Vietnam will transition from paper invoices to electronic invoices, if the proposal from Ministry of Finance is accepted at the beginning of 2018 – effectively in less than five months time.
Replacing paper invoicing with electronic invoicing is an inevitable trend in a dynamic economy, delivering a great number of benefits for both buyers and suppliers.
E-Invoicing not only helps to improve overall business efficiency, it saves significantly on costs for printing as well as mailing invoices, and the time spent in the tax office collecting and paying for invoices, and reduces the risk of rejection of invoices due to inaccuracy of data entry. It also eliminates the possibility of invoice fraud and is environmentally friendly. Therefore, this can be considered as a positive sign in creating more feasible and efficient legal environment for enterprises in Vietnam.
The introduction of E-invoicing will not be without its challenges in the first stage of implementation, where there will likely be many enterprises who are not familiar with this system and there will be challenges when moving from paper invoicing to electronic invoicing, so customers and business partners might be reluctant to change processes and receive invoices electronically.
In addition, companies might face technical issues regarding IT and infrastructure to be able to send invoices from one company to another, as they may maintain different systems. The companies need to have a secure and reliable system for data protection and confidentiality.
In addition, according to the draft decree, companies can use either free invoicing software launched through the General Taxation Department’s website or an in-house software. However, such in-house software must have the function of invoice creation and be able to export invoices in the standard format of GDT or able to integrate with the invoice processing software of GDT.
Also, one of the first conditions for using e-invoicing is that the seller’s software must be reliably linked with an accounting software so that all invoice data for the provision of goods/services can be successfully and automatically transferred to the accounting software at the time of issuing invoices.
In my opinion, as the draft decree is still in the public domain, seeking comments and feedback, there will undoubtedly be supplements and amendments trying to implement the new decree in early 2018. This may be a little ambitious, and rather than rush this and encounter implementation issues, more time may be required.
-Kenneth Atkinson, Chairman
Grant Thornton, Vietnam