E-invoices in public procurement
On June 26, 2013, the European Commission presented a draft directive on electronic invoicing in public procurement, which is guided by the idea of full (comprehensive) digitization of the public procurement procedure. The Polish version of the document can be found at this link.
The importance of e-invoicing
Electronic invoicing is a milestone in document circulation in the public administration sector in Europe. It is estimated that the implementation of e-invoicing, in a cross-border context, could save EUR 2.3 billion.
On this issue, Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, said: Ensuring that public administrations in the EU are modern and efficient is one of the priorities of the European Commission. The move to e-procurement, and in particular to electronic invoicing, can bring significant savings and make life easier for both governments and thousands of businesses operating in the internal market. Switching from paper documents to fully automated invoicing can cut your invoicing costs from € 30-50 to € 1. This is a good way to get the savings you need in the current economic climate. As the public sector is the largest payer in the EU, it should play a leading role in promoting electronic invoicing.
It should be recalled that in 2011, the European Commission already proposed to implement e-procurement and e-invoicing by 2016. The innovation would include, inter alia, introducing the requirement of electronic publication of advertisements, providing e-access to documents with the specifications of the contract and electronic submission of offers. The Commission also consulted on this matter (link).
Currently, the share of e-invoices, depending on the country, is at the level of 4-15% in relation to the total number of invoices issued.
Effects of implementing the directive
The draft directive assumes that electronic invoicing will become a standard in public procurement. As a result, interoperability between different national invoicing systems would be improved.
Subsequently, the act with regard to the purpose is to eliminate legal uncertainty, excessive complexity and also minimize additional operating costs for economic operators who have to use different e-invoices in different Member States.