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The Finnish Parliament has approved the act on electronic billing for procurement units and traders (Laki hankintayksiköiden ja elinkeinonharjoittajien sähköisestä laskutuksesta)

Parliament approved the act on electronic billing for procurement units and traders (Government proposal HE 256/2018 vp). The act will take effect on 1 April 2019, after which it will be applied to central government authorities and the government’s central procurement units. On 1 April 2020, the act will expand to cover other procurement units in addition to central government authorities and the government’s central procurement units. This will help enact directive 2014/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic invoicing in public procurement. The purpose of the act is to streamline the financial administration of both public administration and businesses by creating the prerequisites for automated invoice processing. As of 1 April 2020, procurement units and traders have a statutory right to receive invoices from another procurement unit or trader in the electronic invoice form specified in the act. In this regard, the act will expand on the directive at a national level.

Electronic invoices must meet the European standard

The legal definition of an electronic invoice is an invoice that has been prepared and received in a structured electronic format and abides by European standard EN 16931 on electronic invoicing. The most recent national electronic invoice format descriptions (Finvoice 3.0 and TEAPPSXML 3.0) correspond to the European standard.

The act accelerates the shift to fully automated financial administration

The purpose of the act is to accelerate the shift to fully automated financial administration, both in the private and public sector. Automation will generate several benefits for financial administration. Reports based on data, for example, can be drafted more quickly and will be of better quality as data can be utilised directly from the invoice without any manual steps. At its best, automated financial administration will create new business and help fight the underground economy.

General central government goals

Electronic invoicing is one of the core prerequisites of automated financial administration. Central government processes approximately 1.2 million purchase invoices and roughly 8.8 million sales invoices each year. In 2018, up to 92% of the purchase invoices received by the government were electronic. The shared objective of central government is to increase this share of electronic invoices to 95% in 2019. The government accounting unit must conduct active and ongoing supplier cooperation and communication to increase the number of electronic invoices. Government agencies also have the preparedness to send electronic invoices to companies and other agencies. Please remember that the government must not send invoices as e-mail attachments. The target for sales invoices is to send 36% of government sales invoices as electronic invoices in 2019. This, too, requires active communications.