Since November 2020, it has been mandatory for companies to submit invoices with a value of goods of more than EUR 1,000 to public contracting authorities electronically. The XML format 'XInvoice' is the standardised format that must be used for this. Until now, the customer has generated EDI invoices exclusively in the ZUGFeRD format (PDF file with embedded XML) or as a pure PDF. A ZUGFeRD document can be read by humans and, after a few processing steps, by machines. However, this does not comply with the latest regulations, according to which an invoice must be exclusively machine-processable. For this purpose, a mapping (profile) is implemented in the middleware 'Lobster_data', which generates an XInvoice. The completed XInvoice is sent to the buyers as an email attachment via SMTP. Receiving systems are mostly online portals (e.g. that of the Bundesdruckerei), which are used by a large number of end customers.
The XInvoice format currently corresponds to version CII 2.0.0 of EU standard EN 16931-1. The EDI invoices are transferred from the SAP S/4HANA merchandise management system as an IDoc (INVOIC02) to a middleware (web application developed by the customer). The web application performs checks and transfers the IDocs via web service to another middleware, 'Lobster_data'. There, a Lobster mapping (profile) receives the IDocs, checks and converts them into a standardised format (IDoc) for all customers. If there is a routing ID (reference no.) in the IDoc, the profile is called, which generates the target format XInvoice. The finished XInvoice is transmitted as an e-mail attachment via SMTP, usually to online portals used by a large number of end customers, where it is further processed. In addition to interface coordination with the e-commerce department, technical implementation in 'Lobster_data' is a main point of PTA activities.
The work is carried out for the customer's IT department on behalf of the in-house sales department. The sales department accompanies the introduction of XInvoice technically and organisationally to support its end customers. From the SAP S/4HANA merchandise management system via the web application, the data (IDocs) to be sent to the goods orderers is transferred to the 'Lobster_data' tool, where the XInvoices are generated and sent by e-mail to the online portals used by the goods orderers.