Datalogics on The ZUGFeRD Standard – What it is, how it affects you, and how we can help

Leonard Ho // November 25, 2019

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What is the ZUGFeRD Standard?

ZUGFeRD is an e-invoicing standard that has been embraced by German-speaking countries within the European Union (EU). The standard came about from the EU, acknowledging the need for an e-invoicing format standard. The “Forum Elektronische Rechnung Deutschland" (FeRD) is the organization that introduced the ZUGFeRD 1.0 specification and has made it available since June 25th, 2014. FeRD has subsequently released ZUGFeRD 2.0, which provides for a freely available invoice format that optimally meets the needs of companies for an electronic bill: It is available free of charge and is compatible with the European standard EN 16931. ZUGFeRD 2.0 can be used for domestic and international billing and is equally usable by both small and large companies. The creation of an invoice in PDF format is simple; the evaluation can be done either by the administrator through the PDF image representation or automated by the embedded XML file. The standard has several profiles in order to be able to fulfill special requirements for the contents of the invoice.

Why was it introduced?

According to FeRD, there are about 32 billion invoices exchanged annually in Germany, but adoption of electronic invoices are only in the single-figure percentage range. In order to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the advantages of e-invoicing, the German Forum on electronic Invoicing (“Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland” – FeRD) developed ZUGFeRD - the "Central User Guide of the Forum for Electronic Invoicing in Germany" as a uniform data format. ZUGFeRD is targeted to meet the needs of digitalization requirements of the public sector and will help facilitate e-invoicing in the business-to-business (B2B) and business to government (B2G) sectors as required by the EU. Having a uniform data format for electronic invoices will help simplify the exchange of structured electronic invoices. The new ZUGFeRD version 2.0 adheres to the requirements of this new EU standard and is based on the PDF/A ISO standard, which sets strict parameters around long-term archiving.

How will it affect you?

The e-Bill law (published in April 2017) by the German government mandates the receipt and processing of e-invoicing for all federal contracting authorities, regardless of the amount of the invoice. The e-Bill law also provides for specific dates for the implementation of electronic invoicing: from November 27th, 2018, the top federal state authorities must be able to receive and process electronic invoices and, from November 27th, 2019, all subordinate institutions and sectorial contracting authorities on the federal level.

How can Datalogics help?

The Datalogics Adobe PDF Library supports both Part 2 and Part 3 of the PDF/A standard.  This allows users to create a Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 PDF/A-compliant document.  We have also added support for Levels B and U, and as a result, users can now create ZUGFeRD 2.0 compliant documents, which are based on Part 3 of the PDF/A standard.

Be sure to reach out to and we are happy to help explain and guide you on PDF/A implementation that aligns with the ZUGFeRD standard.

Datalogics, Inc. provides a complete SDK for PDF creation, manipulation and management for companies around the globe. Built on Adobe source code, our flagship product Adobe® PDF Library offers a choice of programming platforms and languages along with unsurpassed customer service, proven by our 94% customer retention rate. Datalogics offers…

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Leonard Ho