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Creating a paperless environment for trade must address the need for an electronic version of an invoice. The commercial invoice is an important document exchanged between trading partners. In addition to its prime function as a request for payment from the seller to the buyer, the invoice is an important accounting document and, also has potential legal implications for both trading partners.

This standard facilitates the Business processes, the Business transactions and the Information entities of the invoice used by the industries in the supply chain.

UN/CEFACT has developed a maximum data-set invoice which covers multiple sectors and multiple types of commodities called a cross-industry invoice (or CII for short). It is unlikely that all the data in the UN/CEFACT CII will be necessary all the time. Most usages will be a subset of the full CII. By creating a standard model with all the potential information, it is easier for parties to identify any possible version of an invoice.

The UN/CEFACT CII is part of a group of messages in supply chain procedures called the “Cross-Industry family of deliverables.” These are all based on the principle of a maximum data set, are integrated into the Supply Chain Reference Data Model, and are fully interoperable with each other. These include the CI-Cataloguing Process, CI-Ordering Process, CI-Quotation, CI-Delivery Process, CI-Remittance Advice, etc. You can access all of them here.

Directive 2014/55/EU designates UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice as one of the two obligatory standards within the within the EU for B2G (Business-to-Government) electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing).

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