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Electronic invoice

New electronic invoice format: everything you need to know about the reform

The electronic invoice will be generalized from 2024 for exchanges between professionals. Here are the main characteristics of this new format.

Use of electronic invoicing in business

New electronic invoice format: everything you need to know about the reform

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On January 1, 2020, a real revolution took place in the accounting and financial departments of French companies. Since this date, companies working for the public sector are required to send their payment requests to the administration in a dematerialized way. This is done on the public billing portal Chorus Pro.

The order of September 15, 2021 then established the generalization of this obligation to B2B exchanges. And, in 2022, a decree on electronic invoicing specifies the terms of application and the implementation schedule for private sector companies. Let's go into the details of this major change in your invoicing habits.

What is an electronic invoice?

You are probably already familiar with this concept. However, a brief reminder is always welcome. So, let's see together what the elaboration and the emission of an electronic invoice entails.

The electronic invoice in brief

E-invoicing is the other name used to designate electronic invoicing. This is also recognized by the DGFIP. With a few exceptions, invoices for transactions between companies liable to VAT in France will now have to be issued entirely in electronic form.

The conditions of execution of this obligation of electronic invoicing are specified in article 289 bis of the General Tax Code. Thus, from the creation of the document to its completion, and up to its edition and sending, everything will soon be done in a dematerialized way. Attention: for example, a paper invoice issued on a stub notebook then scanned and converted into PDF is not considered as e-invoicing by the tax authorities. In addition, all the legal mentions in force must appear in the document.

What are the advantages of electronic invoices?

Say goodbye to filing rooms overflowing with paperwork! From now on, all your company's billing information will be stored on a server or a dematerialization platform. This significantly reduces the administrative burden, not to mention the cost of issuing all these documents. In addition, the risk of loss or misfiling of invoices is significantly reduced. The legibility of documents is increased. Finally, by making relations with their suppliers more fluid through real-time monitoring of invoice payment, companies gain in productivity.

The tax authorities also plan to use this advance to simplify VAT returns by pre-filling in the forms. It also wants to improve the fight against fraud by simplifying controls. Finally, e-invoicing will be used for e-reporting purposes: the administration will be able to obtain a report on transactions that have not been the subject of an electronic invoice (BtoC sales for example).

What will be the new format of the electronic invoice?

In mid-2022, the government announced a significant reform of its finance law regarding electronic invoicing. This is in line with the European directive governing transactions between different European countries in the context of public procurement.

Thus, in order for an invoice to be recognized in electronic format, all invoicing actions related to the sale or purchase of goods and services must be dematerialized, from the generation to the sending of the electronic document.

Implementation schedule

Don't panic: the regulations provide for a transition period spread over several years. The reform has set out the various deadlines for a smooth transition.

  • Since 2022

The law establishes that all French companies and structures subject to VAT must issue, send and receive electronic invoices as part of their transactions with public bodies (via the public portal Chorus Pro).

  • As of July 1, 2024

All French companies subject to VAT must be able to receive dematerialized invoicing documents. Their issuance becomes mandatory for large companies.

  • As of January 1, 2025

Electronic publishing and sending now also applies to medium-sized companies (MSEs).

  • As of January 1, 2026

VSEs are the last companies that will be asked to comply with the reform.

Operational implementation of the reform

To comply with the new rules, companies have a choice:

  • Selection of a private dematerialization platform recognized by the administration, also called PDP, for Platform of Dematerialization Partner.
  • Use of the Public Billing Portal, the PPF, which is supported by Chorus Pro.

What are the different types of electronic invoices?

Until recently, three types of formats coexisted. However, in order to increase productivity by automating as many operations as possible, the use of the first one is no longer allowed since 2022.

Unstructured format

This is the classic invoice, the one that could be sent by e-mail until recently: a simple document saved in PDF or JPEG, taking a scanned invoice or executed on a spreadsheet. It is now to be banned from your commercial exchanges.

Structured format

This document preparation system is directly derived from EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange. A dedicated computer application allows the direct transmission of information between companies. This application, linked to the invoicing software, has many functions, including the standardization of the fields to be filled in an invoice. This standardization of the way of presenting the data offers an invaluable saving of time on the elaboration of the invoices, and a perfect readability of those but is not easily visualized by a human.

Factur-X: the mixed or hybrid format

Factur-X combines the advantages of PDF and EDI. Thus, there can be manual processing of the file, as the important information is easily viewable by humans. At the same time, the content of the file is mostly filled in automatically by the accounting software, based on an XML file. The action is optimized, while limiting the risk of errors. In addition, the authenticity of the document is guaranteed through the electronic signature. Finally, its hybrid nature gives it an unalterable character, appreciated by the tax authorities.

As you can see, the automation of accounting records and the ability to easily issue and receive invoices in electronic format are real assets for your company. If your accounting software does not yet have these features, consider Regate: our complete integrated SaaS management and payment platform. By automating your financial and accounting management, you can delegate time-consuming tasks and anticipate your company's compliance. And, you can finally focus on your core business: analysis and high value-added consulting!


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