Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find most of the answers. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us!

General

What is e-Invoicing?

An electronic or electronic invoice is an invoicing system in which invoices generated by one software can be read by any other software, eliminating the need to enter fresh data and errors.

Simply put, it is an invoice generated using a standardized format in which electronic invoice data can be transferred to others, thus ensuring data interoperability.

An electronic invoice may include the various technologies by which the invoice is presented.

An electronic invoice can be defined as a structured data set that is sent as an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) message.

In response to the European Directive 2014/55/EU German legislation defines an electronic invoice in the Act to promote electronic government (E-Government Act - EgovG) as follows:

An invoice is electronic if:

1. it is issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format and
2. the format enables the invoice to be processed automatically and electronically.

§4a Para.2 German EGovG

The simple sending of invoices as PDF files does not meet these requirements, as the recipients cannot automatically process such PDF files. Instead, recipients expect electronic invoices to be in a structured format that can be understood automatically.

 

I’m already using e-Invoicing, why is this different?

In most modern business scenarios, an invoice is a paper document or PDF file sent to a recipient organization by post or email. At best, it is a "one-way" transaction - the recipient will have to re-enter the invoice details in its own accounting system (e.g., accounts payable). Similarly, you can receive many invoices as PDF files - you will also need someone to manually enter the invoice details or scan the invoice pages into your system. These manual interventions/translations can inevitably lead to errors.

 

What are the advantages?

The main advantage of e-Invoicing is the huge savings potential that the introduction of electronic invoices offers companies. Print and delivery costs are eliminated, invoices are delivered faster and processing errors are reduced. If there is a link to an incoming invoice, the invoice can be booked fully automatically. In addition, the use of an electronic invoice reduces the time from invoicing to payment and thereby increases supplier liquidity.

Advantages of e-Invoicing at a glance:

    • Secure
    • Real-time delivery and processing
    • Touchless operations
    • High data quality
    • Track and traceability
    • Better cash flow and lower DSO
    • High ROI
    • Environmentally friendly

 

Is e-Invoicing developing globally?

Due to government regulations, companies conducting international operations are increasingly required to create and send their invoices electronically. But each country has its own legal regulations. Corresponding global rules for electronic invoicing already exist in more than 65 countries, and the number is growing.

 

Who is obliged to e-Invoicing in Germany?

All recipients of invoices in the public sector should be able to receive e-invoices from April 18, 2020. From November 27, 2020, all suppliers of invoice recipients of the Federal Government will also be obliged to issue their invoices in the required electronic format. Few clients at state and municipal level require only a (genuine) e-Invoice later from their suppliers. However, there are also regulations according to which the customer may, when entering into a contract, provide for an obligation to submit invoices in the form of an e-Invoice. At present, these rules are available in 12 Federal States in the form of ERechV.

 

Implementation dates of the EU Directive in Germany
    • 27 November 2018 - The central invoice receipt platform of the federal government (ZRE) goes live;
    • 27 November 2019 - Obligation to receive and process e-invoices for all federal authorities;
    • 18 April 2020 - Obligation to receive and process e-invoices for federal states and municipalities;
    • 27 November 2020 - Obligation for suppliers to submit e-invoices to federal authorities and federal public-sector institutions in accordance with the E-Rech-VO;
    • 18 April 2021 - Obligation to deliver as e-invoice in accordance with the respective federal state legislation to federal states, local authorities and the public sector institutions of the federal states and local authorities.

 

What is PEPPOL?

The Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) project was launched in 2008 to facilitate electronic procurement across borders. Technology standards have been developed and implemented by all European governments. Peppol is the most important driving force for e-procurement by public authorities in the EU and naturally supports Directive 2014/55/EU. Peppol is not limited to the electronic exchange of invoices, but covers the entire e-procurement process.
Peppol is used, for example, as an electronic platform for ordering and exchanging e-invoices in public procurement and is increasingly used for business-to-business (B2B) scenarios. Peppol is gaining momentum worldwide and is used in 32 countries.
Peppol currently consists of a consortium of project partners from twelve European countries. In countries, the so-called Peppol authorities are responsible for determining the national characteristics of an electronic invoice. In Germany, this task is taken over by the Coordination Centre for IT Standards (KoSIT). The KoSIT, for example, determines whether an XRechnung invoice and an AS4 transport protocol are compliant with PEPPOL.
The invoice exchange in the Peppol network is based on a so-called 4-angle model. The 4-corner model consists of a transmitter, a receiver and their access points. Peppol UBL (Universal Business Language) format is used for seamless cooperation between different systems. Communication is done through the Peppol network, which provides a partner directory through which the recipients, supported processes (e.g. electronic invoice) and the recipient's access point are identified.

