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Online Invoice: 4 Tools to Dematerialize Stress-Free

By Roberta SalzanoUpdated: May 27, 2020, first publication: June 2019

The possibility to create a sales invoice online is at the heart of the dematerialization challenges for all businesses. The paper invoice is disappearing and being replaced by the electronic invoice, which offers many benefits to companies: time and financial savings, speed of processing and an eco-friendly approach.

However, these benefits come with conditions: companies must comply with legal aspects, have an archive, use an electronic signature and the EDI format to certify the issuer's authentication.

Lucky for you, dematerialization software allow you to issue online invoices and take care of these requirements. Which ones? appvizer provides you with all the answers in this article.

Is it really the right moment to change?

  • 80% of CEOs are investing in digital transformation
  • 95% of digital strategies are focused on software adoption
  • Technology and digitization matter to customers 

Source: Bearingpoint.com

Characteristics and Definition of an E-Invoice in 3 Points

Online invoice: key features to keep in mind

Type of dematerialization
  • Unstructured electronic invoice (example: PDF format template)
  • Structured electronic invoice (example: EDI format)

Legal obligations in EU

  • Electronic signature or EDI format (authentication)
  • Electronic archiving of invoice
Advantages
  • Financial management
  • Time-saving
  • Efficiency
  • Easy to control
  • Eco-friendly
Software
  • Interoperable with other systems,
  • Providing a secure connection (e.g.: SSL encryption)

#1: The Different Typologies of a Dematerialized Invoice

Unstructured electronic invoice

  • is edited in non-alterable electronic formats such as PDF
  • is not editable in Microsoft Word or Excel timesheets (these formats are not certifiable)
  • is meant to be more accessible for small businesses
  • is cheap for small volumes of invoices

This unstructured paperless format suits perfectly small businesses’ needs: a software adapted to this type of structure allows the manager to save time and money on many of his tasks.

In the case of simple invoicing, where invoices are sent and received by email, the paper invoice remains the only legal proof; however, the commercial proof remains indisputable between buyer and seller.

Structured electronic invoice

  • complies to transparency requirements for tax administration
  • fit in the standards for electronic data interchange
  • is edited in electronic formats such as EDI
  • is essential to manage a large volume of invoices

This structured dematerialization format allows a quick search in archives through different filters (VAT, customer, period, etc.): thanks to the appropriate software that process can be shortened.

#2: 3 Legal Criteria Define the Electronic Invoice

For what concern American legal criteria it’s important to remark that providing a general framework is complex due to the complexity of the environment.

Criterion 1: The electronic signature as a guaranty of integrity

A third party authority applies its electronic certification to authenticate the issuer of the invoice, the client and the content of invoices.
It signs each invoice electronically (processing possible by lot).
The electronic signature allows the client to verify the authenticity of the invoice and the veracity of the information in it before the payment.

💡 Dedicated software, such as Yousign, ensure that businesses can dematerialize their invoices and sign them securely.

Criterion 2: The EDI format as an alternative to electronic signature

The EDI format (Electronic Data Interchange) is a standardized format for data exchange; standards are certified by authorities.

Invoices are processed automatically by computers in compliance with EDI standards.

When two companies choose this processing method for e-bills, they must first define a common exchange standard for teletransmission.

Criterion 3: Electronic archiving, retention obligation

When a structure sets up a tax dematerialization system, it must then store its electronic invoices in an archive which complies with the laws, an electronic safe guaranteeing the storage of e-bills in complete integrity.

#3: The 8 Advantages of Electronic Invoicing

Some software packages ensure secure invoice dematerialization: they make easier not only the control of invoices and payments but also of bank reconciliation, thus facilitating synchronization with the company's business account.

Here are the 8 advantages of using an online invoice system:

Advantage n°1: less paper, less direct costs

The absence of paper (or anyway a strong reduction of consume) eliminates many costs:

  • processing invoices,
  • printing,
  • ink,
  • stamps and envelopes used to send an invoice to the client,
  • the costs associated with archiving issues (paper, physical storage space, etc.).

Advantage n°2: accelerated processing

Postal and electronic processing are incomparable: the transmission of invoices digitally leads to the automation of certain tasks in invoicing, accounting and online payments.

Advantage n°3: saving of time and increase of productivity

By eliminating information delivery times, electronic invoice transmission boosts processing speed and employees’ productivity:

  • blank invoice template and contact details for recurring invoices
  • automation of bookkeeping reports
  • electronic signature or transmission in EDI format eliminates time-consuming human intervention
  • archiving and collection are done with a few clicks.

Advantage n°4: traceability and better control

Each document which complies with dematerialization standards is easily identifiable with the identification invoice number. As it is registered, the control of the tax administration becomes a simple formality.

Advantage n°5: increased efficiency

The dematerialization of invoices between customers and suppliers makes possible to manage incoming and outgoing flows, using software and an electronic safe available 24/7. The payment system will be facilitated through payment gateway, Paypal integrations, bank transfers and a lot of other tools to pay online and get or send the amount due.

