On September 15, 2021, the French Council of Ministers decided to push back the date to require electronic invoicing for all B2B transactions, granting companies an additional 18 months to prepare their transition towards invoice process digitalization.
New timeline for 2024 – 2026
July 1, 2024
- All companies required to accept electronic invoices
- All large companies required to send invoices in electronic format
January 1, 2025
- All mid-sized companies required to send invoices in electronic format
January 1, 2026
- All SME / VSE companies required to send invoices in electronic format
As of this writing, only the roll-out deadlines have changed. All previously agreed functional considerations for the reform remain the same.
How to use the extra 18 months wisely
It seems highly likely that the decision to delay the reform was based on a general observation that companies were late in preparing for the transition towards digitalized invoicing.
Indeed, it is not a trivial task for a company to undertake such a project. Depending on the complexity of the invoice process and volume of invoices to handle, implementation may require impactful organizational changes and information system adaptations.
The 18 additional months give all companies an excellent opportunity to prepare themselves calmly and progressively.
In the short-term, we recommend to our clients that they perform a complete audit of their internal invoice processes, all invoice workflows, and their information system(s) to identify the changes they need to make to stay compliant.
Planning ahead for an easier transition
In addition to the functional evolution that needs to take place, changes to the company’s internal processes and business partner relations are also an important aspect of the project. They also probably take longer to achieve.
One thing is sure: the daily tasks for accounting teams will be changed when the new regulations come into effect. All invoice-related actions, from sending invoices to following up to posting, will be different starting in 2024. Until that time, it is important to work with teams to help them adopt new habits and integrate good practices.
At the same time, customers and suppliers are also concerned directly with the changes. Depending on the timeline you choose to follow, it will be important to deploy communication actions with business partners to inform them about the change to electronic invoices and collect the information needed to move forward with implementation.
New timeline for electronic invoice generalization: a welcome opportunity
At this point, it seems fair to say that the 18 extra months represent an excellent opportunity for companies to adapt smoothly to the new regulations rather than suffering through the process. By starting to take advantage of the extension now, companies will ensure an easier transition at all levels (technical, organizational, and commercial), and they will feel the expected benefits of the reform as soon as possible.