Spain is organized administratively into a multi-level structure that has a wide range of different public administrations.A General State Administration with delegations and sub-delegations in the different regions and provinces. A Regional Administration with 17 autonomous communities and two cities with a statute of autonomy – Ceuta and Melilla. And a Local administration with more than 8,000 municipalities, more than 40 provincial bodies (diputaciones) and thousands of corporations, parliaments, groupings of municipalities, free zones, etc.
To achieve uniformity in the services provided to citizens whilst ensuring its internal effectiveness is a complex task that requires considerable collaboration and coordination, as well as common means to achieve these objectives, which are the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness.
The electronic invoice is a document issued and received electronically that has the same legal effects as a paper invoice. As such, the advantages of a model for electronic invoicing in the Public Administrations are huge; among them, the importance of reducing the cost and time in the processing, the quality of information and its availability for analysis.
At the beginning of this decade, it was rare for the different units to accept invoices from its suppliers of goods and services through electronic means. At one point, it was necessary for all the PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS to benefit from an e-invoice model; to implement a new invoicing model that represented a social change that would eventually lead to the disappearance of most of the paper-based invoices in the PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS. A model that would allow a better control of the delay in payments and a reduction of payment deadlines by reducing the time of processing of invoices, and therefore improving the public sector efficiency. It would also be a model that would serve as the engine for the business community based on the importance of the public Sector procurement in the Spanish gross domestic product (GDP).
The legislation that is the basis of this model was passed in December 2013, under the Law 25 / 2013, of 27 December, which promotes the use of the electronic invoice as well as an accounting record of invoices in the public Sector. This law establishes, among other measures, the obligation for all the public administrations to receive invoices through electronic means from 15 January 2015; the administrations must also have a common point of entry of invoices for all the different units. Moreover, they must inform the supplier of the processing of their invoices at all times.
In order to allow all the PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS enforce their statutory obligations, the General State Administration offers its entry point (FACe) to all these administrations for free.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Administration has developed the point of entry of electronic invoices (FACe) with the aim of offering a service to the different General Administration units as well as those PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS which are part of this system. Nearly 8,000 PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS, including 16 out of the 17 autonomous communities, together with the General State Administration use a common entry point to enable suppliers of goods and services to submit their invoices.
Once the deadline established by the Law has expired, the situation with regards to this in the Public Administration has changed dramatically; from almost none of the administrations offering e-invoicing services to almost all of them currently offering this service. As a result, there has been an improvement in the monitoring of late payments and payment terms. Both suppliers of goods and services and the PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS benefit from the electronic invoice as it saves costs.