FAQ E-Invoice

Why electronic invoices?

In analysing our management processes it became clear to us that we produce an enormous amount of paper and consume a considerable amount of energy to transport business documents in our company and to our customers.Our invoices alone, for example, would form a pile 500 metres high if stacked on top of each other, our delivery notes would produce a mountain five times higher, and so forth.The existing processes are cumbersome and potentially error-prone.

The "E-Invoice"
Invoices will no longer be sent by traditional mail, but by email, directly to the persons you nominate within your company. On our website http://my.messergroup.com you can modifying data and have round-the-clock online access to archived documents.
 

Advantages of the "e-invoice"

  • Quicker and more reliable transfer of invoices DIRECTLY to your accounting department
  • You decide who will automatically receive a copy in addition to the actual bill-to party.This simplifies, for instance, your in-house invoice verification
  • It is no longer necessary to store paper invoices in your company as the invoices remain available at http://my.messergroup.com
  • Option of XML format to permit you to integrate the invoices directly into your ERP system
  • Simple electronic storage of the invoices
  • Certified invoicing system which complies with the Value Added Tax Law
  • Access to the My Messer Portal with many additional services, such as:
    • Round-the-clock online access to your invoices
    • Option of changing your business data to permit correct invoicing of your company
    • Additional direct communication channel for all questions regarding invoices

 

Does the Tax Office accept electronic invoices?

The equality of electronic and paper invoices is confirmed in Council Directive 2006/112/EC. For transactions between companies, the directive defines that the documents must be signed digitally. National law complements the Council Directive by the addition of country-specific provisions.

Messer even chose a certified signature, so consequently the Messer solution satisfies all national laws in Europe and is therefore permissible in all European countries.

How often can I print out an e-invoice?

You can print out electronic invoices as often as you want. But naturally we urgently recommend that you handle your internal administration by e-mail in order to improve your CO2 balance, too, and to expedite processing.

The law defines unambiguously that the electronic version is the original. When you print it out, you will by definition obtain a copy of the original invoice.There is thus no need to mark the electronic invoices as copies.

What happens if an electronic invoice does not arrive?

At https://my.messergroup.com you can define the persons who are to receive an electronic invoice. For security reasons and in your own interest, this procedure is not performed automatically, but is checked by our internal administration.

The electronic invoices are sent to the persons you have nominated.The sender address used for the emails is the central email address of our office-based support.Replies can be sent directly to this email address.Information on the failure of mail servers, the absence of the addressee, etc. is also sent to this address.Our office receives the replies, responds to them and rectifies the problem concerned manually.

What happens if an electronic invoice is lost?

The original bill can be accessed at any time https://my.messergroup.com.

You can download the digitally signed original invoices and the verification logs from this website under 'my documents'. (Verification logs are not available in all countries).

Can I still receive paper invoices from Messer?

Messer is legally obliged to support a process with paper invoices.You can continue to make use of this if you choose. However, we recommend to adapt your internal processes to paperless handling of invoices and to contribute to the improvement in the CO2 balance.

How can I register?

Please call Messer's sales administration. You will find your contact person on your invoice.

What technical infrastructure does Messer use?

The Messer Group puts its faith in mySAP Enterprise for invoicing.The invoices are calculated using the data which is entered during the delivery process and made available in a print spool. If your company is registered as an e-mail recipient, the invoices are taken from the physical print queue, transferred to a signature spool, signed digitally, verified and sent to the recipient. In addition, a digital copy of each one is stored in our d.3 archiving system. https://my.messergroup.com grants you direct access to the d.3 archiving system, where you can view your invoices online.

Should I also use electronic invoices in my company?

We advise you to analyse the internal processes in your company and to tailor them to receiving electronic invoices. Likewise Messer suppliers are also requested to switch to electronic invoices.This will result in fewer documents needing to be scanned or stored in paper form. Furthermore, the authorisation workflow with Messer is done electronically. All this leads to greater accuracy, a reduction in costs and improvement of our CO2 balance.We would be delighted if you informed us of the benefits of electronic invoices.

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is a type of "checksum" which guarantees that an electronic original document has not been manipulated.Further information on signatures and signature key pairs is available in Wikipedia, for example.

At Messer we use a certified signature key.This means that the public key is available on the internet and has been verified by a certified authority.This key has a specific expiry date after which it must be renewed.

