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How to start sending e-invoices?

E-invoicing is becoming more and more popular. On one hand, it is compulsory by law in most countries to send e-invoices to the public sector. On the other hand, it saves time and money for the sender and receiver.

So your customer has asked you to send them an e-invoice? Or you have heard somewhere that e-invoicing is beneficial. What exactly is an e-invoice we have covered here. And why e-invoices should not be sent via email, is covered here. They are sent from your accounting system to your customer’s accounting software via secure and reliable channels (and email unfortunately is not reliable). 

The good news is every company can start sending e-invoices. It is just a matter of will and some preparation as most accounting softwares already have an e-invoice capability built in them. 

Here are the steps for starting with e-invoicing: 

  1. Whom can you send e-invoices?
    First, e-invoices can be sent only to customers who are able to receive them. Whether an Estonian company accepts e-invoices can be seen in e-Business Register. Some accounting softwares also display which companies accept e-invoices. 
  1. e-invoices or EDI invoices
    Secondly, e-invoice is suitable when you sell services, or products that are consumed by the customer themselves (not resold). In case your customers resell your products (e.g. they are retailer or restaurant), e-invoices are not enough. Then you need EDI invoices

    To make it more complicated, it might be necessary to send both e-invoices and EDI invoices – e.g. if you sell coffee. Some of your business customers expense it (drink it), others resell it to their customers. Read here what is the difference between EDI and e-invoices.
  1. Check your accounting software (ERP) capability
    (In case your accounting is outsourced, ask your accountant to perform steps 3-5.)

    Contact your ERP provider to understand whether your software is capable of sending e-invoices. You also need to understand if your ERP has chosen a central e-invoice operator who delivers the invoices to the recipients, or whether you have to choose a service provider yourself. Some cloud ERPs already have central operators (Directo, Merit, EstPos OÜ etc). E-invoicing topics are often also included in software manuals. 
  1. Choose an e-invoice operator
    In case there is no central e-invoicing operator for your ERP, you need to choose a service provider, who will connect your accounting software to their network. E-invoicing operators ensure secure and reliable transport of e-invoices from sender to recipient in proper format (converting between various standards, if needed). For example, Telema has experience with over 16 different standards and 75 different ERPs. There are 38 certified ERP partners who have Telema’s standard module built in to accounting software and therefore are ready to support their customers e-invoice activation quickly and cost-effectively.
  1. Configure your ERP
    Most ERP-s require you to set up each customer for e-invoicing. For further instructions, turn to your ERP provider to learn how to set up your customer for e-invoicing. Often it is very simple:
start sending e-invoices

Dialog opening in e-arveldaja when clicking the “Send” button after creating and confirming the sales invoice.

  1. Send e-invoices
    If you have been sending PDF invoices from your ERP, there is minimal change to the process. When your ERP is set up correctly, sending an e-invoice is just a matter of a click. Some ERPs (Directo, Merit, Standard Books, eArveldaja etc) display whether your customer accepts e-invoices. So whenever you see that your customer accepts e-invoices, just send the invoices electronically. 

    If your company is not using any ERP or your ERP is not capable of e-invoicing, there are several online solutions such as e-arveldaja and to create and send e-invoices. It is however an acceptable solution only if the company sends just a few e-invoices as it incorporates double entry of data. If there are a lot of sales invoices, it is recommended to start using a compatible ERP.  

Why send e-invoices?

  • Speed and convenience for the buyer – invoice arrives right into recipient’s accounting or approval software almost instantly. 
  • Less mistakes – eliminate the chance for your partner to make mistakes when reentering data from PDF. No more false or delayed payments because of errors.
  • Secure delivery – you will know exactly whether and when your invoice reached the recipient unlike with email.
  • Free up working capital  – on average, you will get your money faster. E-invoice receivers have more likely efficient purchase invoice handling processes and invoices are not piled on a desk for weeks waiting to be confirmed.

Want to start sending e-invoices?

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