With the new releases of ZUGFeRD 2.1 and Factur-X 1.0 the Forum for Electronic Invoicing Germany (FeRD) and the Forum National de la Facture Électronique et des Marchés Publics Électroniques (FNFE-MPE) publish their new joint and EN 16931-compliant version of ZUGFeRD 2.1 and Factur-X 1.0.
The EU-compliant invoice format ZUGFeRD 2.1 / Factur-X 1.0
The ZUGFeRD / Factur-X standard is a hybrid electronic invoice format consisting of two components: a PDF file and an embedded XML file. The PDF is the visual representation of the invoice and can therefore be read easily. The XML file, on the other hand, contains invoice data in a structured form so that it can be processed automatically. Its technical specifications are based on the international UN/CEFACT standard Cross Industry Invoice (CII) and the ISO standard PDF/A-3. It is compliant with the European standard EN 16931, which regulates the requirements for electronic invoices to public sector customers (B2G). ZUGFeRD 2.1 and Factur-X are fully compatible and technically identical.
Successful Cooperation between Germany and France since 2015
As a result, Germany and France have commonly developed a standard which will facilitate e-invoicing on an international scale. Both forums are officially supported and collaborate since 2015, several German-French Workshops were held, one at SEEBURGER AG in Bretten in April 2016.
At the Conférence numérique franco-allemande held on 27th October 2015 in Paris, the course for close cooperation in the field of digitalization and economic growth has been set with the development of the common E-Invoicing standard with the common name “Factur-X”.
Following the measures already taken by both countries to develop electronic invoicing, Germany and France are now making joint efforts to contribute to the development of common technical standards for electronic invoicing. The adoption of such common standards will reduce transaction costs and thus facilitate the further development of electronic exchanges, making businesses more competitive.
“The release of a common standard for electronic invoicing and the synchronization of the German and French hybrid format is the result of a long collaboration between FeRD and the FNFE-MPE”, says Cyrille Sautereau, Chair of the Forum National de la Facture Électronique et des Marchés Publics Électroniques.
Usage for B2B- and B2G- E-Invoicing and ERP-Integration
Electronic invoices in the ZUGFeRD and Factur-X format are already largely integrated into accounting, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions, and ChorusPro’s unique platform for French B2G invoices. AIFE (Financial Information Technology Agency of the French Government) has integrated Factur-X as an available hybrid format in Chorus Pro since May 2018, details see our blog Send invoices to the public administration in France via Platform Chorus Pro.
Other countries worldwide are using the common standard. Switzerland officially recommends the use of a hybrid invoice format based on the German/French ZUGFeRD/Factur-X standard, too. Details can be found in our blog Switzerland recommends using the German/French E-Invoicing standard.
The new versions also enable the exchange of standardized electronic invoices between businesses (B2B) as well as between businesses and public administrations (B2G).
B2G E-Invoicing gains importance at a time, when all levels of public administration including states and municipalities are obliged to guarantee the reception and processing of electronic invoices by April 18th, 2020 at the latest in Europe according the EU-Norm 16931.
Free Download of ZUGFeRD 2.1 and Factur-X 1.0
The “Forum for Electronic Invoicing Germany” (FeRD) is the national platform of associations, ministries, and companies for the promotion of electronic invoicing in Germany. Top-level state agencies, federal ministries, and business associations founded the forum on March 31st, 2010 in Berlin. FeRD is part of the “Working Group for Economic Administration” (AWV) that in turn receives financial support by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The forum aims to increase the acceptance and dissemination of electronic invoices in Germany, Europe, and beyond. FeRD’s structure includes competence centers that solve communications, compliance, technical and networking issues.
Founded in January 2012, the National Forum for Electronic Invoicing and Marketplace & Public E‑procurement (FNFE-MPE) has been set up as an association since April 2016. Its mission is to enable the widest consultation between all French public and private players in the context of the deployment of electronic invoices and public e‑procurement on the national market and in collaboration with other EU Member State National Forums. FNFE-MPE is a force for proposals in the definition of regulations, public policies and any incentive measures contributing to this objective. It participates in European Standardization works, especially the EN 16931 and its implementation in hybrid invoice Standard Factur-x / ZUGFeRD. The FNFE-MPE has more than 65 members, companies, associations, sectoral representatives, professional unions, service providers, software editors, experts and consultants, and represents France at the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum for Electronic Invoicing (EMSFEI). It supports and promotes the adoption of Standards and good practices for e-invoicing deployment in companies of all sizes and all sectors.
About SEEBURGER – Motor of digitalization and standardization
Through its active participation in UN/CEFACT, FeRD and the German/French workshops of FNFE-MPE and FeRD, SEEBURGER contributes significantly to the development of Factur-X, ZUGFeRD and other international standards for the digitalisation of business processes.
“We are pleased to have reached a milestone in the Franco-German cooperation for the establishment of a joint international e-invoicing standard with the creation of the versions ZUGFeRD 2.1 and Factur-X 1.0. The full harmonization is the result of the digitalization initiatives between FNFE-MPE and FeRD, which have been established since 2015,” says Rolf Wessel, Head of Competence Center 3 FERD ‘Standards, Formats & Integration’, Project Manager UN/CEFACT and Product Manager of SEEBURGER AG.
The ZUGFeRD/ Factur-X standard for example, uses the latest version of the United Nations’ Cross Industry Invoice (CII) syntax of UN/CEFACT. According to the European standard, invoices in the CII syntax must be accepted by all public administrations. The CII itself is in turn based on the current technological data model Supply Chain Reference Data Model (SCRDM) of the UN. In both topics (CII and SCRDM), SEEBURGER supports as an innovator and opinion leader in close cooperation with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für wirtschaftliche Verwaltung e.V. (Working Group for Economic Administration) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.
SEEBURGER also offers a wide range of e-invoicing solutions for business and government in over 55 countries. These solutions can be operated on-premises (in-house operation), as a cloud solution and as a hybrid solution. SEEBURGER offers a wide range of transfer options as well as international and country-specific e-invoicing formats – both incoming and outgoing. Furthermore, SEEBURGER is a Peppol access point operator. The SEEBURGER e-invoicing solutions can be used independent from the respective ERP system. A particularly deep system integration was developed for the modules of our partner SAP (e.g. SD, IS-U, etc.).
Find a detailed overview about what you should know about e-invoicing in our integration terminology section.
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Written by: Rolf WesselRolf Wessel has been product manager at SEEBURGER AG for software applications and services for electronic business data exchange since 2010. His focus is on solutions for SAP, electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and innovations for the digitalization of business and technical business processes. The Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland (FeRD) appointed Rolf Wessel as an expert. As project manager at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), he develops international trade facilitation and establishes standards for electronic business processes. Furthermore, he represents the German delegation of the FeRD at the Franco-German workshop with the Forum National de la Facture Electronique (FNFE) and thus supports the government initiative for international standardization and harmonization of e-invoicing processes. He is a member of the working committee "Electronic Business" at the German Institute for Standardization. (DIN) and Association for Electronic Invoicing (VeR). Rolf Wessel graduated in business informatics (FH) with a focus on financial management and production planning. After working in the electrical, financial, consumer goods, software and mineral oil industries, he had been a systems analyst and IT project manager in the retail and logistics sector from 2003 to 2010.