CEN celebrating a key milestone: The launching of the 1st European Standard on Electronic invoicing 

Mrs. Elena Santiago Cid will inaugurate the CEN/TC 434 Public Conference with a welcome speech celebrating the official launch of the European Standard on Electronic Invoicing and congratulating the CEN experts of the technical committee on Electronic Invoicing for this important breakthrough. She will also give insights about the role of CEN in supporting the Digital Single Market. The conference will take place at the Stanhope Hotel in Brussels on 23 October 2017, with the sponsorship of the European Commission.

This standard (EN 16931-1 ‘Electronic invoicing - Part 1: Semantic data model of the core elements of an electronic invoice’) has been referenced by the European Commission in the OJEU, marking an important milestone for the Directive 2014/55/EU - electronic invoicing in public procurement. The publication of this EN kicked-off the Directive’s implementation stage, whereby Member States shall adopt, publish and apply the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with it.

Apart from celebrating this important milestone, the aim of the conference will be to provide an opportunity for public and private sectors to exchange views in regards to the approaches for the implementation of this Directive and conformance to the standard to reap the benefits of electronic invoicing.

CEN and CENELEC’s activities in support of Europe’s digital transformation

Products and services in the ICT sector be mutually compatible and interoperable, so that information can be shared over the internet, and people can communicate with each other using different devices.  CEN and CENELEC Standards help to ensure that products made by different companies are able to work together seamlessly. Their activities support the European Digital Single Market in many electronic activities (eActivities) including eInvoicing, eProcurement, eSignature, ePrivacy, eSkills, eLearning, eAccessibility, eHealth. Other related ICT activities supported by CEN and CENELEC, notably include: smart grids and smart metering, smart and sustainable cities and communities, intelligent transport systems (ITS), RFID, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

More about electronic invoicing and EN 16931-1:2017

An electronic invoice is an invoice that has been issued, sent and received in a structured electronic format which allows for its automatic and electronic processing, bringing numerous benefits to all users (senders and recipients). By automating the relevant business processes, eInvoicing leads to cost savings, increased efficiency, faster payments and reduced environmental impact.

A vast number of eInvoicing data formats and usage requirements already exist across the EU and globally. Their diversity and the different approaches to their implementation, increase their complexity and costs, and create a risk of market fragmentation.

The arrival of this European Standard is therefore a crucial breakthrough in promoting interoperability while at the same time, respecting the diversity of needs and practices of the sector. It establishes a semantic data model with the core elements of an electronic invoice which can be used in both private and public sectors for public procurement invoicing, as well as between private sector enterprises, but not for invoicing consumers. These core elements are needed in an electronic invoice to ensure legal (including fiscal) compliance and to enable interoperability for cross-border, cross sector and domestic trade.

This EN complies with the following criteria:

  • Technologically neutral.
  • Compatible with relevant international standards on electronic invoicing.
  • Complies with the requirements for the protection of personal data of Directive 95/46/EC, having due regard to the principles of privacy and data protection by-design, data minimization, purpose limitation, necessity and proportionality.
  • Consistent with the relevant provisions of Directive 2006/112/EC. 
  • Allows the establishment of practical, flexible and cost-efficient electronic invoicing systems.
  • Takes into account the special needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as of sub-central contracting authorities and contracting entities.
  • Suitable to use in commercial transactions between enterprises.

The way forward for CEN/TC 434

CEN/TC 434 was established to provide standardisation for e-Invoicing and undertake the standardisation activities required by the Directive 2014/55/EU. CEN/TC 434 on Electronic invoicing was created to support the electronic exchange of invoices. Following the official publication of this first EN on electronic invoicing, CEN/TC 434 will work particularly on implementing guidance and user support, on the development of common extensions to meet European-level and multi-sectoral needs, and on the provision of registry services to the users of the above-mentioned standard. The implementation of the European standard EN 16931, related Technical Specifications and Technical Reports will foster Electronic invoices to progressively flow seamlessly.

Please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat of CEN/TC 434 with any queries in advance of this conference.