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Frequently Asked Questions

Procurement Policy and Overview

1. Why is the Scottish Public Sector introducing eInvoicing?

2. What is eProcurement?

3. Will eInvoicing be mandatory within Scotland?

4. What is an eInvoice?

5. What are the core elements of an eInvoice?

6. Can public bodies and suppliers continue to use paper invoices?

7. Where do I find out more information on Scottish Government eInvoicing?

Suppliers

8. As a supplier how do I register interest?

9. What will be required from a supplier to start sending eInvoices?

10. What software do I need to install?

11. Can I send more than one invoice per email?

12. What if I usually send supporting documentation with my invoice?

13. Does an image file, photo of the paper invoice count as an invoice?

14. Who is the best contact within a supplier organisation when being on-boarded?

15. What are the benefits of eInvoicing for Suppliers?

Public bodies

16. Does an eInvoice have any legal status?

17. Is an eInvoice VAT compliant?

18. How does eInvoicing work with Finance Systems?

19. What are the benefits for public bodies?

20. What is required from a public body regarding supplier adoption?

21. As a public body, how do I register an interest in joining the the eInvoicing Programme?

Procurement Policy and Overview

1. Why is the Scottish Public Sector introducing eInvoicing?

The EU Directive on eInvoicing came into force 26 May 2014.  Central Government and the National Health Service (NHS)  must be able to receive invoices and make payment electronically for all contracts regulated under the EU Procurement Directive by 27 November 2018 whilst all other public bodies (e.g. Local Authorities and Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC)) may have up to a further 12 months to comply. (back to top)

2. What is eProcurement?

Electronic procurement (eProcurement) refers to the business to business purchase and sale of goods and services over the internet.  PECOS is the preferred eProcurement tool offered by the Scottish Government. (back to top)

3. Will eInvoicing be mandatory within Scotland?

eInvoicing is currently not mandatory in Scotland, however the public sector  will need to comply to the new laws when they are in place (see  question 1 for dates). 

However, as eInvoicing is an effective and efficient payment method, public bodies are encouraged to discuss with their suppliers potential opportunities to send in eInvoices. (back to top)

4. What is an eInvoice?

eInvoicing is the electronic transfer of invoice information between public bodies and suppliers.  As defined by the EU Directive an eInvoice means: “an invoice that has been issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format which allows for its automatic electronic processing.” (back to top)

5. What are the core elements of an eInvioice?

The core elements of an eInvoice  is a set of essential information components which an electronic invoice must contain in order to enable cross border interoperability, including the necessary information for legal compliance. (back to top)

6. Can public bodies and suppliers continue to use paper invoices?

The Directive doesn’t force suppliers to send invoices electronically. With the mutual agreement of public bodies and suppliers paper invoices maybe issued.  

However it should be noted that with the exception of a short transition period where both eInvoices and paper invoices can be issued and received, this is the only time that a public body can accept both formats of invoices.  public bodies must make a decision on which type of invoice is the preferred option. (back to top)

7. Where do I find out more information on Scottish Government eInvoicing?

You can refer to the eCommerce, eInvoicing web pages or if you want to ask anything specific please send your question to email the eInvoicing team mailbox. (back to top)

Suppliers

8. As a supplier how do I register interest?

There is no need to register your interest as contact will be made with suppliers by either the Scottish Government or public body when appropriate and you will be invited to be on-boarded and requested to issue eInvoices. (back to top)

9. What will be required from a supplier to start sending eInvoices?

As a supplier you will only be required to email PDF invoices to an email address. Each public body will have a dedicate email address and upon receipt of this you will be requested to send eInvoices.  PDF invoices are the most commonly issued eInvoices. However, for those suppliers who prefer other forms of invoice delivery to PDF, all readable data formats are accepted. (back to top)

10. What software do I need to deploy?

As a supplier you don't need to install any new software. (back to top)

11. Can I send more than one invoice per email?

Yes, the eInvoicing solution support many scenarios, including:

  • One invoice file on one email
  • Multiple invoice files on one email
  • Multiple invoices in the same file
  • Invoices and attachments in the same PDF file
  • Invoice and attachments as separate files (back to top)

12. What if I usually send supporting documentation with my invoice?

If you normally send documents such as timesheets or delivery notes (which can be image or data documents) these can be attached to the same email as the invoice they relate to.  Any non-invoice documents that are sent on the same email as the invoice will be ‘associated’ with the invoice.

If you do send supporting documents with your invoice, you can only include one invoice and supporting document(s) per email (not multiple invoices and multiple attachments in the same email). (back to top)

13. Does an image file, photo of the paper invoice count as an invoice?

No an image file is not considered to be an eInvoice.  Only machine generated readable invoices that can be processed automatically and digitally by the public body will be considered to be compliant with the European standard on eInvoicing. (back to top)

14. Who is the best contact within a supplier organisation when being on-boarded?

Depending on the set-up of your organisation the best contact will  vary. However to ensure that you go live with eInvoicing timeously, creditors/ finance personnel would be a good first point of contact. (back to top)

15. What are the benefits of eInvoicing for Suppliers?

The benefits and advantages of eInvoicing are:

  • Faster payments

  • Reduces costs

  • Improved customer satisfaction

  • Reduces carbon footprint

  • Enhances visibility and controls

  • It is free to suppliers (back to top)

Public bodies

16. Does an eInvoice have any legal status?

Yes.  An eInvoice has exactly the same legal status as a paper invoice.  Approval from HM Revenue & Customs is not required for eInvoicing and it is not necessary to inform them of any changes to the way you invoice. (back to top)

17. Is an eInvoice VAT compliant?

Yes, eInvoices have the same legal status as paper invoices and are fully HM Revenue & Customs VAT compliant. (back to top)

18. How does eInvoicing work with Finance Systems?

eInvoicing works in exactly the same way as a paper invoice works – except invoice delivery and matching takes place automatically, with no  manual intervention. 

Once a purchase order is issued to a supplier, and the goods, works or services are received, it is only the invoice data that is required to secure a 3 way match. The validated eInvoice is received straight into the public body’s invoice processing application only two to three minutes after the supplier has sent it. Once it has been matched it will be passed for payment in the usual way, such as BACS. (back to top)

19. What are the benefits for public bodies?

  • Reduces costs

  • Increases accuracy and processing efficiency

  • Faster processing and payment cycles

  • Improves controls and compliance

  • Increases visibility and transparency

  • Focuses on higher value activities

  • Complies with EU Directive

  • Lower carbon footprint. (back to top)

 

20. What is required from a public body regarding supplier adoption?

The Scottish Government eInvoicing Team will be responsible for adopting the relevant National & Sectoral suppliers. Each public body will be responsible for identifying their local suppliers  they consider suitable (normally high to medium volume) transactions for the eInvoicing solution. 

Each supplier will have  to be contacted individually and  informed of the supplier on-boarding process. The Scottish Government eCommerce Team will support both the public bodies and their suppliers through the adoption phase to first live transaction. (back to top)

21. As a public body, how do I register in joining the eInvoicing Programme?

If you are interested in finding out more about eInvoicing, please email the eInvoicing team mailbox. (back to top)