 

How do XRechnung and the german GoBD fit together?

The principles for the proper keeping and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form as well as for data access (GoBD) contain, among other things, specifications as to which invoice contents are to be archived also in the case of electronic invoices.

 

What is the difference between XRechnung and ZUGFeRD 2.0?

The main difference between the two formats is obvious in the truest sense of the word: whereas an e-invoice in XRechnung standard is a pure data record, an invoice in ZUGFeRD 2.0 standard consists of a data record and a so-called visual document in the form of a PDF. However, both standards basically meet the European requirements.

 

About Webware Invoice Portal

Is my e-Invoice secure?

Security and integrity of the messages exchange through the Invoice Portal relies on using encrypted transport SSL and additionally a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This ensures that only parties with valid digital certificates can communicate.

 

Where do I find more technical information?

For necessary technical specifications and resources as well as related fees please contact us.

 

Does it support cross-border transactions?

Yes, Invoice Portal allows you to send and receive invoices from overseas entities. Please note that this does not exempt you from complying with any local or international regulations.

 

Are consumer invoices included?

No, Invoice Portal only covers business to business(B2B) and business to government (B2G) transactions, businesses to consumer transactions are currently not covered.

 

What is the purpose of Invoice Portal?

The basic aim behind adoption of e-invoice system is to reduce the submission of multiple statements and details by the tax payers and help the purchaser to get the Input tax credit easily. With our solution, you meet all legal obligations, also simplifying the receipt and processing of invoices.

Navigation on Portal

How to add or update the information to my account?

You can update or edit information pertaining to your account, such as name, address, your own user details, banking details. This can be done from the portal menu – just head to your account, the menu is located on the top right corner of the home page.

 

How do I add additional client so that I could invoice them?

If you’re looking to add some more clients, you’ll need to take the following steps.

1. Go to the menu and select ‘Clients > New’.

2. Fill in the ‘Client Form’.

3. Click on ‘save’.

 

Can co-workers be added to my account?

Yes. Navigate to ‘Settings’ > ‘Users’. From here you can add new users, define their account capabilities and transfer administrator rights if necessary.

 

I forgot my login details. Where can I recover my password or username?

No problem. It's good to remember that your username is the email address that you used to register your account. If you have forgotten your password, please click the "Forgot Password" button on the login page of the portal, where you will need to enter your registered email address to which you will be sent an email address to reset your password.

 

How do I change my password?

To change your password, please follow the steps below:

1. Log in to your account

2. Go to Account page.

3. Click Change password

From here you can change your password.

 

How can I start using SFTP connection?

Data exchange through the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) must occur only between a Customer and the Invoice Portal SFTP server; the SFTP connection can be established by the Customer and data can be uploaded or downloaded through the interface based on the system structure.

The SFTP connection requires users to supply credentials (username is provided at the end of the user registration; the password is configured during the activation).

The SFTP interface for the production system is available at the following host name and (non-standard) port:

SFTP-Server app.invoice-portal.de

Port 19540

Your SFTP access can be configured in “Settings -> SFTP Configuration” menu. To allow access, please enter the password in “SFTP Password” field and then press the “Send request” button.

After sending the request, your page will be reloaded when your access is ready. It can take up to 2 minutes to be processed. When access is granted, your page status turns green and you will see all required access data, except for the password.

 

Can I change my SFTP password?

You can change your password whenever you want, just enter your password in “SFTP Password” field and wait 2 minutes to apply changes. Your page also would be reloaded on completion.

For your security we recommend to use strong  passwords. The password length should be  between 8 and 30 symbols.

 

How do I access the Invoice Portal e-mail interface?

The procedure for obtaining access to invoice portal E-Mail Interface:

1. Finish registration on app.invoice-portal.de

2. Send request to support@invoice-portal.de.

3. Receive personal E-Mail address, that you will be using to send your files to. You can see it in “Service Options” menu in app.invoice-portal.de

4. Configure allowed E-Mail addresses in app.invoice-portal.de “Settings” menu 

Now you will be able to send invoices to provided address. They will be processed on our side and sent to receiver, if possible.

