The potential problem of electronic invoicing is perhaps best exemplified by Brazil, reputed to have the strictest e-invoicing regulations in the world. The Brazilian government has the final say on any purchase and delivery – if the paperwork is not in place, no project goes ahead.
Implemented at the beginning of this year, the Nota Fiscal Electronica (NF-e) regulations require electronic bills of lading to be received and approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Finance before goods can be moved, let alone delivered. As soon as approval is granted, an NF-e file is sent to the manufacturer by return. The final recipient of the shipment also receives an email copy of the file.
A printed copy of the NF-e file must also be sent along with the shipment so that Police and customs officials can scan the associated barcode. The government can verify the paperwork associated with a shipment at any point between despatch and final delivery using the electronic audit trail. Delivery vehicles can even be stopped by Police en route, and then scanned using mobile devices. Non-compliance is quickly identifiable and consequently ill-advised.
Although this system provides a number of efficiencies for the Brazilian government, it also causes headaches for businesses looking to trade in Brazil but who do not have a suitable method of interfacing with the NF-e compliant system. Small businesses particularly are believed to struggle in this way.
It is however becoming clear to businesses based in South America that the optimal way to interact with the complex NF-e system is to outsource the lion’s share of the data processing and interfacing to a third party. Using a cloud based electronic invoice presentation and payment (EIPP) gateway such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin system, businesses need only worry about manufacture and delivery of goods; a proper EIPP service will ensure full compliance with the local e-invoicing legislation, regardless of how complex the rules may be.