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E-invoicing in France

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E-invoicing in France

In France, electronic invoicing is part of a move towards paperless transactions. From July 2024 in France, all businesses, whatever their size, will have to be able to receive invoices in electronic format. This project is being led by the French government, with the aim of simplifying the invoicing and payment chain and optimising VAT collection.
It will have a major impact. So it’s vital to understand how electronic invoicing will affect businesses.

We can talk about a massive increase in paperless exchanges.

Schedule of issue and reception obligations in France*


*Updated schedule (in Nov 2023) in the article E-Invoicing: Agenda Updates, What’s new?

Anticipation, Understanding and Communication

To make it easier for companies to comply, management solutions are moving towards greater automation of data entry, import of bank data and paperless invoicing.

The features

An electronic invoice must fulfil two conditions:

  • It must be created, sent, received and stored in electronic form.
  • It must comply with the conditions imposed by the Direction Générale des Impôts.

Electronic invoicing involves two major changes:

  • The document format: the e-invoice is not a PDF file sent by email. It is a special format that can be read by a specially configured management application.
  • The document circuit: the electronic invoice passes through two platforms, one chosen by the sender and the other by the recipient. These platforms check the formal conformity of the invoices and reject them if they do not comply. They are also responsible for transmitting VAT data to the government.

What will change for businesses?

Two formats will be in circulation:

  • Structured formats (UBL, EDIFACT, CII, etc.), which can only be read by machines.
  • Mixed formats, consisting of structured data and a screen-readable PDF, such as the Franco-German Factur-X standard.

Platforms will emerge to enable businesses to benefit from e-invoicing in a simple and secure way.

  • The exchange of invoices between companies will be handled by private platforms or Plateformes de Dématérialisation Partenaires (PDP), which will have to be listed in a directory.
  • The transmission of invoicing data, which will make it possible to take the pulse of the economy, will be handled by a public platform, the Public Billing Portal (PPF). Only the public platform will exchange data with the DGDiP. An automatic link will be established between the private platforms and this public platform.

E-invoicing benefits

The benefits

  • Optimisation of the invoicing process: simplification, rationalisation and security.
  • Reduced collection disputes and shorter payment times.
  • Reduced carbon footprint.

For businesses, the adoption of electronic invoicing will primarily mean lower costs:

  • Improved cash flow through shorter payment times.
  • Lower VAT declaration costs, thanks to the possibility of pre-filling.
  • Reduced invoice administration costs, both for incoming and outgoing invoices.

Productivity gains

Simplified reminders, fewer disputes, automated invoice reconciliation, traceability of invoice processing and instant access to archived documents all help to reduce the cost and processing time of dematerialised invoices.
The Forum National de la Facture Électronique estimates that the productivity gain is 1/3 for the supplier and 2/3 for the customer.

The 6 advantages of the electronic invoice circuit

  • It is suitable for companies of all sizes.
  • It guarantees the confidentiality of commercial policies (conditions, rates, etc.).
  • It distributes responsibility for the smooth operation of the ecosystem between public and private players.
  • It preserves the continuity of electronic invoice exchange systems already in place.
  • It stimulates innovation and emulation between players.
  • It leaves the way open for processes to be enhanced by additional services.

The obligations

The obligations

The French tax authorities offer three options for guaranteeing the authenticity of the origin, integrity and legibility of the electronic document:

  • Use a standardised electronic data interchange (EDI) format.
  • Sign invoices electronically using a level 2 RGS certificate.
  • Establish a reliable, documented and permanent audit trail.

From 1 July 2024, all businesses will have to:

  • Accept electronic invoices from their suppliers
  • Be able to integrate them into their accounting or commercial management system.

It will therefore no longer be possible to ask your suppliers for paper invoices or simple PDFs.

What will change when it comes to issuing invoices?

From 1 July 2024 in France, for the largest companies, and progressively until January 2026 for the others, all companies will have to:

  • Be able to issue electronic invoices in compliant formats
  • Be able to send them automatically to their customers via a platform of their choice.


Electronic invoices must be stored in their original computer format. Archiving involves storing them in a digital safe, sealed and time-stamped.

Compliant formats

4 electronic invoicing methods will be accepted:

  1. The exchange of invoices in structured formats that comply with European standard EN16931 (UBL, UNCEFACT, CII, XML formats, etc.), with the obligation for platforms (public or private) to produce a readable document.
  2. The exchange of invoices in mixed format, complying with European standard EN16931, combining structured data and a screen-readable PDF; the Franco-German Factur-x standard (PDF file containing a readable part of the invoice and structured data in XML format) is the best known of these mixed or hybrid formats.
  3. Optional formats (EDIFACT format, for example), subject to acceptance by both parties (seller/buyer) and extraction of mandatory data by a Partner
  4. Dematerialisation Platform (PDP).
  5. Dematerialised data flows (via EDI, API, etc.) or online entry on the public platform.

The evolution of Sage X3 in the light of this reform

As with the transition to DSN and PAS, the introduction of electronic invoicing will require changes to the functionality of management solutions.
As soon as the French government publishes the specifications, the Sage and Deveho Consulting Group R&D teams will get to work on upgrading the solutions involved in the invoicing process.

The only solution for obtaining these functionalities under Sage X3 will be version v12 accompanied by the latest update.

Sage is working upstream and in collaboration with all the players in charge of the reflection: within the framework of the SDDS association (Simplification et Dématérialisation des Données Sociétés), within the FNFE-MPE (Forum National de la Facture Électronique et des Marchés Publics Électroniques).

It is possible to anticipate major transformations in terms of organisation by putting yourself in marching order around 4 major axes of reflection.

  1. TOOLS: map your information system to identify the tools that may be affected (globalised internal data entry system, supplier portal, etc.).
  2. ORGANISATION, PORCESS (intra-group invoices will have to be in the electronic invoice system).
  3. DATA: identify the sender/receiver (identify the SIRET, SIREN in the IT system), so clean up the Data.
  4. CYBER SYSTEM EXPECTED: Prepare ERP, updates, gaps.

There is real potential in the Data, which will encapsulate a certain amount of information not previously entered in the accounting system.

Objectives :

One of the main objectives of electronic invoicing is to ensure that the data is recorded in the information system in real time and processed on an ongoing basis to maintain visibility over cash flow and other management elements.


In conclusion, electronic invoicing is an unavoidable and useful development that requires companies to adapt their invoicing practices. Committed to simplifying management for all businesses and supporting them in the digitalisation of all their processes, Sage has been involved from the very start of the reform to support its customers with complete peace of mind.

Do you have any questions? Get ready for electronic invoicing!

Contact us to benefit from our Deveho expertise.

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