Senate pushing ahead with "Digital First" strategy using e-invoices

Electronic invoices to become standard for public contracts - senate involving trade associations
20 November 2020
Images of a computer mouse

Electronic invoicing is to become standard for public contracts four years after the City of Hamburg began accepting them and which now account for around 40 per cent and rising. The senate is preparing to bring an appropriate motion before Hamburg’s State Parliament in early 2021 and is now involving commerce in the process. Hopes are now high that public contracting authorities, including the City of Hamburg as well as institutions and companies in which it has a stake or supervises, can be obliged to accept electronic invoices. Contractors will also be obliged to send electronic invoices after completing a public contract.

More electronic than paper invoices expected 

Andreas Dressel, Senator for Finance, remarked: "An entirely electronic invoicing procedure is becoming more and more acceptable and is already standard practice to a considerable extent in Hamburg. Thus, it is only logical for us to now make e-invoices standard for public contracts as well. But it is just as important to take Hamburg's business community along with us on and to involve it closely.” More than 116,000 electronic invoices are processed every year and more electronic rather than paper invoices are expected in 2021.

Fully digitalized invoicing 

An EU directive on contracts already obliges contracting authorities to accept e-invoices. Due to their size, such contracts must be tendered across Europe. Hamburg is now following Germany's national regulations and those in other countries by extending electronic invoicing to all contracts. The aim is to fully digitalise invoice processing and to make it swifter and more efficient.