How to Transit to e-Invoice System?

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Yarab A, Mar-11-2020

With the introduction of e-Invoice concept, the businesses will be mandated to validate and authenticate the invoices by the government portal. Before getting into the ways to transit to a new system of e-invoicing, let us understand the current practice.

Current practice Vs e-invoicing in GST

Today, every business whether big or small, create invoices using various accounting /ERP software and some even through a manual process. As a supplier, these invoice details are furnished in GSTR 1 and the buyer gets the visibility of invoices uploaded in GSTR -2A.

With e-invoicing, the current practice of generating the invoice and reporting will change.e-Invoice requires B2B invoices to be authenticated electronically by IRP (Invoice Registration portal).

The concept of e-invoice begins with uploading of e-invoice data in the prescribed format (JSON) to the IRP system and post validation, a unique number called ‘Invoice Registration Number (IRN)’ is generated for every invoice uploaded. Along with IRN, the e-invoice is tagged with a QR code for further use by various Government portal like GSTN or E - Way Bill portal.

If you closely look at the current and e-invoice system, two changes are evident. First, the need to get the invoice authenticated with IRN. Remember, an invoice without IRN is not a valid invoice. Second, the reporting of invoice details in GST returns and the e-Way bill will be auto-captured based on the e-invoice data.

All in all, by just uploading your e-invoice data to IRP system, most of your compliance needs will be taken care of. That’s the level of technology at which the e-invoice system is being built by the government.

What does this change imply to businesses?

As they move forward, businesses should make provision for a new form of issuance of invoices and leverage the benefit of technology with which the e-invoice system is built. Just like any new system, e-invoice too requires businesses to be prepared and smoothly transit.

In a bid to help the businesses to transit smoothly to e-invoicing, the next section highlights the key things businesses should take care of.

How to transit to e-invoice system?

The first step towards preparing your business for e-invoicing system is to know and understand the e-invoice system. Understanding the fundamentals and how the e-invoice system works will help you identify the requirements and fill gaps. This also calls for educating your internal teams about the change in the invoice process that comes with e-invoice.

To know more about e-invoice workflow, read our article How e-Invoice System works?

Secondly, the accounting software you use will play a key role in e-invoice system. The new system requires you to upload and authenticate the invoice with IRN. Accounting software or ERP that seamlessly interacts with the IRP system will make the task of e-invoicing easier.

Here are the key things the accounting software is expected to do.

  • Generating e-Invoice data

You need to upload e-invoice data in JSON format as per the schema provided. Here, the accounting software should generate e-invoice JSON from the invoice details recorded as per the e-invoice standards. e-invoice standard consists of mandatory and optional fields and the accounting software should be able to cater to it considering your business necessities.

  • Seamless integration with IRP system

After you create an invoice with the help of your accounting software, you will have to upload such an invoice on the IRP portal for validation and generating IRN. Here, the accounting software should have the in-built capability to interact with the IRP system and upload the e-invoice JSON without manual intervention. This will not only save your time but also increases the efficiency in invoice processing.

  • Download and capture IRN

Once an invoice generated by you sails through the IRP portal, on its return, e-invoice JSON will be digitally signed and added with new elements such as IRN number and QR Code. The accounting software should be able to download the digitally signed JSON and accordingly incorporate the IRN and other details into the invoice you issue to your customer.

Above are some of the key things to be considered while evaluating the accounting software. Want to know more about e-invoicing? Read ‘What is e-invoice?’

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