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E-Invoicing EDI EDI conversion

Deadline for XRechnung: November 27, 2020

Abstract - Anyone who does business with the public sector and has never heard the word XRechnung will probably soon have a problem. At least in financial terms, because as of November 27, public-sector clients will only accept invoices in precisely the "XRechnung" format. A simple PDF sent by e-mail will then no longer suffice. Instead, it must be a structured, standardized data set in XML format, enriched with a visual component. E-invoicing will thus become mandatory in Germany when it comes to invoices to public-sector customers.

Tuesday, 06. October 2020
Stichtag für XRechnungen

Since April 18, 2020, contracting authorities, whether at federal, state or local level, must be able to receive and process electronic invoices in XML format in accordance with EU Directive 2014/55/EU. From November 2020, contracting authorities at federal level will also only accept electronic invoices. Exceptions will only be granted for direct orders under €1,000 and defense/security contracts; in addition, there may be different regulations depending on the federal state.

Brief recap: XRechnung is the German version of the ZUGFeRD standard, which is now available in version 2.1 - a hybrid format that combines XML schemas with the ISO standard PDF/A-3. This makes an invoice 1. visually presentable and 2. contains a data part in which structured data is embedded in a firmly defined XML format. The carrier format for the first version of ZUGFeRD was still PDF/A-3; in the future it will be XRechnung (at European level "Factur-X"). As a German standard, XRechnung meets all the requirements of the European CEN data model.

Which companies must use XRechnung?

Any company that acts as a supplier to European public administration bodies and sends invoices to them must do so via e-invoicing from 27 November 2020 and use the ZUGFeRD standard - ergo the XRechnung - for this purpose. Other invoices will no longer be accepted. The company must use appropriate software solutions for the creation of XRechnung. For those who otherwise send their customer invoices via EDI and use the software of menten GmbH for this purpose, i effect® offers a solution: As of version 2.7, the module *ZUGFeRD is already available. Due to the seamless integration into i effect® and its other modules, the data can thus be easily created for the outgoing invoice and processed for the incoming invoice.

The legislator is counting on the fact that, due to the obligation for e-invoicing for public contracts, this procedure will also become established more quickly in B2B business transactions between companies.

Structure of the XRechnung

The XML data set of the XRechnung contains all general mandatory information of an invoice according to § 14 UStG and all special components of an e-invoice according to § 5 E-Rech-VO. In order to uniquely address and forward invoices to public-sector customers in Germany, the invoice also contains a so-called routing ID as an identifier. The invoicing party must therefore know the recipient's routing ID (which it has sent to the recipient in advance when placing the order/awarding the contract) and include it with the invoice.

Similar to a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number), the routing ID is a composite number consisting of coarse addressing, fine addressing and check digit. It must be specified on the invoice in the Buyer Reference (BT-10), either in Universal Business Language or the UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice (CII) syntax..

Invoice transmission possible on different channels

XRechnung can be transmitted in various ways: via online portal, e-mails/de-mail or via the European transmission channel Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine (PEPPOL), which has established itself as an EDI transmission channel alongside AS2. All public authorities in Germany will support PEPPOL. Anyone who wants to use the service needs a so-called PEPPOL Access Point. For this purpose, a service provider can be called in who can implement the PEPPOL connection to the ERP. menten GmbH provides such an access point and is thus an ideal partner for companies that want to operate EDI traffic as well as send XRechnung via PEPPOL.

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