Archivo de la categoría: Certified scanning

Scanning of inbound paper invoices in Europe

The rules on invoices digitization from paper support to electronic support are not harmonized across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

After Directive 2010/45/EU and Explanatory notes on VAT invoicing rules, most if not all of the European countries allow for an invoice to be converted from paper to electronic form upon receipt, and to discard the paper version,  subject to certain conditions.

The general rule is to preserve authenticity, integrity and legibility as this preservation rule and these three requirements are the basis of equal treatment of paper invoices and electronic invoices.

Integrity and authenticity can be achieved through business controls  or electronic signatures, when applied to electronic invoices. So, current country by country requirements for invoice scanning varies from “no special requirements” to “electronic signature and something more”.

Some countries have developed a complete set of requirements for invoice scanning, being probably Spain the country in which those requirements are more detailed.

In other countries there are some paper documents scanning framework regulation which applies to any paper document and among them, paper invoices. In those countries it is interesting to know that both approaches can be applied for electronic paper invoices: the national VAT regulation after transposition of  Directive 2010/45/EU and the general regulation for paper documents scanning.

Countries that have published paper document scanning regulations are France, Germany, Italy or Luxembourg, among others.

One of the aspects which differs more is the time in which the invoices have to be kept, to be available in case of an audit or a tax inspection, ranging from 4 to 10 years, and more time in case of special assets.

If some scanning software solution could be used in as many countries as possible, this could be the preferred solution.

Such a invoice digitization software should include a combination of requirements that could be summarized as follows:

  • Image quality requirements: resolution, contrast, perspective correction, focus, sharpness, illumination, clarity, faithfulness, completeness.
  • Continuous, uninterrupted  process from image capture to PDF generation including an electronic signature or electronic seal (other file formats are also possible).
  • Capture of relevant data from the invoice or receipt: name of the seller, VAT number, postal address, full amount, tax amount, to be preserved as proof of digitization.
  • Preservation of evidences of digitization process (guaranteeing that wrong captures can be hidden in the system but not deleted).
  • Inclusion of a search engine to facilitate the possibility to find any invoice complying with specific search criteria in case of tax audit or inspection.
  • Integration with company CRM

Some countries, such as Spain requires that those requirements are verified by an auditor, and then submitted to the tax agency which in turn can grant a certification code.

In other countries there are not specific requirements but companies can have peace of mind if they can count on a report stating that the software they are using complies with the national VAT regulation in what could be applied to invoices and receipts scanning.

These could be good reasons to contact EADTrust, which can inform comprehensively about invoice scanning requirements in any European country and certify that some specific software platform complies with the invoice scanning requirements of Country A or Country B.

Certified Digitization or Certified Scanning

Certified-ScanningThe possibility to scan paper documents in a way that guarantees the exact image of paper original  and allows to discard it appeared in 2007 in Spain, after Order EHA 962/2007 was published.

At that moment only tax related documents were allowed to be scanned using this option. To perform the scanning, a special kind of software named “Certified Scanning Software” was needed.

The following are the requirements that the “Certified Scanning Software” must fulfill to guarantee that the digitized image is a good representation of paper original:

  • The digitization process should be carried out automatically in its entirety, from the moment the system take the picture till the final file including the electronic signature is generated and stored.
  • The possible image optimization process guarantees that all fields and data in the document are perfectly legible and valid for its management. Digital image must respect the original geometry of the document in paper format.
  • The software generates metadata information (in XMP format) in every file with the digitized image including identification reference of the approval granted by the Tax Agency and a timestamp, as well as the name and the version number of the scanning software.
  • The software should register the digitization process in a special database which links the image files with additional information (described in article 64 of Royal Decree 1624/1992) and includes security features to behave as an “append only log” inluding electronic signatures for every accounting period (usually, monthly or quaterly)

Two documents are to be provided for the homologation: “Technical Description” and “Quality Management Manual “. Users are mandated to comply with the usage rules set forth in the “Software Quality Management Manual ”

Other requirements, are:

  • Minimun  resolution of 200 ppi.
  • A limited list of file formats are allowed: ISO 19005 (PDF / A); PNG; JPEG 2000; PDF 5.0 or higher; TIFF 6.0 or higher. (only lossless compression algorithms are allowed, such as LZW)
  • The management and storage system of the digitized documents, must guarantee access and full search of the digitized documents for audit purposes

More information:

Contact EADTrust at +34917160555 if you need ore information.