2 Introduction

Organisations operate in different industry, geopolitical, and regulatory contexts and these might necessitate different rules and requirements for the information they exchange in an Invoice. Consequently, some trading communities may prefer industry specific Invoices. Translation between models is usually required when two parties using different Invoice models or formats (for example, between two different communities) need to communicate. This can be a complex and expensive process that is prone to misinterpretations. For Suppliers (or Buyers) who deal with many different communities this is yet another barrier to eInvoicing.

Semantic interoperability means the ability of all trading partners (in this case Buyers and Suppliers) to understand the information they exchange. One proven approach to enabling greater interoperability is to agree upon a collection of terms with well-defined meanings that are consistent across all contexts of use. The semantic model presented here consists of a controlled vocabulary of terms and their definitions, the business requirements and rules to support these, plus the structure of the Invoice Document itself.

The eInvoicing Semantic Model is an attempt to isolate the syntax/grammar/format from information exchanges and enable us to compare one thing with another and see if they are describing the same thing.

A single common semantic model enables reliable information exchange and ensures technology neutrality. It is also easier and cheaper for organisations to subscribe to a single model as compared to several.

In the software world this is also useful because:

a. Technology is constantly evolving; standardising on the semantics ensures that the Invoice information which is standardised does not need redesigning to satisfy new technologies – formats may change but semantics do not need to; and

b. When transforming an Invoice between various formats, the mapping of information is easier for software developers if there is a common semantic model.