The digital signature is generated by Messer using the "private key" which belongs to the "public key".The public key enables you to verify whether the document concerned is the original.

Before transfer takes place, Messer verifies the signature of all documents and stores the report of verification electronuically. This report is also available online on https://my.messergroup.com. (not available in all countries)

How is a digital signature verified?

This can be done in various ways:

First of all, at https://my.messergroup.com you are provided with not only the invoices but also the inspection logs from the signature check which were created by a service provider (Verification logs are not available in all countries).

If you want to check the signature check itself, you can do this either in an online signature portal or directly in Adobe Reader.

1. Online check

Various providers exist who provide the service free of charge and can be found easily using a search engine and a search term such as "signature check online" (examples with no guarantee offered here):
www.signature-check.de and https://www.dtrustprokura.de/PublicVerification.aspx ).
 

2. Signature check using Adobe Reader (Version 8.0 and higher).

It is simple to configure Adobe Reader to perform a signature check on a document which you have no doubt is genuine (e.g. after an online check):

2a) What must you do before the first signature check?

Adobe Reader unfortunately currently does not know the certificates of the accredited certification authorities (CAs) in the delivery status.Consequently a signature check with a newly installed Adobe Reader would lead to the result that the validity of the signature and the identity of the signatory are unknown. Before the signature is checked, the certificate must therefore first be classified as trusted.

In the process you can also rate a certificate as trusted by categorising the certificate itself or a higher-ranking certificate as the so-called root certificate. When you classify a certificate as a root certificate and trusted, all certificates which are issued by this certification authority are automatically classified as trusted.

The signatures on the Messer invoices are based on certificates of telesec (www.telesec.de), D-Trust (www.bundesdruckerei.de). We recommend that you configure these certificates as a trusted root certificates as follows:

Open your invoice using Adobe Reader and select the icon on the left circled in red.

The window below then opens:

 

Here click with the right mouse button and then select "Show Signature Properties".
The certificate which confirms that the signature is genuine is selected here.

 

Then please select "Show Certificate". The window below then appears.This certificate (SLM24…. on left) must now be specified as "trusted".To do this, click on "Trust".

In the next window please click on "Add to Trusted Identities" to add the certificate to the trusted identities.

In the next window please confirm with OK.

The window below then opens.You can see the certification details in the area framed in red at the top.
Please click in the fields circled in red:

Then click on OK and close the area.

You have now added the certificate to your trusted identities.The certificates always have a specific validity period.When a new certificate is issued, the steps described above must be repeated.

The result in the window ensures you that the signature is valid and has not been modified or damaged after the certification was added.

2b) How do I check the invoice signature?

After you have performed the steps described above once, you can easily check the validity of the qualified electronic signature for every other invoice using Adobe Reader.

Right-click on:

Then click on "Validate Signature".You will then see the screen below.In this click on "Signature Properties".

The result shown in the window ensures you that the signature is valid and that after the signature was added it has been neither modified nor damaged.

What does electronic encryption mean?

Digital encryption means that the data in a document is encrypted and can be read only if you have the key to decrypt it. This technology is widespread. For example, it is used to send sensitive payment data from the browser to a website.No emails are encrypted in Messer's e-invoice project. Access to https://my.messergroup.com, on the other hand, is encrypted.

What happens if the receiver of an email is absent?

The electronic invoices are sent via a central email address of the backoffice to the persons you have specified. Replies can be sent directly to this email address. Information on the failure of mail servers, the absence of the addressee, etc. is also sent to this address. Our internal administration responds to this and rectifies the problem concerned manually.

Changes in E-Mail adresses or addressees can be done on the website https://my.messergroup.com at any time.

What is https://my.messergroup.com?

You can access Messer's customised information website at https://my.messergroup.com. There you can:

  • name or revoke persons who should be invoice recieivers in your company
  • change master data of your company
  • view your archived invoices

.... and obtain information on the latest service offerings.

For security reasons and in your own interest, this procedure is not performed automatically, but is checked by our internal administration. Up to three copies of the electronic invoice can be requested (one "To:" and up to two "CC" copies).

Can I define who receives an invoice?

At https://my.messergroup.com you can define the persons who are to receive an electronic invoice. To avoid any confusion in your company, the corresponding emails may only be addressed to one person (TO:).The others are entered under CC.

How long is it legally necessary to store the invoices?

The electronic invoice corresponds to 100% of the paper bill, so the same legal retention requirements apply.