 

How do I create an invoice on the Portal?

To create an invoice, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:

1. Head to the Dashboard page and select ‘Create invoice.’

2. Input your invoice file.

3. You will then be taken to a new page where you can submit your invoice line items.

Or you can upload file via PEPPOL. Then you need to go to ‘File transfer via PEPPOL’ page and click on button ‘File upload’ button in top right corner.

Data upload is strictly limited to 10 MB per file to prevent congestion of data processing and overloading of the portal. 

The download is mainly based on the receipts retrieving that confirms the status of the previous uploads, data uploaded description, and also provide information about errors that could have been occurred.

 

Are there any requirements for uploading files?

All data exchanged between customer and the Invoice Portal SFTP server will be in compliance with the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and all data transmission must comply with the eXtensible Schema Design (XSD) files defined.

The XSD files provide the technical definition of the data provision and define the technical content rules for the file content. 

Please ensure that the file name does not contain special characters, “umlauts” or spaces.

The following characters are allowed: a-z  A-Z  0-9  ._-

The file extension should be .xml

Examples for a correct file name:  invoice_20200401-002.xml
2020-04-01_XRechnung35.xml

Examples for an incorrect file name: invoice  20200401-002.xml   (space)
Rechnung_zubehör.xml (umlauts)
Rechnung.txt (incorrect extension)

Please make sure that the name of every file is unique. If you choose a file name which has been already in use, your file will be ignored.

 

How do I send an invoice via SFTP ?

To send an invoice via SFTP you need to upload a valid invoice with a correct name in the “upload” folder, then our portal will register your file and send it to the receiver. 

You can also upload multiple files at once, even folders of files. All files from subfolders will be put in the “upload” folder and checked. The uploaded folders will be deleted.

Example: INV2020_158.xml

The invoice file will be removed from “upload” folder after processing and will be accessible in portal. You will see response regarding this file in “upload_response” folder.

 

How do I check my invoice status?

Current invoice status can be seen in the portal. It shows you where your invoice is and what happens next.

The possible statuses are:

Sent: This status only applies to invoices submitted via the ‘Create invoice’ page. Once sent, the invoice is registered and will display this status until it is processed

Accepted: The invoice has been processed successfully and is awaiting delivery to the Buyer 

Failed: The invoice has failed validation. This most commonly caused by a processing error or missing data that is required by the system, country or other party. 

Received: The invoice has been successfully delivered to the Buyer. If the Buyer does not have the invoice status service, you will not receive any further updates on this invoice

 

How do I check my invoice status when using the e-mail interface?

You will receive all responses on your configured E-Mails. If you sent E-Mail with header “Invoice #2020/123”, you will receive following responses:

    • If file was successfully sent:

“Success : Invoice #2020/123” 

    • If error occurred in the process of sending:

“Error: Invoice #2020/123”

    • If your file failed our validation:

“Rejected: Invoice #2020/123”

Where are the received invoices stored when using the SFTP interface?

If your organization is registered as a receiver in the Invoice Portal system, then you will be able to receive invoices from other PEPPOL participants.

All received invoices will be moved to the “Download” folder.

The time of processing, time of file reception and size of file will be used for file name.

<Unix time of processing>_<Unix time of file reception>_<Size of file in bytes >.xml

Example: 1591249155_1583216170_8078.xml

 

How does e-Invoicing work for outgoing invoices?

The creation and delivery of paper invoices are highly manual and inefficient business processes for suppliers. These cause high costs and lead to errors and late payments.

Using Invoice Portal for outgoing invoices optimizes these internal processes, saves costs, increases the transparency of internal processes and improves the environmental footprint. Companies can thus improve their customer loyalty and secure market opportunities and competitive advantages.

By using our solution for outgoing invoices, manual outgoing invoice processes are eliminated and the time for invoices to become due is considerably shortened by immediate delivery.

 

How does e-Invoicing work for incoming invoices?

By using Invoice Portal, incoming invoices can be processed by the customer in a continuous, automated process: from the recording of incoming invoices to the final booking.

All steps that an invoice goes through in the verification process are logged. The invoice content required for the booking is transferred to the customer's ERP system. The invoice, attachments in the editing process, conversion and editing protocols must be archived in a revision-proof manner in accordance with the applicable national requirements.