E-invoicing is creating and sending invoices electronically rather than on paper. This can be done through various methods such as email, online invoicing platforms, or electronic data interchange (EDI). E-invoicing has numerous benefits, including cost savings, improved efficiency, and increased security. In this blog, we will discuss some of the essential features of features of E-invoicing, including the invoice reference number (IRN), digital signature (DSC), quick response code (QR code), and real-time tracking.
Invoice Reference Number (IRN)
The invoice reference number (IRN) is a unique number generated for each e-invoice. It is used to identify the invoice and verify its authenticity. The IRN is generated using a hash algorithm. This mathematical function takes input (such as invoice details) and produces a fixed-size output (the IRN).
What is a Hash Algorithm?
A hash algorithm is a mathematical function that takes input (such as a piece of text or a file) and produces a fixed-size output called a hash. The input can be of any size, but the output (hash) is always the same size. Hash algorithms are used for various purposes, including verifying the authenticity and integrity of data.
What are Hash Parameters?
The hash parameters are the values used as input to the hash algorithm. For the IRN, the hash parameters may include the invoice details, such as the invoice number, date, and amount. These parameters are used to create the hash, which is then verified by the GST portal to ensure the authenticity of the invoice. The hash parameters must be accurate and unchanged, as any changes will result in a different IRN. By using hash parameters, businesses can ensure that their invoices are correctly identified and authenticated, helping to reduce the risk of fraud.
Generating the IRN
To generate the IRN, the hash algorithm is applied to the invoice details using the hash parameters. The resulting hash (IRN) is then added to the invoice as a unique identifier.
Digital Signature (DSC)
A digital signature (DSC) is an electronic version of a physical signature that is used to authenticate the identity of the sender of an electronic document. In e-invoicing, a DSC can be used to authenticate the identity of the person or company sending the invoice.
What Is The Applicability Of A DSC?
A DSC is applicable in cases where the sender's authenticity needs to be verified. In the case of e-invoicing, a DSC can be used to ensure that the invoice is being sent by the person or company it claims to be from.
How to Attach a DSC to an Invoice?
To attach a DSC to an invoice, the sender must obtain a digital certificate from a recognized certificate authority . The digital certificate contains the sender's public key and is used to verify the DSC. The sender can then use their private key (which is kept a secret) to sign the invoice using the DSC. The signed invoice and the digital certificate can then be sent to the recipient.
Quick Response Code (QR Code)
A QR code is a type of barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone or QR code reader to access information quickly. In e-invoicing, a QR code can be used to access the invoice details quickly. This can be helpful in cases where the recipient needs to verify the invoice details, such as the invoice number and amount.
Real-time Tracking of Invoicing
One of the significant benefits of e-invoicing is the ability to track the status of invoices in real time. This can reduce payment delays and improve cash flow for businesses. E-invoicing allows for real-time tracking of invoicing.
One-Time Reporting of B2B Invoices
In some jurisdictions, e-invoicing systems allow businesses to report their B2B invoices to the government in a standardized format. This can reduce the administrative burden of preparing and filing invoices individually and improve tax reporting accuracy and timeliness.
Reduction in Frauds
E-invoicing helps reduce fraud risk by ensuring that each invoice is unique and authenticated. The IRN and hash algorithm makes it difficult for fraudsters to create fake invoices or alter legitimate ones, as any changes result in a different IRN. This helps to ensure the integrity of the invoicing process and protect businesses from fraudulent activity.
E-invoicing offers a range of essential features that make it an attractive option for businesses. These features include:
- Invoice Reference Number (IRN): The IRN is a unique number assigned to each invoice, which helps to identify it and prevent fraud. The IRN is generated using a hash algorithm, which converts the invoice data into a unique code.
- Hash Algorithm: The hash algorithm is a mathematical function that takes in data and generates a fixed-size output, known as a hash. The hash is unique to the data it was generated from; even a tiny change in the data will result in a completely different hash. This makes hash algorithms an effective way to identify and authenticate data, such as invoices.
- Streamlined Process: E-invoicing streamlines the invoicing process by eliminating the need for paper invoices. This can save businesses time and resources, as they no longer need to create and send invoices manually.
Improved Efficiency: E-invoicing improves efficiency by automating the invoicing process. Invoices can be created and sent electronically, reducing the risk of errors and delays.
Reduced Risk of Fraud: E-invoicing helps reduce fraud risk by ensuring that each invoice is unique and authenticated. The IRN and hash algorithm makes it difficult for fraudsters to create fake invoices or alter legitimate ones, as any changes result in a different IRN.
Overall, e-invoicing accounting software offers a range of essential features that can help businesses save time and resources while reducing the risk of fraud. By implementing e-invoicing, businesses can improve their invoicing process and focus on growing their business.