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The future of French e-invoicing – and why lack of master data ownership is a risk for businesses

Had the original implementation timetable been adhered to, businesses would currently be going through the final preparations for the introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing in France on 1st July 2024.

That was until July 2023 and the French government’s announcement that it had delayed the arrival of B2B e-invoicing until September 2026 for large taxpayers and September 2027 for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Whether the rollout of B2B e-invoicing in France takes place in 2026 or further delays are instigated, we believe there are currently many organisations across the country that will struggle to comply unless they take the necessary action to prepare and protect their processes with the new legislation in mind.

What are French tax professionals saying?

We recently had the pleasure of joining our friends from Club Utilisateurs de Solutions Oracle to deliver a webinar on French VAT and e-invoicing for Oracle users based in the country.

It was a wonderful opportunity not only to share our knowledge and advice on the hottest topics of the time, but also to gain insights into the unique challenges Oracle users in France are facing as they manage VAT updates, new digital reporting requirements and the planned introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing.

Despite the delays already experienced to e-invoicing – not to mention the possibility of any further pushbacks – French businesses are aware that the day they need to take action is getting closer.

A common theme throughout the webinar – both from our co-hosts from Club Utilisateurs de Solutions Oracle as well as attendees – was the unprecedented importance of data in readying companies for e-invoicing.

Everybody in the tax space knows that data quality is undoubtedly the key to powering accurate, timely and compliant e-invoices.

However, most businesses remain unsure of two critical aspects of data management:

  1. Whether their master data (specifically customer and supplier records) is accurate.
  2. Within their organisation, which team or department is responsible for maintaining and creating records.

Turning the master data stone – what will be found underneath?

It’s not the first time we’ve heard tax professionals confess that master data triggers feelings of trepidation.

Indeed, during the webinar, it was described as a large stone that nobody wants to overturn; such is the anxiety surrounding what gremlins may be discovered underneath.

Some of the largest brands in the world have confessed to us in recent years that their master data is in poor shape; overrun with errors, gaps and outdated information. As a result of bad data, even the most routine tax calculations can return erroneous results. As we’ve always said, if you put garbage into a tax solution you can expect to get garbage out the other end. That is becoming true for e-invoicing systems too.

We’ve long advocated that tackling the issue head-on is the only option for modern businesses seeking long-term compliance with global e-invoicing mandates and a raft of other digital regulations.

There’s no hiding place for firms harbouring poor-quality master data – and the introduction of mandatory B2B e-invoicing in France and across much of the world will throw a spotlight on data weaknesses more than ever before.

That’s why we recommend tax and finance professionals to prioritise data above all else. So before your next investment in new technology, first conduct a thorough review of your master data. You might just be thankful for the road it leads you down.

Want to find out how we can help? Read more about our unique data service suite, TaxMaster™.