Businesses not ready for electronic invoice issuance

By Thanh Duong, Quynh Huong   August 29, 2019 | 06:25 pm PT
Companies are required to issue electronic invoices from November 1 next year, but many are not keen.

CLP Viet Industrial Limited Liability Company started to issue electronic invoices in 2018. Nguyen Kim Thanh, its CEO, appreciated the benefits of electronic invoices like cost and time saving, but said there were limitations.

"The invoices require electronic signatures by sellers and buyers. But not all buyers are businesses or have electronic signatures."

Businesses are required to issue electronic invoices from November 1 next year

Businesses are required to issue electronic invoices from November 1 next year

Thus, occasionally her company issues electronic invoices, but has to issue traditional invoices as well due to the lack of the buyer’s signature, Thanh said.

At a forum held to discuss the problems related to electronic invoices in July, Nguyen Tuong of the Association of Vietnamese Logistics Companies said these invoices are not known widely enough, and cited the examples of market management officials and police officers in remote areas.

As a result, transport companies which use electronic invoices have difficulty explaining to such officials, he said.

The association has called for the adoption of electronic bills in stages to ensure everyone is properly informed about them.

Decree 119 issued by the government in September 2018 requires a complete switch to electronic invoices from November next year. The government stated that the transition is essential for a modern and transparent commercial system.

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) estimated the use of electronic invoices would help reduce the issuing process by 70 percent, disputes related to invoices by 90 percent, payment time by 99 percent, and the cost of invoices by 80 percent.

But Vu Tien Loc, VCCI chairman, noted the expense required to apply electronic invoices remains high, and so many businesses are not keen on switching. "Besides, many are not capable of installing the infrastructure required for electronic billing."

The Vietnamese preference for using cash is also slowing down the switch, he added.

Loc called on the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the General Department of Taxation (GDT) to educate enterprises on the benefits of electronic invoices, which would eventually persuade them to switch.

Nguyen Kho Din, general secretary of the Electronic Bill and Digital Verification Club, said one of the biggest difficulties is the lack of uniformity between the data used by the tax and treasury departments and market supervisors.

The MoF and GDT must provide a clear plan divided into phases to avoid hassle in 2020.

According to GDT, as of July 279 businesses had registered to issue electronic invoices, 255 of those have been applying this method. The total number of electronic invoices issued so far is 2.3 billion. 

On average, enterprises issue more than 4 billion traditional invoices every day.

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