Compulsory e-invoicing in the public sector
Since 1 April 2019, all purchases in the public sector are required by law to be invoiced electronically. This requirement is part of efforts to make public administration more efficient throughout the EU. The legislation covers suppliers both within and outside Europe.
How is Lund University affected?
Lund University has previously managed both to send and receive e-invoices, and in the case of central procurement processes we have long required both e-commerce and e-invoicing. Reference to the requirement for e-invoicing must now be made in all procurement processes, and by all employees at the University who make purchases, including in shops with a specific purchase order. A PDF invoice is not acceptable as an e-invoice.
What do I need to bear in mind when ordering?
When making a purchase/acquisition: always inform your supplier about the requirement to provide an e-invoice. Refer them to the following web page where they can find all the information required to prepare an invoice for Lund University.
- In Swedish: lu.se/leverantör
- The page is also available in English at: lunduniversity.lu.se/supplier
Purchase orders placed through Proceedo include information on how the supplier is to invoice us.
For purchase orders made outside Proceedo, you are to state that the invoice is to be made out to:
Lund University, Box 188, 221 00 Lund, but specify that the invoice is to be sent electronically.
Remember to tell the supplier to state your first name and surname as a reference on the invoice. Refer to lunduniversity.lu.se/supplier for information on how suppliers are to send e-invoices to us.
Support and templates for procurement, including the requirement for e-invoicing, are available here:
- General support and guidance to proceed correctly
- Checklists and templates for direct award of contract
- Checklists and templates for procurement below threshold with notice obligation
The e-invoicing standard recommended by the law is a common European standard, which means a high likelihood that many international suppliers will also be able to send e-invoices.
The law applies to all purchases of goods and services, e.g. office supplies, chemicals, conference fees and educational services, so there are very few cases in which e-invoicing is not required. Examples of such cases are fees that are not procurable such as police application fees for permits or secondment compensation.
The law does not apply retroactively. If the supplier signed a contract with us before 1 April 2019, and if that contract did not require e-invoicing, the supplier can continue to send invoices in the same way as previously for deliveries covered by that contract. However, we prefer all suppliers to begin sending e-invoices anyway, as both they and we will benefit from them doing so.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if a supplier sends a paper invoice?
Answer: The invoice itself is an official document received and must be preserved in accordance with current rules. Even though the issue of a paper invoice is an error, as a public organisation we cannot send it back or leave it unpaid, so we must process and pay the invoice. If you receive a paper invoice sent directly to you – proceed as follows:
- Send the invoice to Lund University, Box 188, 221 00 Lund or to save resources and postage, place the paper invoice in an internal envelope addressed to "Invoice Scan, Box 188".
- Contact the supplier and inform them about the legal requirements for the future – refer them to lu.se/leverantör (in English: lunduniversity.lu.se/supplier) NB! You can skip step 2 if you are certain that this is the only time the supplier will be invoicing Lund University. In that case, you simply send the invoice to LU’s invoicing address.
If suppliers who should be sending e-invoices continue to send paper invoices, we have a statutory right to apply a penalty, as a final measure.
What should I say to a supplier who claims not to be able to send an e-invoice?
Answer: Refer them to lu.se/leverantör (in English: lunduniversity.lu.se/supplier).
If the supplier is still unable to send an e-invoice, e.g. if it is an international supplier, you can tell them that we will not reject the invoice if it is sent on paper but that they are to promptly make arrangements to meet the legal requirement for e-invoices. For example, it is possible to invoice quickly and easily via an invoicing portal, in both Swedish and English, but this type of solution works best for organisations that issue few invoices. In the case of larger suppliers, in particular international suppliers, we can expect it to take some time before they have an e-invoicing solution in place. However, we are not to give the impression that it is acceptable for these suppliers not to send e-invoices as we are not to encourage anyone to break the law!
Also bear in mind that the law does not apply retroactively and that there may be agreements in place from before 1 April 2019 which did not require e-invoices. In these cases, it is acceptable for the supplier not to send an e-invoice, but we can always state that we would like them to start e-invoicing. For all new business they enter into with public administrations, e-invoicing will be required, and they themselves have a lot to gain from transitioning to e-invoicing as soon as possible.
What should I do if a supplier emails a PDF invoice?
Answer: Notify the supplier that it is now a legal requirement to send e-invoices to the public sector, Lund University does not accept invoices in PDF as this is not an approved electronic format.
Refer them to lunduniversity.lu.se/supplier for information on how to proceed in order to meet the new requirement, preferably with immediate effect but otherwise for the next invoice. In the latter case, you may print the invoice and send it to Lund University, Box 188, 221 00 Lund or to save resources and postage, place the paper invoice in an internal envelope addressed to "Invoice Scan, Box 188". See also the answer to the previous question. And remember that you must always draw the supplier’s attention to the e-invoicing requirement, already at the procurement stage.