Advantage n°6: fewer errors and disputes

Software solutions do not make calculation errors: you configure your tool and avoid the risk of errors due to double counting of information. Certifications guarantee the veracity of data.

Advantage n°7: a level of safety and reliability never achieved before

Three strong points reassure companies:

  1. The electronic signature or the EDI system guarantee the integrity of the invoice.
  2. Invoice dematerialization software allow for monitoring and systematic controlling procedures.
  3. A compliant electronic safe secures the storage of data in the cloud.

Advantage n°8: financial gains

Replacing paper results in a considerable reduction in direct costs, faster processing, and shorter lead times by increasing productivity: the financial repercussion results in real savings, but also in a more competitive return in the long term.

3 Online Software to manage your invoices easily

Software Main advantage Target
E-invoice Dematerialization SME
Sage Business Cloud Accountant Complete and reliable It depends on the package
Sellsy Modular structure

Up to small business

E-invoice: invoice dematerialization software for SMEs

Who uses E-invoice?

E-invoice is an online dematerialization software looking at SMEs with more than 50 employees who need to process at least 1500 invoices per year.
This is the optimal threshold to cross in order to fully benefit from the advantages of tax dematerialization: the publisher Generix Group has numerous certifications guaranteeing the expected performance.

The advantages of E-invoice

The publisher has obtained 10 certifications covering legal compliance, confidentiality, and security, to enable users to process it faster and with high-performance processes.

The E-invoice platform allows a complete tax dematerialization. All electronic invoicing channels are thus supported such as EDI, signed or PDF files (including CSV, XML and TXT file management).

Other advantages of the software for electronic invoicing:

  • an integrated electronic safe for archiving,
  • a console to manage exchanges and business indicators,
  • a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with an availability rate of up to 99.99%,
  • daily backup procedures,
  • a secure Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection,
  • services to connect your partners to the solution.
Generix Invoice Services

Dematerialization of invoices and electronic safe
Learn more about Generix Invoice Services

Sage: An accounting service that will not let you down

Who uses Sage

Sage is strongly focused on small businesses. Indeed, they require a complete solution that at the same time could be at an affordable price. This product is for those companies looking for a tool to handle invoices and basic accounting for less than 10€ per month.

Why Sage

This invoicing tool is made for you if you want a reliable cloud-based solution that will also be super competitive in terms of pricing. The interface is intuitive and you can access it everywhere from any platform, the maximal comfort for your business.
Furthermore, Sage will provide you its well-known excellent support service in order to clarify any possible doubts.

Let’s see the main characteristics of the product:

  • Collaborative functions
  • Invoice creation
  • Monitoring activities and real-time reports
  • Forecasting on costs
  • Synchronization with the bank account
  • Payments online  
Sage Business cloud accounting

166 reviews

All accounting with the convenience of the cloud
Learn more about Sage Business cloud accounting

Sellsy Invoicing: the solution allowing to evolve quickly

Who uses Sellsy Invoicing?

Many self-employed, very small businesses and SMEs up to 250 employees are attracted by Sellsy because of its ease of use and the time it saves them from quotation to the collection, including online invoicing.

Sellsy Invoicing's strengths to remember

Sellsy is a modular solution. The company can add new modules as it grows and meets its needs, such as CRM or customer support.

On the accounting side, you also have facilities:

  • you have control over the accounting plan (integrated),
  • you can create exports,
  • you can give access to your accountant
  • online signatures and payments

Finally, this solution is the perfect instrument for the creation of a commercial offer through some customizable templates, it allows you to convert quotes into invoices and set up an online payment of your invoices

Bonus: e-invoicing and electronic signature in complete security with Yousign

As mentioned above, the electronic signature is a guarantee of integrity for companies. How to guarantee a compliant electronic signature for your dematerialized documents?

Yousign is an electronic signature software in SaaS mode. Sign your dematerialized documents thanks to an online tool that guarantees a maximum level of security.

yousign electronic signature

Yousign allows to:

  • sign a document alone, with several people, or to have other people sign it,
  • sign any type of document by importing it easily into the tool,
  • identify the signatories,
  • timestamp and seal the document,
  • manage reminders if you are waiting for a signature.

The Yousign API allows you to integrate it easily with your software (accounting, invoicing, ERP, CRM). The solution has obtained ETSI, eIDAS, ANSSI and RGPD certifications. Yousign is also a trusted third party and certification authority.

Yousign

130 reviews

The eSignature designed for SMBs
Learn more about Yousign

Latest data to know on electronic invoicing

The term “online invoice” should not be confused with the term e-banking, which is sometimes used in some different cases: if you want to reconcile with your bank and facilitate your online transactions, explore the possibilities of each solution.

Some companies appreciate the ability to make automatic transfers from their professional bank accounts to ensure that their bills are paid quickly. Stop relying on paper and move to the new invoice generation.

Once you have this information, you now have the essential elements to guide you towards the most appropriate invoice generator!

Transparency is an essential value for Appvizer. As a media, we strive to provide readers with useful quality content while allowing Appvizer to earn revenue from this content. Thus, we invite you to discover our compensation system.   Learn more

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