Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brazil's Complex Nota Fiscal Eletronica (NF-e) Requirements

I spent many years in the EDI world.  Most of my challenges were from trying to understand the various standards to be used and the data semantics and syntax requirements of my trading partners.  Today, with the rapidly increasing number of e-invoice and other e-form requirements by various governments the biggest challenges are supporting the processes. 

I could handle learning one or two countries' requirements, but what happens when you need to support the data and formatting requirements of 30 different countries, plus each of their complex process requirements?  I have worked with many EDI departments tasked with supporting the global requirements of their multi-national corporation.  One of the biggest challenges is just trying to ensure compliance with all the different legal requirements of every country.

The botton line is that it is not the role of an EDI department to also be the legal compliance team.  It makes far more sense to outsource the global compliance of e-invoicing to a specialist in global e-invoicing that can manage all of the international requirements on your behalf.

Read the press release below to understand the complex business processes that must be supported in order to be compliant with just Brazil's new Nota Fiscal Eletronica compliance requirements.


Atlanta, Georgia, April 6, 2010, Crossgate Inc., the global expert in business-to-business integration (B2B), has announced the successful go-live of a turnkey e-Invoicing service for seven SAP customers in Latin America to help them meet governmental mandates.

Brazilian regulatory compliance laws are changing, with the hard-copy nota fiscal (invoice) that companies have traditionally used being replaced by its electronic counterpart—the Nota Fiscal Eletronica (NF-e). Under the new regulations, companies must prepare an outgoing invoice in an XML format mandated by the Ministry of Finance (SEFAZ) and have it authorized before a shipment can be delivered. The SEFAZ issues an electronic authorization key that must be transformed into a barcode and printed on the bill of lading (DANF-e) accompanying the shipment.  Police or Customs Officials may stop the delivery truck and scan the DANF-e to ensure that the products on the truck match the authorization on file in the SEFAZ database. If there is any discrepancy, the company may face severe penalties or fines.

“The regulatory compliance processes in Brazil are among the most complex and unique eInvoice requirements in the world, and many companies do not have the required infrastructure to support the real-time interactions between a company’s IT systems and SEFAZ,” said Scott Lewin, President, Crossgate, Inc. “With compliance deadlines approaching quickly and new requirements coming in 2011, companies need to find a managed B2B service that can send and receive the required XML formats and adhere to the mandates defined by SEFAZ, while leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments.” For another seven SAP customers in Brazil, that solution is Crossgate’s B2B 360 Services and e-Invoicing Network.

Crossgate’s turnkey NF-e Service is fully integrated with SAP and offers real-time integration with SEFAZ. When a customer creates a nota fiscal in SAP, Crossgate converts it from IDOC format to the SEFAZ-compliant XML format and sends it to the Crossgate e-Invoicing Network. There it is logged, digitally signed, validated for compliance, and transmitted in real time to SEFAZ servers for approval. After it is approved, the message is archived in the Crossgate e-Invoicing Platform before being routed to the customer for printing and updating to SAP. The approved XML file is converted into a DANF-e for shipping, and a copy of the NF-e is transmitted to the receiver in advance of the shipment. Throughout the entire lifecycle of the nota fiscal, status messages are monitored using Crossgate’s Nota Fiscal Cockpit within SAP.

If a nota fiscal is rejected by SEFAZ because it does not match their master data, the steps required for reprocessing it can be time-consuming and cumbersome if they have to be done manually. The customer must cancel all of the billing documents, correct the master data in their system, and then reissue the documents to start the process all over again. But with the Crossgate solution, the customer can simply correct the master data and click one button. Crossgate creates a new IDOC, sends it out again, and it is automatically approved.

Crossgate’s solution also supports complete SEFAZ integration for receiving and validating electronic invoices. Because the Crossgate solution is completely integrated with SAP, companies can integrate their eInvoice process with MIGO and MIRO receiving processes. One-click MIGO and one-click MIRO, based upon inbound NF-e data, gives financial managers tremendous power in further streamlining their receiving processes.

Crossgate’s turnkey enablement is fully integrated with SAP, supports full sending and receiving processes, allows business to continue even when connectivity to SEFAZ is interrupted, integrates with the MIGO and MIRO receiving processes, and fully complies with the Nota Fiscal Eletronica initiatives. “The Crossgate solution provides integrated monitoring and validation in real-time, to help SAP customers meet compliance regulations much more quickly and efficiently,” says Lewin. “And we manage everything as a service, with a local office staffed by people who speak the local language. We know the processes, and we can help companies avoid potential non-compliance fines and implementation delays.” Regulatory compliance efforts can be time-consuming and difficult, but Crossgate’s B2B 360 Services and e-Invoicing Network make compliance easy for companies in more than 38 countries.

About Crossgate, Inc.

Crossgate offers the world's first Business-Ready Network, guaranteeing 100% integration of business partners, clients and suppliers. A single connection to the Network means electronic data exchange with any business partner regardless of their technical capability. In addition, Crossgate's B2B-360° Services powered by SAP provide clients direct access to all integrated business partners in the B2B transaction network via their SAP systems. With its legally compliant e-Invoicing Services, Crossgate also provides an innovative and 100% secure solution to cover the entire process of incoming and outgoing invoices, including signatures, global compliance monitoring, and secure automated long-term archiving.  More than 40,000 business partners, representing over 10 industries, currently exchange documents and data via the Business-Ready Network.

Crossgate is represented at four sites in Germany, with operations in Atlanta, London, Milan, Paris, and AsiaPac.  For more information, visit http://www.crossgate.com/.

Author: Kevin Benedict
Principal Consultant/Founder
SAP EDI Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant
Netcentric Strategies LLC

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent consultant that has worked with and for many of the companies mentioned.

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