Final call to be ready with e-invoicing in Italy from January 2019

Does your company have a subsidiary in Italy? Have you already selected the solution to process e-invoices in accordance with the new regulations? Fewer than 70 days remain, so now is the final call to take the decision, start preparations and avoid fines. Get tips on how to approach this topic based on Comarch’s experience.

Legal background

Based on the success of the introduction of the compulsory e-invoicing regime three years ago, the 2018 Budget Law brought significant changes to the Italian e-invoicing sector. Starting from the 1st of January 2019, e-invoicing for all B2B transactions carried in Italy will be mandatory, and e-invoices will have to be transmitted via SDI (Sistema di Interscambio) in Fattura XML format. Unlike for the B2G flow, there is no obligation to sign e-invoices electronically in the B2B flow, but this is still recommended. The invoices have to be stored in an electronic archive for 10 years.

AP and AR common approach

To help enterprises adopt internal company processes and integrate their customers and vendors, including those from abroad, Comarch, through its own integration with SDI, has built a set of managed services to optimize both Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable processes. Unlike projects in other countries, in which AP projects are planned and budgeted separately from AR projects, the new Italian legislation and prompt deadlines forced the AP and AR departments to cooperate and to plan a common approach. Companies need to consider the following issues.

Accounts Receivable: ERP not ready to export invoice in Fattura XML format

Many companies, especially multinational ones that have ERP instances used in many countries, use ERP systems which may have problems with exporting data in Fattura XML format. These companies are choosing certified service providers and outsourcing the mapping services, with the guarantee that the format will be continuously updated to the newest version of Fattura XML.

Accounts Receivable: ERP not able to generate an invoice with the required set of data

Similarly to the above issue, companies may approach the problem by exporting the invoices with the required set of data. Then, as Comarch understands from discussions with customers, they try to implement the modifications in their ERP systems before the end of the year or, which is most common, choose a web application from a service provider to issue the e-invoices until the ERP is ready – after which they plan to switch easily to automatic communication with the service provider at the beginning of 2019. The case is similar when companies have an ERP implementation/upgrade already scheduled. Accounts Payable: ERP/Workflow system not ready to import Fattura XML

To avoid the implementation of time-consuming modifications in ERP/workflow systems, companies decide to use a conversion service from service providers. The received Fattura XML is placed in the archive system while the invoices are imported either to the private ERP format (eg IDOC) or to the workflow system format (mostly PDF).

Archiving: the complexity of archiving systems requirements

Companies mostly decide to use a service provider to cover the whole e-invoicing process, including archiving services. From Comarch’s experience, enterprises face issues with the complexity of archiving systems’ requirements, taking the integration of the Italian sales tax voucher number (Protocollo IVA) between the ERP and archiving system as an example. Our experience shows that companies in Italy also consider the storage of other document types in the electronic archive systems.

Uncertainty and variety of business partners

Although the legislation has been implemented, several changes have been introduced and further amendments are expected. Companies, especially multi-national ones, are therefore looking for service providers with local legal and technical support, which can react promptly to these changes. Moreover, companies which sell the goods or services to non-Italian partners request a “single point of contact” to handle all invoice flows and provide the proper reports (Spesometro) to the authorities.

To conclude, there are many points to be discussed before deciding on the appropriate approach. Some companies consider only e-invoicing processes, and others combine this with other supply chain flows (including EDI messages such as orders or goods receipts). Some think only about the Italian case whilst the others consider other countries (eg Portugal, Hungary).

But for all, time is ticking – and the CXO staff should speed up the decision process.

Bartłomiej Wójtowicz, Product Development Manager, Comarch E-Invoicing

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