Digitizing German receipts and invoices – Here’s how

Digitizing German receipts and invoices – Here’s how

As a company, you took the decision to save paper and move towards fully digitizing your office documents. Great, nowadays a lot of invoices are already sent electronically. But what about those paper invoices and receipts that you get from your local restaurant for the business lunch? Excellent news: The GOBD passed a law earlier this year, making electronic scans of physical receipts and invoices sufficient for bookkeeping and tax purposes. In the following blog post, we will explain what to consider to successfully take the leap towards a digital office.

Complying with GOBD accounting rules 

We know that Germany is a country blossoming with well-defined laws and regulations. To conform with the German bookkeeping rules, a company needs to accurately document the process it applies to digitize and store receipts and documents. The documentation must be fully traceable and gapless, leaving no ambiguities for tax authorities and yearly audits. 

The process documentation should cover the following aspects:

  1. First of all, the company documents its approach to storing receipts and invoices. Here, the company describes how they are going to ensure the completeness, orderliness, unalterability of stored documents, and how they are going to protect documents against loss. 
  1. From the general description, the company describes the actual steps it takes to ensure the factors mentioned above. Companies moving towards full digitization of receipts and invoices record the detailed procedure on they will digitize the documents. In many cases, this is done with a scanning device. The company also states which software applications they use to scan, store and digitize the documents. Another essential section must cover the measures the company takes to protect the documents against loss or falsification and who will have access to them. It should become absolutely clear that the process in place is fully compliant with GOBD rules.

Since this article is about going paperless, we have to ask ourselves the essential question: Can you get rid of physical receipts and invoices? If your scanning and storing process is GOBD compliant, then yes, you can! However, some companies still prefer to keep physical invoices as evidence for tax-related purposes. That is totally fine! Even by throwing away the stacks of paper receipts from business lunches and gas stations, the amount of paper is significantly reduced! In any case, ensure that all receipts and invoices, whether electronically or physically, are available for 10 years after the purchase date.

Choosing a suitable software tool 

Now that you already described how you are going to comply with the GOBD bookkeeping rules, you probably want to know which tools and software can help you to digitize your receipts and invoices. 

You can either store them on the cloud or on the hardware itself. Many scanning and digitizing tools are cloud-based. With cloud-based solutions, it is easy to access receipts and invoices scanned on the mobile app and desktops. With hardware tools, all receipts and invoices are stored on a local server. The choice really depends on company preferences. However, nowadays, an increasing number of companies are choosing cloud-based solutions, because the myth of those solutions being unsafe has mostly been debunked. When selecting a cloud-based solution for storing your documents digitally, ensure that the provider has high data compliance standards. Data protection should be a priority for all companies. Look at where the software provider’s servers are located, which certificates are being used, which back-up options are in place and the availability of an audit trail of documents. 

Your choice depends on the purpose

Which tool you use also depends on what you are currently doing with the information. If the only purpose of digitizing the documents is to get rid of the paper receipts and invoices laying around, a scanning device or application suffices. After scanning, the documents can be stored on the cloud or server, for future references. If you want to process the invoices and receipts for bookkeeping purposes and store them simultaneously, an invoice processing software which digitizes and stores receipts is the better option for your business.

How Klippa can help you

Tools, such as the Klippa expense management or invoice processing, can help you make a leap towards the digital office. The Klippa application scans and stores receipts and invoices for 10 years. Furthermore, the Klippa platform allows companies to have a centralised solution to account for employee expenses and company invoices. The software can be fully integrated into your existing bookkeeping software, meaning that all of the information of receipts and invoices are synchronised to your bookkeeping system. For an overview of our current integrations, click here. Klippa also offers an API service to include receipt capturing into your own software.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us a message at [email protected] Or plan an online-demo with one of our customer success managers.

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