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E-Invoicing with SAP for efficient invoice processes

E-invoicing and automated processes become more and more important for Financial Accounting, which is in particular due to the current statutory regulations. However, companies should not consider e-invoicing as a mere duty of fulfilling statutory regulations. Electronic processing offers enormous opportunities for automated invoice processes and for increasing their transparency.

 

SAP users may refer to immediately usable enhancements for electronic invoices: For outgoing invoices, SAP optimizations as offered by IT service provider FIS are used to select the right format for each invoice recipient without the user having to decide on what the invoice should look like semantically or technically. For incoming invoices, the software solutions are used to make the comparison with existing purchase orders in the ERP system and control the check and release processes irrespective of the invoice format. This helps companies accelerate the processing times of their invoices and processing statuses become more transparent.

Understand automation and digitization as an opportunity

Manually complicated tasks in finance and accounting are processed more efficiently through electronic invoice processes. Documents are digitally transferred and processed since invoices are not sent by mail or fax and passed on through the departments. This enables companies to accelerate processing times and cash discounts, for instance, can be used more effectively. Moreover, by using a digital system for data entry, they avoid errors they would make when manually entering invoice data. All required data is always available and transferred correctly.

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Flyer: E-Invoicing – Intelligent invoicing processes mit SAP

Your benefits from E-Invoicing with FIS

  • Cost savings: savings of up to 80 % compared with the paper-based invoice process, e.g. by saving administration and postage costs
  • More cash discounts received and improved liquidity: no more long shipping routes, incoming and outgoing invoices are paid more rapidly
  • Time saving: shorter processing times of invoices as manual activities are no longer necessary, such as scanning, data entry, transfer of the original invoice to the accounting department etc.
  • High data quality: manual entry errors are avoided, data does not get lost and is available in real time in the ERP system
  • Fully integrated end-to-end processes: automated triggering of subsequent processes, e.g. release or payment
  • Increasing transparency: all information is available in the SAP system, overview of each invoice status, invoice processing by a substitute in case of sick/holiday leave if required
  • Fulfillment of statutory requirements: automatic meeting of deadlines, e.g. 10-year retention and deletion period
  • Implementation of international invoice standards: e.g. XRechnung, ZUGFeRD, Factur-X, FatturaPA etc.
  • Consistent financial process between all involved: a user interface for all invoice formats and communication paths

Digital processing of incoming invoices – Procure-to-Pay-Process

SAP E-Invoicing can be used to process incoming invoices in a fully digitized procure-to-pay process: from the entry of incoming invoices to their final posting.

 

Vendor invoice data, for instance, is automatically compared with the associated purchase requisition in the SAP system. If all details on invoice and purchase order are identical, these invoices can be posted and paid automatically without manual interference by the accounting clerks. Here, SAP users can achieve "no touch" quotas of over 90 percent.

 

Often, just the automated matching of partial information can help to accelerate the process. Important invoice characteristics, for instance, are read, invoices checked formally and arithmetically or compared with SAP master data. Even a simple release workflow, i.e. the automatic assignment of the invoice to the releasing person, clearly simplifies daily business, even if the volume of invoices is low.

Automated processing of outgoing invoices – Order-to-Cash-Process

In case of a digitized order-to-cash process, the vendor invoices are directly created in digital form in the central SAP system. Invoices no longer need to be printed, sent and manually entered or posted by the recipient. An appropriate SAP software solution automatically selects the suitable invoice format for the business partner as well as the ideal transfer method.

 

There are numerous formats and methods a company can use to transmit invoices to business partners. The software used must know and correctly transmit all these formats. Electronic invoicing is followed by the lawful archiving with GDPR-compliant access control and the monitoring of incoming payments.

 

In addition, an appropriate software solution enables the monitoring of electronically sent invoices. Status messages, such as "sent", "received" or "error handling", provide send transparency and response options in case of an error.

Service Scope of FIS/eInvoicing

The FIS software solution for sending invoices enables an uncomplicated creation of electronic invoices. It enables you to meet the legal requirements for invoicing without any development effort on your part.

 

No matter the format and the transfer method: classical EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), invoice formats such as XRechnung, Factur-X and ZUGFeRD, InvoicePA/FatturaPA or the communication via e-mail or PEPPOL platform. Even paper invoices can be processed: The OCR recognition software by FIS easily digitizes the relevant data and translates it into the required format.

 

Almost all formats of incoming and outgoing invoices can be processed using the respective SAP solutions as well as optimizations developed by FIS. For document processing, the user only uses one central user interface for incoming or outgoing invoices. It does not matter via which channel and in what format documents are received or sent.

 

Individual particularities can also be taken into account and implemented in the system. In addition, the invoice process can be further automated by Machine Learning. FI invoices, for instance, are independently classified and assigned to an account, the responsible approver is found and the release process triggered.

Frequently asked questions on E-Invoicing

E-invoicing is the term for the creation of incoming and outgoing invoices in electronic format. Invoices are no longer sent in paper form but digitally as electronic documents, such as PDF files or standardized XRechnung.

 

According to EU directive 2014/55/EU, an e-invoice must be created, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format. In addition, the format must enable the automated and electronic processing of an invoice.

XRechnung is a German standard for the electronic transmission of invoice data. Since November 2020, all invoices with an amount greater than € 1,000 have to be transmitted to German federal authorities in the XRechnung format.

 

XRechnung is a structured XML data format without visualization. This means that the invoice document as such cannot be read by the accounting clerk, it is a machine-readable document only. The XRechnung format is particularly suitable if the invoice recipients are mainly public German authorities.

Some ERP adjustments are necessary for receiving XRechnung invoices and sending them automatically. Legal requirements must be observed as well as country-specific XML formats for international invoice traffic.

 

Different tools, such as the FIS/eInvoicing software solution, convert invoices from the SAP system into the XRechnung format and vice versa. The ERP system data is further processed using standardized import or export interfaces.

ZUGFeRD (Central user guide of forum electronic billing Germany) is a hybrid German invoice format consisting of a visual display (in the PDF/A-3 standard format) and a machine-readable XML file. After invoice receipt, the ZUGFeRD XML file is automatically updated in the ERP system. ZUGFeRD invoices are often used in wholesale trade.

 

Factur-X is the French equivalent of the German ZUGFeRD 2.0.

PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine) is a platform for the worldwide exchange of electronic documents, such as XRechnung. All authorities are obliged to accept invoices via the PEPPOL network. This transfer method is particularly suitable if invoices are regularly sent to official authorities.

 

The data is sent or received via a certified access point (PEPPOL Access Point). Details such as vendor addresses and used document categories are stored in the PEPPOL network. As a result, documents between business partners can be exchanged specifically and fully automatically.

More process efficiency with SAP optimizations by FIS

Make a changeover to SAP E-Invoicing for the electronic processing of your invoices. SAP and the complemental FIS optimizations enable you to fully automate your invoice processes and find orientation in the labyrinth of X & e-invoice, PEPPOL & Co. Please do not hesitate to contact the SAP experts of FIS for further information via e-mail or phone.

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Do you have questions? Please contact me!

Raphael Zundel
Head of Specialized Sales