how e-invoicing works

Top 5 questions about e-invoicing

Your customers might have started to request their invoices as e-invoices instead, but why? What are e-invoices and how do they work? Here are the top 5 questions our customers have about e-invoicing that you need to know!

1. Why would I get requests for e-invoices?

There can be various reasons for this, but the main reason is how much easier and faster it is to handle invoice management. With e-invoicing your customers can handle all their invoices in the same place, saving time as well as money. By having all invoices in one system, it more secure and easier to stay on top of invoices. It also helps ensure that they won’t get lost or forgotten. Your invoices are paid faster too, because e-invoices are paid with just a click of a button.

It’s also good to keep in mind that there is a directive from the European Union mandating e-invoicing in the public sector.

2. What’s the difference between an email invoice and an e-invoice?

Both sent online, so it’s easy to mix them up. The difference lies with where they eventually end up:

  • Email invoices are sent to your customer’s email inbox.
  • E-invoices are sent to your customer’s invoice processing software.

Luckily, sending an e-invoice with Zervant is as easy as sending an invoice by email!

3. How does e-invoicing work?

We’ve summarised e-invoicing into four simple steps:

  1. Create your invoice as you normally would on Zervant. The only additional detail you need to include is an e-invoicing address (we’ll get to that in the next question).
  2. After clicking send, your e-invoice arrives to our e-invoicing partner Basware. Here, Basware transforms it into a machine-readable format. With Zervant, you don’t have to worry about different formats, as it’s part of the service we provide. Your customer will receive the e-invoice in the format they require.
  3. From there, Basware forwards it to your customer’s e-invoicing operator. The operator does a final e-invoice format check, after which it transfers it to your customer’s invoice processing software.
  4. Your e-invoice arrives to your customer!

We’ve summed up these steps in a short video too – take a look!

4. What is an e-invoicing address?

As with sending anything by post or email, you need an address. This way, your invoice is on it’s way to the right place.

E-invoices use different formats, depending on the operator and invoicing software your customer uses. A few examples of e-invoice address formats are VAT number, GLN or DUNS.

Don’t get confused by the unfamiliar sounding letter abbreviations – they are just codes for the number sequence you need for sending your e-invoice to your customer. You can get the e-invoice address from your customer.

5. Why might e-invoice delivery fail?

There are several reasons why delivery failure can happen, usually because the invoice has incorrect information filled. Remember that e-invoices are sent in a machine readable format – if the operator can’t read the invoice, it can’t be delivered.

The most common mistake occurs with the e-invoicing address. For example, the address can have typos. Another reason is that the address format was incorrect before sending the e-invoice.

Please note that e-invoicing is still an emerging technology and as such, routing issues can occur between e-invoicing providers.

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