Thanks to the Hermes platform, suppliers can now send structured electronic invoices to all their Belgian customers, including those who are not yet able to process them automatically.
Structured electronic invoices are processed automatically, without human intervention. So they make our lives a lot easier! Unfortunately, suppliers are still too often confronted with the fact that many of their customers are not set up with the right software for processing incoming e-invoices. This drawback is the main obstacle to the widespread take-up of e-invoicing. It also leads to a loss of time and therefore a significant cost for senders who use e-invoicing: they are obliged to adapt to their customers and send electronic invoices to some, and PDF invoices, read by people, to others.
The good news is that thanks to Hermes (and recent advances in standardisation), this obstacle has been overcome! This platform, which is accessible to everyone, bridges the gap between those who can already send e-invoices and those who are not yet able to receive them. It allows companies to send all their invoices in one and the same format (structured and standardised), without worrying about whether or not the recipient can process them.
Did you say Hermes?
In Greek mythology, Hermes plays the role of messenger. If this tool bears his name, it is because it too is intended to fulfil this role. Not between Zeus and Athena, but between companies that already send structured and standardised electronic invoices and those that are not yet set up to process them automatically, but are happy to receive invoices by e-mail.
In specific terms, Hermes converts any electronic invoice structured according to the European Standard into a PDF format and sends it to the recipient's e-mail address. Hermes also has a web portal allowing invoice senders and recipients to track the transit of their invoices.
Hermes is available to any company that wishes to simplify its outbound invoicing.
What are the conditions?
In order to use Hermes, the sender must:
be able to send structured and standardised electronic invoices that comply with the European Standard. In practice, this implies that the sender (or their IT provider) complies with the Peppol model, which guarantees the interoperability of invoice processing solutions and aligned with European standards, norms and recommendations. Thousands of suppliers * of the public authorities are already in compliance. Millions of European companies are also in compliance.
accept the Hermes terms and conditions of use. Please note that certain IT suppliers take care of the practical aspects related to this formal requirement.
* IMPORTANT: This is a CSV file. It is recommended to import this file as Text into your spreadsheet of your choice. Afterwards, make sure to indicate the first column as Text, otherwise the first column, the CBE numbers, will be stored incorrectly.
Would you like to register as a sender? Contact us.
Developed in consultation with the business world, its operation is entirely handled by the Federal Administration as part of its mission to promote electronic invoicing.
By ensuring the link to customers who do not yet receive electronic invoices structured according to the European Standard, Hermes encourages suppliers to send invoices in this format. As a result, the public authorities will receive many more invoices this way. This will enable them to recoup the investments imposed by European Directive 2014/55 much faster. It will also encourage the IT industry to develop more solutions to make it possible to receive and process these electronic invoices. This will allow companies to set themselves up for e-invoicing more effectively and more affordably. Everyone's a winner!
The Hermes converter is operational since the end of November 2020. Additional time will need to be taken into account for companies to get organised and optimise it in their outbound invoicing, before Hermes actually transmits its first invoices.
A temporary solution
In future, with the widespread take-up of e-invoicing, it will no longer be necessary to convert e-invoicing into invoices which can be read by people. Hermes will no longer be necessary. It should be seen as an incentive, intended to prompt structured exchanges, while the IT sector develops the appropriate reception and processing tools, and markets them under attractive conditions. To find out more about this subject, read this article.