(1) What is an electronic invoice? An electronic invoice is a structured set of data containing all information required to be present on the invoice. These include legally required information (defined by applicable regional and accounting rules), business information (defined by particular business process of invoice issuer or receiver). These required information are generated, transferred, stored, and verified in accordance with particular rules and principles usually defined for a particular country or region. In some countries, electronic invoices have the equivalent status to paper invoices and can be used interchangeably. However, in some countries, a paper copy is still required as legal invoice and electronic data can be used only as a digital document allowing optimization of the company’s account payables processes.. (2) What is e-invoicing? E-invoicing is an automated process of electronic invoice generation, transmission, signature, verification, and storage compliant with applicable jurisdiction. In e-invoicing, legal and business requirements need to be accepted by both sending and receiving parties. (3) What is a digital signature? A digital signature serves the purpose of ensuring data authenticity and integrity. Digital signature is a technology based on applied cryptography using specific hardware and software tools. The digital signature creates a unique electronic record in the document, which can be later re-verified to ensure no changes was made to the document over time. (4) What are the different types of digital signatures? There are different types of digital signatures available. Some of them are used only to ensure technical data authenticity; others are also accepted by applicable regional legislation as equivalent of a seal (i.e. seal for paper documents). Depending on the country and region, different digital signatures can be allowed or required for electronic invoices, including: a. Electronic signature - (also called a weak electronic signature or light electronic signature), is usually defined as “data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication". b. Advanced electronic signature – means electronic signature which satisfies a number of additional requirements, including: unique link that is capable of identifying the signatory. The signatory has sole control over this type of signature. The signatory generates the signature on their own and link it to the data to which it relates; any subsequent change of the data is therefore detectable. Advanced electronic signature guarantees the integrity and authentication of the text. c.
Qualified digital signature – means advanced electronic signature based on a qualified certificate and is created by a secure-signature-creation device. All technical elements used to apply such signature must be of the latest technology.
(5) How will a digital signature be embedded in the files (in SIS)? The original XML file is encapsulated into the digitally-signed XML file. For the PDF, the signature will be accessible through the dedicated feature of your software reader. Upon receipt of the signed files, you may request validation of the signature. This will be provided and stored as a separate file. (6) In which countries does IATA support Digital Signature? IATA currently supports Digital Signature in 37 countries; these are: AUSTRALIA (AU) AUSTRIA (AT) BELGIUM (BE) BULGARIA (BG)
LATVIA (LV) LIECHTENSTEIN (LI) LITHUANIA (LT) LUXEMBOURG (LU)
NEW ZEALAND (NZ)
CZECH REPUBLIC (CZ)
FINLAND (FI) FRANCE (FR) GERMANY (DE) GREECE (GR) HONG KONG (HK)
ROMANIA (RO) SINGAPORE (SG) SLOVAKIA (SK) SLOVENIA (SI) SOUTH AFRICA (ZA)
ISLE OF MAN (IM)
UNITED KINGDOM (GB)
UNITED STATES (US)
ITALY (IT) (7) What is legal archiving? Legal archiving is a part of e-invoicing, required and regulated by applicable legislation. Electronic invoices should be stored for a period defined by applicable country legislation and stored in accordance with specific technical rules. Invoices stored in the legal archive should be available for retrieval and re-verification, and the storage should provide additional technological means to ensure the data integrity and its protection from any modifications during storage. (8) Where can I find the legal requirements for e invoicing in my country? The legal or tax department in your company could help you in this research. In addition, external legal advice or the tax authorities are able to communicate such information. Legislation in such domain can change rapidly so please make sure you have the latest information for your country. You can also address your questions for additional information about your country/regional requirements on SIS forum/e-Invoicing.
