16 December 2020

E-bill law: on the safe side with ZEP

With the entry into force of the E-Invoice Act, all public contracting authorities (state, Länder, municipalities) have been obliged to receive and process invoices in electronic form since 27 November 2020. Other formats may no longer be accepted since this date.

For companies that carry out public contracts and subsequently invoice them, this means a mandatory electronic receipt of invoices by the client and accordingly also a mandatory electronic sending of invoices in the formats XInvoice or ZUGFeRD 2.1. The PDF format and the ZUGFeRD format 1.0, which have been used most frequently for transmission up to now, can, however, no longer be used.

What is XInvoice?

XInvoice is an XML-based semantic data model developed and provided by the "Koordinierungsstelle für IT Standards" (KoSIT). Since the end of November 2020, XInvoice must be used in invoice exchange with public contracting authorities in Germany. The legal basis is the EU Directive 2014/55/EU. XInvoice is a pure XML format without a visual component, i.e. an image file.

ZUGFeRD 1.0 becomes ZUGFeRD 2.1

At ZUGFeRD is a so-called hybrid invoice format that consists of both an image and a data component. In order to meet the requirements of the e-bill law, the previous version 1.0 of ZUGFeRD was expanded and adapted to the XBill format. In the new version 2.1.1., which was published on 1.7. 2020, ZUGFeRD provides for an XInvoice profile and the option of pure XML invoicing with this profile. It can therefore also be used for data exchange with public sector clients.

ZEP Invoice Module supports required formats

Already since version 5.5, which was introduced in March 2017, the invoicing module of ZEP - Time Recording for Projects - supports the creation of invoices in ZUGFeRD format. With version 6.4 of ZEP, which has been available since the end of November 2020, ZUGFeRD 2.1 and XRechnung are now also supported. In practice, this means that invoices to public clients can be created and transmitted directly from the ZEP invoicing module as before. ZEP users can be sure that they meet the requirements of the E-Invoicing Act and can continue to invoice their services for public clients in a legally compliant manner by sending their invoices electronically in the required format.

ZEP Invoice for Invoice Planning and Invoice Creation

ZEP Invoice is one of the numerous add-on modules for the ZEP time recording solution, which extends the functional scope of the solution beyond pure time recording. The times processed in time recording are automatically transferred to the module for invoicing with the hourly and daily rates stored in ZEP. In addition, ZEP Faktura supports invoice planning. Thus, the ZEP user receives a reminder when invoices can be issued based on a previously planned billing date or expenses have been incurred for which billing has not yet been planned. This ensures that all services rendered are also invoiced promptly.

In addition, the billing module offers a variety of evaluation options for project controlling, such as

    • Overview of invoice items pending settlement
    • Overview of work performed that has not yet been included on any invoice
    • Overview of invoices issued
    • Overview of invoices and reminders that have been issued but not yet paid
    • Documentation of paid invoices
    • etc.

The retrieval of turnover forecasts based on planned earnings and hours worked is also possible via the module.

An overview of all functions and features of the ZEP Invoice Module you will find here.