Digital India initiative launched by Govt of India, lays emphasis on transforming India into a digitally empowered society and aims to enhance the digital infrastructure in the country. Central Excise Notification No 8/2015-CE(NT) dated 1.03.15 was issued to amend Central Excise Rules to allow organizations to issue digitally signed invoices and electronic signatures. With this change, India joins the list of several countries in Europe and other developed markets that have shifted to digitally signed e-invoices. It should be noted that as per the notification, legally valid electronic signatures and digital signatures are the ones that guarantee signer identity and intent, data integrity, and non-repudiation of signed documents and are based on superior technology.
In any Organisation, invoices represent more than 20% to 30% of the total letter/ signed document volume. These invoices are printed, signed, and transported to the recipients leading to delays in receipt and involving high costs and efforts. Electronic invoicing or e-invoicing saves a considerable amount of time, effort, and costs involved in invoicing process and is environment friendly. Electronic invoices are easy to archive and retrieve later. Digital signatures also provide enhanced security and authenticity to the e-invoices.
Other benefits of digitally signing invoices:
- Electronic documents can be immediately delivered to recipients over email and the sender has proof of receipt
- Digital signatures can protect the authenticity and integrity of archived data
- Companies can have integrated workflow - signing, transfer, and processing of electronic documents can happen within the existing system itself
- Digital signatures provide a green, environment-friendly alternative to paper-intensive processes
- Digital signatures are as legally valid as handwritten signatures
The digitally signed e-invoicing notification is a major step for organizations to go electronic with their processes.