(9) What is an e-invoicing platform? An e-invoicing platform allows your organization to receive/send electronic invoices from/to all your business counterparts – vendors and customers. An e-Invoicing platform provides required technical means to ensure that an electronic invoice is processed, stored, and delivered in line with applicable technical, business and legal requirements. An e-invoicing platform can provide various methods of invoice submission/creation, including direct integration with the company accounting or ERP system, automatic file exchange, manual web data entry, paper invoice imaging and recognition, and other methods. Also, the way invoices are delivered can be different.This may include automatic printing, and mailing of paper invoices. An e-invoicing platform also provides a number of services defined by legal requirements of a particular country/region, such as Digital Signature and data Legal Archive. (10)What is IATA e-Invoicing (formerly InvoiceWorks)? IATA e-Invoicing is a fully-functional e-invoicing platform dedicated to the airline industry: IATA e-Invoicing implements generic e-invoicing process allowing any organization working in the Aviation industry or any of their business partners to setup and use legally compliant electronic invoicing process. IATA e-Invoicing provides imaging and printing services, allowing airlines to integrate small or restrictive of government requiring paper documents to be converted into a single e-invoicing flow. IATA e-Invoicing has Digital Signature and Legal Archive services to store electronic invoices during the legally defined retention period (defined per Country). IATA e-Invoicing provides a variety of additional services, such as custom data validation, purchase orders, goods receipt and contract matching, invoice multi-level approval workflow, purchasing cards payment, online dispute, supporting documents management, and others. IATA e-Invoicing supports data standards used by SIS and is the only platform that handles interoperability of invoices with SIS. (11)How do SIS and IATA e-Invoicing work together? IATA e-Invoicing and SIS are specially designed to allow interoperability between these two platforms. Together, they provide a complete e-invoicing solution for any company working in the Aviation industry. (12)Do I need to use e-invoicing? There is no requirement to do so. However, the due to changing legal status of e-invoicing worldwide and growing number of companies already using this service, you can expect positive impact on your company’s operations (process improvement) and financial position (cash flow).. You can consider using e-invoicing for interline settlement (SIS) purposes and/or for your regular invoice transactions (IATA e-Invoicing). (13)Should I use PDF as an invoice or XML?
Depending on your local legislation you may have the choice between the two formats. SIS will use by default PDF as the format of the invoice. If specifically required for legal purposes, SIS will use XML. (14)What are the difference between the legal invoice and the PDF listing? Legal invoice is similar to the paper copy of your current invoice, whereas the PDF listing provides detail of each line item on the invoice. The legal invoice may be just a few pages, whereas the PDF listing may be made of hundreds of pages. (15)What are the key elements that I should provide on any invoice? In general, you have to provide all legal fields that are present on paper invoices. In addition, depending on the countries, some additional fields may be required. This may vary based on how your local legislation translates the paper invoicing process into e-invoicing. (16)How will SIS ensure that the legal requirements and the compliance to local legislation are met? At go-live, SIS will not be legally compliant for all the countries. We expect compliance in the major countries of the Clearing House, which will ensure that over 70% of transaction volume be covered. An external audit will be performed at go live to ensure the technical compliance of SIS. (17)Under which law, cross border invoices are issued? The laws of the country of the billing entity apply, but requirements of the country of the billed entity are taken in consideration. For example, if the billed entity requires digital signature for incoming invoices, this will be performed by SIS according to your legislation. So if UA is invoicing AF, in the US no DS is required but in France this is required, so the Digital signature of the receiving legislation will be applied on the invoice and SIS will send it for signature. Hence, it will become legally compliant in France. (18)Who determine if the invoice is in XML or in PDF? This is regulated by your legislation. If choices are given, then you may choose the format in SIS. (19)What could I do if e-invoicing is not allowed in my country? If e invoicing is not legal in your country, as a temporary solution you will have to print paper invoice from SIS and this will be your invoice copy that needs to be archived. Subsequently, you can approach the tax/fiscal authorities to see if this transnational process could be subjected to exemption and if you could be authorized to use SIS e-invoicing feature. (20)What should I do if digital signatures are required in my country? SIS Operations will manage the list of countries where Digital Signature is required and implemented within SIS.So you will have to set up in your profile if you require the Digital Signature for the appropriate types of incoming invoices and/or outgoing invoices.