Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) network OB10 has announced its support to ZUGFeRD, a new German cross-industry standard for portable document format (PDF) invoices, which it said will assist companies of all sizes -but particularly small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – in gaining the benefits of straight-through processing (STP).
ZUGFeRD has been developed by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM). It includes input from OB10 and has received senior backing from the government and was recently launched at the annual CeBIT computer expo held in Hanover, Germany.
OB10 said the standard will help more SMEs benefit from e-invoicing by sharing structured invoice data within a PDF invoice. ZUGFeRD ensures the file complies with legal requirements, and can be easily read and processed without manual intervention. A PDF invoice alone is as prone to errors and compliance failures as a paper invoice.
OB10 was an active member of ‘working group AP 1 on business processes’ established by the German Electronic Invoicing Forum (FeRD). The forum created the basis of the standard with key stakeholders from the e-Invoicing market and industry associations.
“The definition of the ZUGFeRD standard is a major contribution to the adoption of e-Invoicing in Europe,” said Dr Donovan Pfaff, chief executive officer (CEO), Bonpago and head of the working group. “We focused on defining the processes and value-added services required to establish electronic documents in daily life.”
“ZUGFeRD, in conjunction with OB10, brings compliant STP to PDF invoices, which are used by many SMEs,” said Markus Hornburg, managing director, OB10 Germany. “We are the first global service provider to support its development and are delighted to offer it to our network members.”
However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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