As each of us well knows from our day-to-day work, having information and documents available quickly is now essential. In spite of this, around half of all SMBs in Germany do not have a digitisation strategy in place. The fact is, however, that companies that operate EMC solutions – and hence use web-based information processes – achieve greater success on the market. That means there is no better time than the present to take on the challenge. TA Triumph-Adler is your partner for making the first step into the digital age and ensuring a smooth process. We are able to do this by listening. By offering our customers individual advice. And by providing a full array of products, ranging from basic apps to implementation of complex ECM projects.
„Digitisation only delivers positive results if the process is systematically planned from start to finish.“
Frank Dembach, National Sales Director – IT Solutions & Consulting
Question: Where do you see obstacles and opportunities when it comes to digitised information processes?
Answer: The opportunities clearly outweigh the obstacles. Customers and suppliers can receive the information they need quickly and deploy staff where they are required. This frees up time to focus on core operations while also eliminating the need for searching physical archives. The only argument for not rolling out an electronic archive is the staff resources required to do this. Despite this argument, it is a step worth taking. Those who take the leap reap the rewards of time saved and the value this unleashes.
Question: How can complications be avoided when migrating to a digital archive?
Answer: Quality planning and proper project management are paramount here. Collaboration between the service provider and the company’s project management team must run smoothly. It is important to first define the goals and then establish the exact confines of the project. We consider it crucial to take the human factor into account from the users’ perspective.
Question: What are the benefits of using ECM software solutions?
Answer: In our eyes, ECM systems are the step towards achieving greater efficiency in document and information management. In today’s world archiving is practically a secondary feature in many systems. This is driven by the fact that the focus during implementation is on optimising electronic processes and on invoice management. Information and documents are available across all sites and throughout the entire company. An ECM system is therefore the perfect platform for allowing all members of staff to collaborate while working with the best possible information available. Archiving itself runs in the background and transfers files for long-term storage according to defined rules.
Question: An additional question: Could you provide three tips on how to roll out a digital archive and how to choose the right software?
„Every company will have to take the switch to digital invoicing processes.“
Olaf Stammer, Head of Solution Marketing
1. The recipient must at minimum tacitly consent to invoicing.
2. All invoices must meet the specifications laid down in the German Value Added Tax Act (UStG) and contain the mandatory information set out in Sections 14(4) and 14a UStG.
3. You are required to verify the authenticity and integrity of the invoice and document that the invoice constitutes a payment obligation and the service was rendered. This can be achieved via an internal control mechanism that you can design yourself.
4. The documents must be available for presentation during the retention period of ten years. Document management solutions should therefore support the capacity to read past and present formats (TIFF and/or PDF) over the entire period.
5. Store all invoices in an unmodified state and control access to them. The use of TIFF and PDF as standard audit-proof formats designed for long-term archiving is common practice. This also makes it possible to check if a document was edited.
6. You are required to retain the original copy of electronic invoices. Once you have converted electronic invoices into another format, you will need to store the original file as well as all converted documents that were created.
7. You can scan in and destroy paper invoices if you observe the ‘Principles for duly maintaining, keeping and storing books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access’ (GoBD), as provided by the German tax authorities. This administrative regulation issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance replaced the ‘Principles of data access and auditability of digital documents’ (GdPdU) in early 2015.
8. You must be able to furnish proof of your auditing procedures retroactively. Internal audit management at your company will allow you to meet this requirement. Please bear in mind that you are also obliged to store the process documentation for ten years.
9. Additional note on the ZUGFeRD standard: ZUGFeRD is short for the Central User Guide of the Forum for Electronic Invoicing in Germany. This standard was drafted by the Forum for Electronic Invoicing in Germany (FeRD) in conjunction with government ministries, associations and private enterprises. It complies with all legal regulations and describes how all information contained in an invoice is to be saved in a PDF file. The standard establishes the requirement that the sender company, invoice date/number, amounts and bank account numbers must always be stored at the same predefined location in the XML file. This allows any program to further process the invoice data automatically.