Date: 12th January 2015
Eschborn/Germany, 12th January 2015 – In order to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the advantages of e-invoicing, the German Forum on electronic Invoicing (FeRD) has developed a uniform data format called ZUGFeRD, the "Central User Guide of the Forum for Electronic Invoicing in Germany" which is freely available to all interested companies and organisations since 25th June 2014. The ZUGFeRD 1.0 specification is now also available as an English version for download: http://www.ferd-net.de/front_content.php?idart=940
Providing invoice data digitally has fundamental benefits for both the business sector and public administration: quicker and more efficient work processes, fewer late payments as well as lower printing and postage costs. This in turn reduces errors and improves transparency, while the procedural steps involved in processing invoices are made quicker overall.
ZUGFeRD 1.0 is designed to achieve these objectives, most notably for those parties which only issue a small number of invoices to one partner each year or for parties which sometimes or even exclusively deal with partners without a regular business relationship. To achieve this aim, electronic invoices should be just as easy to send and receive as paper invoices. Therefore, ZUGFeRD 1.0 combines structured XML data and PDF/A as visualization to a hybrid electronic invoice. Both the structured XML file and the PDF visualization represent the complete invoice, and the receiver can choose what he processes, be it XML, PDF or both. Eventually this means that it is possible to exchange structured invoices without any prior consultation or agreement between the involved parties and without any agreement on the transmission itself.
The objective that ZUGFeRD 1.0 can be used on an international scale is a key aspect: ZUGFeRD 1.0 can be used in non-German-speaking countries – both in Europe and beyond. ZUGFeRD 1.0 is based on the regulations of the Cross Industry Invoice (CII) standard developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) as well as on the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) Message User Guides (MUG) for a core invoice, for which the CII serves as a basis. This means that the foundation for establishing ZUGFeRD as a uniform European format has already been laid.
Since its launch in June 2014, the German version of ZUGFeRD 1.0 has been downloaded by IT and software companies more than 3.000 times. The IT industry, in particular companies which develop financial management, document management and ECM software, regard the uniform ZUGFeRD 1.0 format for electronic invoices as a source of considerable potential for increasing efficiency and have started to launch a series of new products and services based on ZUGFeRD. Many companies from different industries and with different sizes have successfully implemented ZUGFeRD to abolish paper or supplement their EDI processes. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has expressed its support of ZUGFeRD, in particular with acknowledging that small and medium sized companies will have lower costs using ZUGFeRD 1.0 on the way to create a complete workflow without paper.
Stefan Engel-Flechsig, Chairman of FeRD emphasizes: “The ZUGFeRD 1.0 format guarantees the automated processing of structured invoice contents. We are very pleased that the IT industry is integrating ZUGFeRD 1.0 in their services addressing the needs of small and medium sized enterprises and public administrations. This strong engagement will ensure that ZUGFeRD is available in software products and services and ultimately reach the mass-market.”
The active involvement of FeRD in the European Multistakeholder Forum on Electronic Invoicing and in the standardization activities of CEN means that the interests of ZUGFeRD users are represented effectively in these bodies.
The Forum for Electronic Invoicing in Germany (FeRD) is the national platform of associations, German federal and state ministries and companies aiming at promoting electronic invoicing in Germany (www.ferd-net.de). The Forum’s task is to focus on the topic of electronic invoices from technical, business, economic and legal perspectives as well as to prepare, coordinate and implement suitable measures for the swift and simple use of electronic invoices. FeRD represents the interests of its members at European and international levels. The Forum was founded in Berlin on 31 March 2010 with the participation of various ministries of the federal and state governments, the Federal Chancellery (Secretariat of the National Regulatory Control Council, a government agency aimed at reducing bureaucracy) as well as the leading German business associations and other trade associations under the umbrella of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wirtschaftliche Verwaltung (Working Group for Economic Administration). The Forum is designed to increase both the level of acceptance and the dissemination of electronic invoices in Germany, to help shape opinion among companies and associations and to pool German opinion to pass on to European bodies such as the European Multistakeholder Forum on Electronic Invoicing.
About ZUGFeRD 1.0:
ZUGFeRD 1.0 combines structured XML data and PDF/A as visualization in a hybrid electronic invoice. Both the structured XML-file and the PDF visualization represent the complete invoice and the receiver can choose what he processes, be it XML, PDF or both. Eventually, this means that it is possible to exchange structured invoices without any prior consultation or agreement between the involved parties and without any agreement on the transmission itself. ZUGFeRD 1.0 is based on the regulations of the Cross Industry Invoice (CII) standard developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) as well as on the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) Message User Guides (MUG) for a core invoice, for which the CII serves as a basis. The ZUGFeRD 1.0 data model can be used in non-German-speaking countries – both in Europe and beyond.
The ZUGFERD 1.0 format can be downloaded here: http://www.ferd-net.de/front_content.php?idart=940
PDF/A-3 is the 3rd part of the ISO standard 19005, which specifies a long-term stable and archivable PDF, which itself is standardized in ISO 32000-1. PDF/A-3 was released in 2012 by ISO and encompasses all features and restrictions of the former PDF/A-2 (ISO 19005-2) standard but allows for the embedding of foreign file types like XML. PDF/A-3 document format supports a long-term stable and paper-like representation of documents as well as the original source or data of the documents bundled together in one file.
For further information please contact:
AWV e.V. – Working Group for Economic Administration Mr. Hendrik Leue Phone: +49 (0) 6196 -7772631 Email: leue[at]awv-net[dot]de