What is the EDI format? Alternatives

EDI is the acronym for electronic data interchange. It’s an European standard that can be found in the Commission Recommendation 94/820 / CE of 19 October 1994 relative on the legal aspects of electronic data interchange.

In article two, EDI is defined as the electronic transfer from computer to computer of commercial and administrative data that structures an EDI message in accordance with an agreed standard. That is, EDI is a work system that automates the processes of data exchange between organizations. This means that the use of paper is almost completely eliminated, and in addition it ensures speed and security in those communications.

At the moment to issue an electronic invoice you can use EDI as one of the systems, but there are other options. Law states that the issuer must guarantee the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the content. As we have pointed out on previous occasions, and as it is also explained on the web of facturaE.gob, for the singular case of the electronic invoice , the legislation allows three specific alternative methods of delivery that guarantee the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the content. Those methods are:

  • By using electronic signature.
  • By using the electronic data interchange (EDI).
  • Through other means validated by the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT).

As you can see, it is a useful and recognized format for the public administrations. If we want to use this system, we have to download a specific software, a software that has to be homologated and give all guarantees. Inside the EDI Network, each organization is identified by a unique numerical code called Operational Point or Global Location Number (GLN). This identification code ensures that the organization complies with the GS1 standards, which guarantees that the electronic documents can be sent, understood and recognized by any other interlocutor (if receptor uses the same standard). EDI software can be integrated with the ERP or backend system of the company, but it has to be confirmed that both systems are compatible. If they are, the transactions that are made through EDI are incorporated directly into the ERP, making the management tremendously agile.

Of course it is a very useful software and recognized worldwide, but what happens if my ERP is not compatible? What if the companies with I deal with do not use it?

What alternatives do exist to EDI?

The Peppol format is a different but very interesting system. This is the acronym of Pan-European Public Procurement Online, and can be defined as a set of open and interoperable technical specifications in the commercial processes of purchase to payment (P2P), as it is included in its web peppolbasics.info. Besides being a valid and internationally recognized alternative, it offers some interesting advantages. The main one is that it is an initiative of the European Commission and its goal is the simplification of the cross boarding electronic contracting thanks to the development of technological standards that could be implemented by all governments throughout Europe, collected on the web of europa.eu. Peppol is an electronic distribution network that works mainly in northern Europe, and most public administrations in countries such as Germany or Sweden use it, as this network is specially recommended for the transmission of electronic invoices to public institutions .

In B2Brouter we have advanced the future and we offer you the Peppol network as an alternative within our electronic invoicing system.