Throughout the digital business world, the use of electronic transactional documents or messages, also known as e-documents, is growing exponentially. But what exactly is an e-document? As a fairly new concept, the definition can vary, but here we’ll define the most basic and inclusive use of the term.
Growing use of the e-document
Going digital in business means turning manual or semi-manual processes into fully automated processes that are easier to manage and oversee. Business digitalization is growing in popularity, but these days it’s also becoming a necessity.
One change becoming more common is the use of electronic documents (e-documents) instead of paper, which companies do for a variety of reasons. There’s plenty of proof that investing in electronic document flows streamlines company operations, makes them safer, facilitates cross-border trade and saves money and environment. Beyond these benefits exist regulatory and bureaucratic reasons as well; the number of government-mandated ordinances that require the use of electronic documents is growing worldwide with increasing paste.
Although the push to go digital is propelled by different motives depending on economic, governmental and geographical factors, using transactional e-documents is a certain future for essentially all businesses worldwide. Here you’ll get a better understanding of e-documents and the realm of which documents might be included in the definition.
“E-document refers to any transactional document which is exchanged between trading partners in an electronic format and manner.”
What is an e-document?
“E-document” refers to any transactional document which is exchanged between trading partners in an electronic format and manner. Distinct from PDF or image files, e-documents are machine readable and typically exchanged via software or online platforms rather than email. E-document types include, but are not limited to:
- Purchase orders
- Invoices of various types
- Credit/debit notes
- Correction invoices
- Dispatch advices
- Goods receipt notes
- Payment instructions
Which e-documents you work with depends on your operations and your local regulations. If your company operates in multiple countries, best practices and government-mandated requirements on business documentation will likely vary by country.
Compliance conditions of e-documents
The most commonly regulated e-document is the e-invoice. However, governments around the world have started regulating the usage of other document types included in the list above. E-document compliance includes a multitude of conditions that companies must meet. Read our list of compliance conditions or explore our E-invoicing Regulations World Map to see specifications of the countries where you operate.
Learn more about e-invoicing compliance
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