Electronic invoicing

What is electronic invoicing?

An electronic invoice or e-invoice in short is an invoice that is sent and received in electronic or digital form. 

We can roughly distinguish 2 types of e-invoices: human-readable PDF invoices and machine-readable EDI invoices. 


Types of electronic invoices

Human-readable PDF invoices 

  • These e-invoices are sent and received digitally, but in most cases processed manually. 
  • A common example are PDF invoices that are sent and received by e-mail, but which have to be typed manually in the accounting system. 

Machine-readable EDI invoices 

  • These e-invoices are not only sent and received digitally, but also processed digitally. 
  • They are created according to a fixed structure (standard), which allows software packages to process them automatically. 
Mensleesbaar invoice

Given that GS1 only supports standards for machine-readable EDI invoices, the term 'e-invoice' below should always be regarded as 'machine-readable EDI invoice'. 

Different standards of e-invoices 

There are various different standards for e-invoices. This also applies to other machine-readable EDI commercial documents such as electronic orders or delivery notes. This is because each sector may have its own specific requirements. 

In the table below, we would like to give you, as a GS1 member, some insight into which e-invoice standard(s) are best for your company. This choice depends on whether you want to process e-invoices from trading partners from your own sector and/or from other private or public sectors. 

Your company’s sector.
  Your trading partner’s sector. 
  The same sector as your company  Other private sector (cross-sector B2B)  Public sector/government (cross-sector B2G)
FMCG & Food Service  GS1 BELUX HO2C INVOIC Peppol BIS Billing 3.0 GS1 BELUX HO2C INVOIC or * Peppol BIS Billing 3.0
DIY, Garden & Pets  Guides based on GS1 standards **  Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0
Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0
Other retail Not specified ***  Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0
Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0
Healthcare Not specified ***  Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0
Peppol BIS
Billing 3.0

* Choice of companies in the FMCG & Food Service sector: 

  • Would your company like to send e-invoices to customers from other private sectors besides the public sector/governments, or receive them from suppliers from other sectors? Then opt for the Peppol BIS Billing 3.0 e-invoice standard. 
  • Would your company currently only like to send e-invoices to public authorities and is your company already able to process e-invoices according to the HO2C INVOIC e-invoice standard? Then opt for the GS1 BELUX HO2C e-invoice standard. 

** Within the DIY, Garden & Pets sector, several large companies have developed an individual e-invoice guide based on the international GS1 standard EANCOM INVOIC. Contact our helpdesk for more information. 

*** Different standards are employed within the sector or no standard has been defined.Contact our helpdesk for more information.

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