In January 2013, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Steven Vanackere, and the Minister for the Budget and Administrative Simplification, Olivier Chastel, announced the launch of a website on electronic invoicing to encourage its use and reach the EU target of making 50 % of invoicing electronically by 2020.
Electronic invoicing constitutes a priority in the context of simplifying public administration. It is a modern, convenient, economical and reliable tool that not only allows public authorities to make savings on operating costs but also companies to reduce their administrative burdens.
In this regard, the ministers involved said: "We wanted this website to match the specific needs of businesses and citizens … we identified the benefits of electronic invoicing, the applicable legislation and a practical guide for the implementation of processing electronic invoices."
With the electronic invoicing solution, companies have a powerful tool (incoming invoices can be automatically integrated into the accounting software), fast (the time an electronic invoice takes to be transmitted is undeniably faster), effective (electronic invoicing can avoid encoding errors and missing information) and sustainable (approximately 1 billion invoices are sent and received each year in Belgium and large companies keep up to 6 copies of their bills). Consumers can also make use of the electronic invoice solutions, as archiving will be simpler and payment faster and safer.
The use of the eInvoicing is supported by many partners such as the Belgian Federation of Enterprises (VBO – FEB), the Federation of the Belgian Financial Sector (Fédération belge du secteur financier – FEBELFIN, in French), the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Tax Consultants (Institut des Experts-comptables et des Conseils fiscaux – IEC, in French), the Institute of professionals Accounting and Tax Experts (Institut Professionnel des Comptables et Fiscalistes Agréés – BIBF, in French), the Institute of Company Auditors (L’Institut des Réviseurs d’Entreprises – IRE, in French), the Neutral Union for the Self-Employed (le Syndicat Neutre pour Indépendants – SNI, in French), the Federation of the Technology Industry (Agoria), the trade union for small and medium businesses, the Union of Independent Entrepreneurs (Unie van Zelfstandige Ondernemers – UNIZO, in Dutch), two Walloon enterprises, in collaboration with the Agency for the Administrative Simplification.
In addition to this initiative, the Ministers want the state to set an example in the field of eInvoicing. For this reason, a pilot project will be launched on 1 September 2013 from the Federal Public Service Chancellery, the Federal Public Service for Budget and the Federal Public Service for Information and Communication Technology (FEDICT). After a trial period of three months, the extension to other departments could be scheduled. This will allow some vendors to submit their invoices electronically to these departments. "We hope to extend this initiative to other departments at the end of the evaluation period," said the Ministers.