Electronic invoice deployment is a challenge, specially when dealing with electronic signature.
To make electronic invoice adoption easier, we choose to design a system that would be easy to use for the issuing party, taken care internally of all aspects of electronic signature. At the same time it should be easy for the receiving party to deal with invoice content and electronic signature validation, through the use of the platform.
The system uses a UBL/facturae format for the invoice and a XAdES X-L (from ETSI TS 101 903 standard) electronic signature.
This electronic signature format includes all electronic evidences regarding the validity of the electronic signature thus freeing the receiving party from further processing.
The model takes into account that we have more than 150 certification authorities in Europe (and all of them should be considered when dealing with validation), and that electronic invoicing is also a key part of government eprocurement.
System must comply with European Directives 2006/112/CE, 2004/18/CE and 1999/93/CE, which means that must comply with equivalent Spanish regulations (Ley 59/2003, RD 1496/2003, HAC/962/2007, PRE/2971/2007, Ley 56/2007, Ley 11/2007, Ley 30/2007).
By the way, the system is compliant with all EU countries regulation involving electronic invoice and electronic signature.
Also Standards have to be taken in consideration: facturae, UBL (OASIS), XAdES (ETSI), CEN electronic invoice discussions, IDABC,...
Description of target users and groups
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMB) are the main beneficiaries of the simplifying electronic invoice approach.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
Several technogies were used: Ruby on rails (for the human machine interface), java (for the electronic signature), HSM (hardware Security Module) for the storage of privre keys,...
Use of standards is key when interoperability is the main goal. Invoice formats, electronic signature formats, delivery protocols, ... all are based in current standards, while some of the are work on progress (such as DSS - Digital Signature Services developed by Oasis).
Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology, Accessibility-compliant (minimum WAI AA), Open source software
Main results, benefits and impacts
Solution is highly recognized in Spain as the only implementation of XAdES-XL format in electronic signatures in electronic invoices, so it is used by other software developers to test interoperability.
It fully complies with facturae 3.1 specs released by Industry Ministry.
The deployment has been complemented with e-learning courses regarding electronic signature and electronic invoicing, and with a brother service named "CatSEO", a tool to promote companies catalogs through Search Engine Optomization.
During 2008 450 SMBs are being incorporated as users of the system and more tha double are expected in 2009. We are rethinking the platform business model to allow for free services given certain conditions, so cost would not be a barrier for future adopters.
Return on investment
Return on investment: €1,000,000-5,000,000
Track record of sharing
This case was presented in the 2008 "Premios Nacionales e-Factura" Award, and was finalist in the cathegory â€˜Mejor SoluciÃ³n Software de Factura ElectrÃ³nica para pymeâ€™ (Best eInvoice solution for SMBs).
I have presented it in my Blog "Todo es electronico" (Everything is electronic) http://inza.wordpress.com
Electronic Invoice should be easy to promote adoption.
The receiving party has the key to accept or not electronic invoicing, so it should be specially easy for it.
Use of standards is key to allow for interoperability, in invoice formats, in electronic signature formats and in delivery protocols.
Standards Compliance can live together with simple solutions.
Scope: International, National