I had the pleasure to attend the EXPP in Munich last month and found a very strong interest in EU commission directive from July 13, 2010 (10858/10 + 11339/10 ADD 1). The week after EXPP, we hosted our first Ariba e-Invoicing User Group meeting and found that our users are very interested in understanding how the new directive will impact Ariba's e-Invoicing solution.
I would like to clarify that Ariba's e-Invoicing solution is compliant in Europe today and will continue to be so after the new directive from the EU commission has come in effect.
Since 2004, two methods have been approved to guarantee authenticity and integrity of an electronic invoice:
1. Advanced electronic signatures
2. Contract-based secure EDI
These two methods will continue to be approved methods for the foreseeable future. Since 2006, Ariba e-Invoicing solution has been using advanced electronic signatures to guarantee authenticity and integrity through our partnership with Trustweaver in Sweden. Electronic invoices produced on the Ariba Network have been found to be compliant in more than 20 European countries by local KPMG offices.
As of January 1, 2013, companies in the EU will have more choices as to how they prove the authenticity and integrity of e-Invoices. It has now been established that an invoice is compliant if a taxable person can prove an actual transaction “through business controls establishing a reliable audit trail between an invoice and a supply”. If a taxable person can prove, through business controls establishing a reliable audit trail between an invoice and a supply, it follows that the invoice complies with the integrity, authenticity and legibility requirements.
Ariba Network and Financial Solutions Product Management Team are active members in the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) working group for the development of sustainable compliance guidelines for electronic invoicing. CEN is the only recognized European organization for the planning, drafting and adoption of European Standards in all areas of economic activity. We are participating in the work shops to iron out the details of what business controls must be in place to prove the authenticity and integrity of electronic invoices. At this point, we do not have any plans to stop using advanced electronic signatures to guarantee authenticity and integrity - even after January 1, 2013.