The benefits of electronic invoicing for VSEs and SMEs

Gradually, between 2024 and 2026, VSEs and SMEs will also have to be equipped to receive and issue invoices in electronic format, in the same way as large companies. This invoicing reform can be seen as yet another obligation imposed by the authorities. According to a study published by Insee on July 25, 2022, this represents between 20 and 26 billion euros in lost revenue.

However, the deployment of electronic invoicing offers many advantages for companies.

Electronic invoicing timetable

Electronic invoices are not simply dematerialized invoices. It must be issued via a platform that is either public (Chorus Pro) or private, but approved. The platform will be responsible for transmitting it to the customer in legible form, while the tax authorities will receive part of the data, which will be processed automatically. In this way, cross-checks can be made between invoices issued and invoices received, and any anomalies, mainly concerning VAT, will be systematically detected.

The obligation to accept electronic invoices from suppliers, other companies or public institutions, such as water or electricity bills, becomes effective for VSEs and SMEs subject to VAT from July 1, 2024. To be able to do so, they must choose a platform before this date and register with it.

From January 1, 2026, it will be compulsory for everyone to issue invoices electronically, with the exception of those sent to private individuals, which can remain in paper format or sent by e-mail. This practice has already been in place since 2020 for companies working with the State, local authorities and public establishments.

Benefits for small businesses

Another aim of this reform is to enable the State to adapt its economic policy to the reality on the ground, thanks to a better understanding of the activity of the various structures established in France.

As far as the company is concerned, a number of advantages are mentioned:

  • Strengthen its competitiveness by simplifying certain administrative tasks that will take less time to complete;
  • Reduce document creation and dispatch costs;
  • Securing business relationships;
  • Improved payment times through better invoice tracking;
  • Eventually, pre-filled returns will make it easier to complete VAT returns and avoid errors.

Invoicing and payment data, presented on the platforms in a dashboard, will also enable managers to visualize all their transactions more clearly, and thus improve their management. This summary table will provide them with valuable information to help them manage their business, such ascash flow, working capital requirements, VAT payable, number of overdue invoices, delivery times, etc. Dematerialization is an opportunity to better control late payments, for example.

Setting up electronic invoicing

VSEs and SMEs are advised to contact their chartered accountant, who can transmit and receive invoices via the platform they have chosen with their agreement.

If your company uses an accounting software package, the publisher will certainly already be offering features and support to help you adapt to the new reform.

Depending on the volume of invoices to be processed, it is possible to enter data manually and directly on the Public Billing Portal, known as Chorus Pro. There are also plans to introduce a function on certain platforms to transform a PDF invoice into a standardized invoice.

VSEs and SMEs have every interest in anticipating the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing before 2026. In fact, some of them are already in compliance with European Directive 2014/55/EU, which requires the dematerialization of invoicing from a company to the State, and use a portal to send their invoices to public bodies. For the others, it's time to take an interest. The French tax authority's website provides companies with information sheets to help them better understand the reform.