.

A progressively imposed archiving mode

A large number of French companies have already opted for the dematerialization of part of their documents. This dematerialization is convenient because it allows them to be easily accessed by a large number of people anywhere if the storage space is in the cloud.

However, companies are more reluctant when it comes to tax dematerialization for several reasons related to the obligation to give probative value to documents. Indeed, it is necessary to be able to:

  • read the imposed formats.
  • create an electronic signature.
  • store invoices in such a way as to guarantee their evidential value.

These are all poorly known processes and computer tools that we will try to list for you.

Conditions and tools to dematerialize your invoices

Legal criteria

Because the electronic invoice must provide the same guarantees as the physical invoice, it is incumbent upon us to follow a set of criteria to preserve the probative value of an invoice. You must guarantee it:

  • Authenticity (the archived invoice must be an original version)
  • Integrity, time stamping is certified (in accordance with RFC 3161)
  • The identity of the signatories
  • The readability of the document (thanks to a readable format, PDF/A-3)

The editing tools

These conditions therefore require companies to provide themselves with IT tools capable of at least reading these invoices, since they will no longer be able to refuse them by 2020, and encourage them to provide themselves with solutions to produce them themselves and thus dematerialise their own invoices.

Then there is a whole set of laws that govern the writing of an invoice: the list of criteria is long to make it a legal document. We strongly advise you not to do them manually using a word processing tool: you could waste considerable time and issue invoices full of errors (thus depriving them of any legal value), or even distort your accounting management.

Instead, use a billing tool, whether integrated with an ERP, CRM or accounting management tool. You are guaranteed to save time and always be up to date with the latest standards.

Archiving tools

While companies are used to using EDMs to manage their documents, they cannot use them for invoicing. Indeed, the purpose of the EDM solution is to allow the editing, modification and sharing of documents. It is very useful for collaborative work but is not designed to provide formats and space for editing and preserving official documents.

Similarly, you cannot store your invoices directly on your computer: it is not suitable for secure archiving. A traditional professional computer, while useful for storing documents in progress or without administrative value, does not have the necessary level of security. If you used it to backup your physical invoices by scanning them, you cannot archive your dematerialized invoices in this way.

Therefore, choose SAE software, an electronic archiving system capable of guaranteeing a high level of security and the probative value of your documents. Often, this solution also includes an electronic signature tool and a filing system. It allows you to store your documents in a highly secure digital safe. You are thus well protected, and you have control over access to your sensitive data.

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