ZUGFeRD: The Future of Invoicing

Introduction

Whenever I receive an invoice as a PDF document in my Inbox, I take a look at the Document Properties of the file to find out which tool was used to create that invoice. I'm always happy when I see that iText was used.

Next I check if the PDF is future-proof. That is: if it complies with the PDF/A standard, and if it can easily be interpreted by a machine. Usually that's not the case. That makes me less happy.

Only when I've performed these two simple checks, I look at the actual content of the invoice. Whether or not that makes me happy, depends on the amount I have to pay.

In this tutorial,

  • I'll explain why conforming to the PDF/A standard is important,

  • I'll show you how you can assure that a machine can read and process the invoices you create, and

  • I'll introduce the Central User Guide for Electronic Invoicing in Germany (ZUGFeRD), a standard that was developed to meet these requirements.

Using some simple examples, I'll demonstrate how you can easily create ZUGFeRD-compliant invoices by applying some small changes to your iText-driven invoicing process.