eInvoicing Practices in the European Automotive Industry

This new Odette publication has been developed following the issuing of the EU Second Directive on VAT Invoicing 2010/45 and its implementation in the national legislation of the EU Member States. The directive was issued with the intention of harmonising VAT eInvoicing practices within the EU and Member States were obliged to bring their national legislation into line before 2013.

We have analysed the results of the changes in national legislation and the current status of eInvoicing in the various EU countries. This Odette publiation can be used as a complement to the eInvoicing Recommendation for Automotive Supply Chain Transactions involving Direct/Production Material. 

With the new directive in place in each EU country, companies can now use business controls to guarantee the integrity and authenticity of electronic invoices, irrespective of the method of exchange. By using business controls, companies are no longer required to establish detailed eInvoicing agreements and there is now much more flexibility in setting up the exchange of electronic invoice documents. 

Where are we today

A common interpretation of valid business controls has now been achieved and there are no longer any specific technical requirements for the exchange of e-Invoices within the EU. However, several differences in national legal frameworks still remain, such as certain archiving requirements, which can pose a considerable obstacle to a wider use of eInvoicing solutions. 

Additionally, certain practices adopted by industry companies may add constraints to the deployment of eInvoicing. For example, some partners may decide to outsource their eInvoicing process to a third party service provider, resulting in additional cost and, possibly, unfair business practices. Odette International and its National Organisations will always strive to eradicate such practices.

The way forward

The European automotive industry has spent a lot of time and effort over recent years to establish standardised eInvoicing practices. However, these practices are currently limited to the automotive supply chain and we look forward to a pan-European standard on eInvoicing to be developed by a newly founded CEN Technical Committee. We expect a wider use of a standardised eInvoicing format by public procurement bodies across Europe, which will lead to a wider general acceptance. We sincerely hope that the CEN work will take into account the experiences and requirements of major industry stakeholders such as those in automotive.

This document is available from 9 March 2015 and can be downloaded free of charge by Odette members.