E-invoice

An e-invoice is a machine-readable (structured) invoice that is sent directly to a financial administration program or an online bank. E-invoice is a quick, easy and secure way to transmit invoices to a customer. E-invoice provides a basis for real-time and automated financial administration. By automating your company’s financial administration, you can make your financial processes more efficient, improve data quality, reduce errors and eliminate costly manual work.

A service is always needed to process e-invoices. Companies usually receive e-invoices via their electronic recycling and archiving programs for purchase invoices. Consumers usually receive e-invoices via their own online banks.

An e-invoice can also be displayed on the computer screen as a document resembling a paper invoice. E-invoices are usually sent via the invoicer company’s financial administration program but an enterprise resource planning system or an e-invoicing website can also be used.

Invoices sent as email attachments in pdf or image format are not e-invoices.

Why should I start using e-invoicing?

Benefits of e-invoicing:

  • An e-invoice always contains the information required by law.
  • Checking the invoice takes less time because the e-invoice recipient can automatically transfer the payment reference and the account number to the payment details.
  • You can also sell products and services to organisations that only accept e-invoices.

Benefits of accepting e-invoices:

  • You save time and money: all unnecessary work is eliminated, which means that you have more time to develop your company’s core business.
  • There are fewer errors resulting from invoice processing.

Under the Electronic Invoicing Act, e-invoices must be used in public contracts

Provisions on e-invoices are contained in the Act on Electronic Invoicing by Contracting Entities and Entrepreneurs (241/2019; Electronic Invoicing Act). The purpose of the act is to make the financial administration of public sector and private sector actors more efficient by creating a framework for automated invoice processing. Under the Electronic Invoicing Act, contracting entities must accept and process e-invoices in public contracts if the invoices comply with the European standard.

  • To send e-invoices, do the following

    If your company already uses financial administration software, such as

    • an enterprise resource planning system (ERP)
    • accounting firm software, or
    • invoicing software

    ask your service provider whether your software can process e-invoices. Follow the service provider’s instructions on how to start using the service.

    Tip! Go through the checklist below to ensure trouble-free e-invoicing from the start.

    If your company does not have any software to send e-invoices

    you can purchase your own invoicing software or use the service provided by the customer.

    Method 1. Purchase software that meets your company’s needs. There are several options available:

    • Check whether there are any enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) for your sector that can also process e-invoices.
    • Check whether your accounting firm has invoicing software that your company can use.
    • Other invoicing software that you can use

    For more detailed information, see the e-invoicing checklist below.

    Method 2. Use the e-invoicing portal provided by the customer

    • Some organisations offer an e-invoicing portal for their own suppliers where you can log in and send e-invoices directly to that organisation. Most of these portals are provided by large organisations.
    • For example, central government provides a portal for its own suppliers: Invoicing Finnish government agencies

    Sending an e-invoice

    1. Check that the customer accepts e-invoices and also check the customer’s invoicing details.

    You can check the e-invoicing details of Finnish customers at verkkolaskuosoite.fi.  Note that large organisations may have several e-invoicing addresses. If necessary, contact the customer to check the invoicing details.
    Basic information for users of verkkolaskuosoite.fi, can be found at Basic information for users (The website is in Finnish)

    2. Complete the e-invoice using the software

    Follow the service provider’s instructions.
    By using e-invoicing that complies with the European standard you can ensure that all mandatory information is entered on the invoice. Read more about the information required on the invoice at Information required on the invoice

    3. Send the e-invoice

    Your e-invoicing operator is responsible for ensuring that the invoice is sent to the recipient in technically correct format.

  • To receive e-invoices, do the following

    If your company already uses financial administration software, such as

    • an enterprise resource planning system (ERP)
    • accounting firm software, or
    • other software to process purchase invoices

    ask your service provider whether the software can process e-invoices.
    Follow the service provider’s instructions on how to start using the service.

