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ZuGFeRD vs CIIv2

It has been claimed that ZuGFeRD is a subset of the Cross Industry Invoice data model v2 from UN/CEFACT.

After reviewing both specifications it appears that even though the former is “derived” from the latter, implementations of one are not interoperable with implementations of the other. The results of this analysis are provided here.

The ZuGFeRD specifications are similar in their compliance to international standards as other European national standards, such as Facturae in Spain or ebInterface in Austria, plus some wrapping functionalities to allow the exchange of a visual invoice jointly with structured data.

Unfortunately the requirements for interoperability across Europe is not addressed by the use of these national standards only.

This challenge has been the motivation for the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to release two relevant CEN Workshop Agreements:

  1. CEN BII: CWA 2010-16073
  2. CEN BII2: CWA 16558, CWA 16559, CWA 16560, CWA 16561 and CWA 16562

These CWA establish the semantic requirement information models for an electronic invoice, as well as other procurement documents both in pre-award and post-award processes.

An innovative “syntax binding” solution, developed in CWA 16558, allows all these different and non-interoperable syntaxes (Facturae, ebInterface, ZuGFeRD) to be mapped to the CEN BII information requirement model, thus allowing semantic interoperability among them.

The conclusion is that, for countries where there is a format already deployed, such as Facturae in Spain, the effort has to be to be mapped against the CEN BII information requirement model in order to see whether the syntax can be interoperable with the formats in other countries in Europe. For those countries and communities without a widely adopted standard, there is also the option of using a well-known and popular global standard format such as UBL from OASIS, for which mapping to the CEN BII information requirement model is provided as part of the BII workshop agreement.

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