First implementation of the Factur-X standard

The benefits of electronic invoicing are now well-known: save time by avoiding the manual encoding of supplier invoices by the accounting department, reduce invoice processing delay and therefore payment delay, etc. In France, the administration launched the Chorus platform on September 2016 and has decided an ambitious calendar that oblige its suppliers to send electronic invoices via Chorus: January 1st 2017 for large companies, January 1st 2018 for mid-size companies, January 1st 2019 for small companies and January 1st 2020 for micro-companies.

But several e-invoicing standards exist and France was missing an “official” standard for electronic invoicing. The Forum National de la Facturation Électronique (FNFE-MPE) and its German counterpart FeRD (Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland) have worked together to develop a new standard named Factur-X. The specifications of this new standard have been published on July 9th 2017 on the FNFE-MPE website. This standard is an evolution of the German standard named ZUGFeRD initially published on June 2014.

The Factur-X standard uses one of the 2 main XML standards to describe an invoice: the UNCEFACT XML standard also called Cross Industry Invoice. But the most important aspect of the Factur-X standard is that this XML file that describe the invoice is embedded inside the PDF file. The PDF/A-3 standard allows to insert a file inside a PDF file, just like you can insert an attachment in an e-mail. So a Factur-X invoice is a regular PDF invoice with an embedded XML file that describe the invoice following the UNCEFACT syntax and the european semantic data model EN 16931.

With a PDF invoice that follow the Factur-X standard:

  • the supplier sends the PDF file of the invoice to its customer as usual,
  • if the customer has a modern accounting software that supports the Factur-X standard, he will be able to import it in its accounting software and the invoice will be automatically read via the embedded XML file,
  • if the customer doesn’t have an accounting software that supports the Factur-X standard yet, he will handle the invoice like any regular PDF invoice.

Akretion announces today the world-wide availability of Odoo modules that enable the generation of Factur-X invoices as free software. Alexis de Lattre, co-founder of Akretion and developer of the Factur-X modules for Odoo declares: “Odoo is the first ERP to support the generation of Factur-X invoices, only 3 weeks after the publication of the specifications of this new standard! Akretion and the Odoo community are proud of this achievement. We know that this is an historic moment: the birth of the Factur-X standard and it’s very first implementation to generate invoices from an ERP.

This new module is already used in production by Mooncard, one of the customers of Akretion. Mooncard is a Fintech that proposes an intelligent payment card for corporate expenses. The invoices of Mooncard of july 2017 are Factur-X invoices generated by Odoo. Tristan Leteurtre, co-founder of Mooncard declares: “We believe we are the very first French company that has sent Factur-X invoices on a large scale. Our corporate payment card is a great time-saver for our customers because it avoids the manual encoding of expense notes in the accounting software; the Factur-X standard also allows a big time-saving on supplier invoices, that’s why we adopted it as soon as possible. We want to pave the way for the adoption of this new standard and boost its adoption.

For French readers, here is our press release in French.

Technical info

The modules that allow the generation of Factur-X invoices are available for Odoo v10 on github under the AGPL licence:

These modules add support for the generation of Factur-X invoices with the Comfort profile, also called the EN 16931 profile.

Lumière sur l'auteur

Alexis de Lattre
Founder - France
Specialist in Odoo and free software
Alexis de Lattre is a co-founder of the French company Anevia, where he held the positions of Managing Director and Financial Director of Production and Logistics and Director of Computer Services. Anevia is a company with 40 employees and specializes in the development and sale of video server...

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