    If your company does not have the right software:

    Purchase software that meets your company’s needs. There are several options available:

    • Check whether there are any enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) for your sector and your company that can also process e-invoices.
    • Check whether your accounting firm has any software to process purchase invoices that your company could use.
    • Other software to process purchase invoices that your company can use

    See the checklist below to ensure trouble-free e-invoicing from the start.

    Receiving e-invoices

    1. Tell the invoicer that you only accept e-invoices and that they must be in accordance with the European standard*

    Check that your e-invoicing details can be found at verkkolaskuosoite.fi

    Tip! Also add your e-invoicing details to your own website. Your invoicing details should at least include the following:

    • Business ID
    • E-invoicing address (EDI ID)
    • Operator ID of the e-invoicing operator

    *For more information about e-invoices meeting the European standard, see the e-invoicing checklist below.

    2. Receiving and processing purchase invoices

    Your e-invoicing operator is responsible for ensuring the e-invoices are entered in your company’s software in correct format.
    Follow the service provider’s instructions.

  • Entrepreneur’s checklist for e-invoices

    1.        Check that the software meets your company’s needs.

    The choice depends on such factors as the number of invoices, invoiced parties, and archiving and reporting needs.

    2.        Check whether the software also includes a connection with the e-invoicing operator.

    The e-invoicing operator transmits
    – your e-invoices to your customers and
    – the e-invoices sent to your company to your company’s software.

    • If the software does not include a connection with the e-invoicing operator, you must conclude an agreement with the e-invoicing operator.
    • You can conclude an agreement with more than one e-invoicing operator. You may need more than one e-invoicing operator if you use more than one program to send and receive invoices.
    • Read more about e-invoicing operators: E-invoicing operators (The website is in Finnish)

    3.        Always check that the software you use can produce e-invoices that are in accordance with the European standard (EU standard EU16931).

    • There are e-invoices in several different technical formats. All e-invoices meeting the European standard are of high technical quality and contain all obligatory information in correct format. This means fewer invoicing errors. Many organisations only accept e-invoices meeting the European standard.
    • TIEKE maintains a list of financial administration programs that can process invoices meeting the European standard (The website is in Finnish): https://tieke.fi/palvelut/all/verkkolaskuosoitteisto/taloushallinto-ohjelmien-valmiudet-3-0-versioihin/

    Finvoice 3.0 and TEAPPSXML 3.0 versions can also be used to produce invoices meeting the European standard but they do not produce such invoices automatically. The user must check that the invoices produced with the software are in accordance with the European standard. Some e-invoicing operators support users by for example checking the invoices for compliance with the European standard before transmitting them.

  • Pilot - The first one-time e-invoices were sent to consumers in January

    Nearly all consumers are familiar with e-invoice as a name and a service. It is a service incorporated into recurring invoicing. When you are a consumer and paying your first invoice to a specific invoicer, just remember to ask the invoicer to send all future invoices directly to your online bank.

    However, if you only receive one invoice (one-time invoice) from that particular invoicer, you cannot receive it as an e-invoice even if you wanted to. This means that companies that invoice both companies and consumers must use at least two different invoicing methods instead of a single efficient method. It was decided in the project to develop a one-time e-invoice for consumers because there is demand for it and it would bring benefits to both companies and consumers.

    In a pilot carried out in January 2022, first one-time e-invoices were successfully transmitted to consumers.

    In addition to pilots carried out in cooperation with banks, Apix Messaging Oy, Isolta Ltd, MobilePay Finland Oy and representatives of the State Treasury’s Real-Time Economy project also launched pilots with one-time e-invoices intended for consumers in December 2021. The aim was to check that an e-invoice can be sent using Isolta’s invoicing software to the MobilePay application of a consumer and to determine which changes would be required in the invoice transmitting process. Apix acted as the e-invoicing operator in the pilot. Following a successful pilot, the first one-time e-invoices were transmitted to consumers in January 2022.

    Although Finland is one of the leading countries in digitalisation, we need and can develop better services to make Finnish companies more successful. Smooth cooperation across sectoral boundaries is a key factor in this respect. All this was achieved in the pilot described above and the production deployment.

, Updated 3.5.2022 at 15:56