Schematron validation

Schematron validation

On this page, you will find more information about verifying your e-invoices by Schematron validation. In order to make all transactions as effortless as possible, it is important that both the sender and recipient of an e-invoice are aware of the requirements for its contents and how to verify an invoice.

Schematron validations apply to service providers and software houses that wish to validate the e-invoices they process.

Validation ensures that the invoices are generated correctly

An e-invoice validation verifies both the structure and contents of the invoices.

The invoice’s contents are verified using the Schematron validation. Among other things, the Schematron validation verifies the following details of an invoice: the correct form of the amount of compensation, date comparisons, conditionals and other formal requirements. The amounts must be calculated correctly, and the prices of the invoiced products must match, both with and without VAT.

The structure of e-invoices is verified using the Schema verification process. The structural verification ensures that the structure of the e-invoice corresponds to the format of the sent invoice.

Invoices are sent as messages from one system to another. In order for this to work, the following information must be correct and entered in the correct places: the company name, business ID, invoice number, invoice lines, VAT information and any other information. Please note that this verification is not dependent on how the information appears on the printed invoice, and instead aims to ensure that the computer is able to interpret the invoice correctly.

The Schematron validation complements the Schema verification. Together, they can be used to generate higher-quality invoice data.

Various financial management software and e-invoicing service providers in Finland verify the structure of any e-invoices sent through their service or software. At the moment (2021), Schematron content validation is used by e-invoicing service providers. In Finland, banks do not yet use this validation method.

Schematron validation is based on an EU standard

Schematron validation complies with the invoice data content requirements of the European Standard on eInvoicing (EN16931).

Finnish operators mainly use one of two e-invoice formats: Finvoice or TEAPPSXML.  The latest versions of both of these formats (versions 3.0) comply with the European standard.

Only invoices that comply with the European standard will be validated

Schematron validation is only performed for invoices that have been marked as EN 16931 compliant. Other invoices are simply passed through the system as they appear. In other words, invoices that have been marked as Finvoice or TEAPPSXML 3.0 invoices but not as EN invoices will pass through the system normally, just as they have until now.

The codes used in the EN 16931 standard are not verified. “Codes” refer to, for example, VAT codes.

Schematron validation at different stages of processing the invoice

An e-invoice can be validated at different stages of the transfer. The invoice can be validated when it is sent from a financial management program to the recipient, when an e-invoice service provider sends it to another provider to be passed forward, or when the invoice is received in a financial management program.

All Finnish service providers verify invoices when they send them forward along the chain of transmission.

If a verification tool has been added to the financial management software, the invoices are verified in the software. It is advisable for the sender to verify the invoice before sending it on its way.

Incorrect invoices

If the e-invoice in question does not fulfill the requirements of the Schematron validation, the invoice will not be forwarded, and the sending organisation will instead receive an error message. If the recipient notices any errors in the invoice, the invoice will usually undergo a separate correction process, where the information in the invoice is supplemented or corrected manually.  “In some cases, a faulty invoice is rejected by the recipient. The sender must then re-send the invoice with the correct information and formatting.

Striving to automate financial management

The main goal of the verification process is to meet the preconditions for automatic invoice processing. In this context, automatic financial management means that the computer verifies the invoices and only forwards those that do not contain any errors.

This would allow organisations to process most invoices automatically. Invoices that do not need any additional clarification could be approved as such. Currently, this work is done manually, invoice by invoice, making it a very time-consuming process By automating the invoice verification process, companies and public sector organisations are able to focus their resources on unclear or otherwise disputable invoices that require further clarification.

However, automatic financial management requires that the information in the invoices is presented in a computer-readable format, both structurally and with respect to the content. This, in turn, means that the invoices must be generated correctly. Automatic financial management can be utilised in both the private and public sector.

What does the sender have to do?

The sender should check whether their invoicing or financial management program is able to send and receive e-invoices which are in compliance with the European Standard on e-invoicing.

TIEKE has published a list of financial management software and their ability to process such invoices. You can use the list to check if your organisation’s financial management program is able to send and receive invoices generated in accordance with the standard. You can find the list in Finnish on our website.

Note that in order for N invoice to be processed correctly, the most important thing is checking that all details are entered correctly.

The Finnish e-invoicing legislation: rights and obligations

The so-called e-invoicing act (241/2019) entered into force on April 1, 2020. The law requires that all Finnish contracting entities (such as municipalities or government agencies) must be able to receive e-invoices that comply with the aforementioned European standard EN 16931. Similarly, companies now also have the right to request invoices in a format that complies with the EU standard.

Schematron validation has been developed in collaboration with the authorities

The Schematron validation process has been developed in cooperation with parties such as the Finnish State Treasury and the Finnish Tax Administration. The validation parametres have been approved by these authorities.

In the future, the validation process will be developed further based on the development proposals received from users and other parties. Correspondingly, if the relevant EU standard or its national application changes, the validation process will be altered accordingly.

Invoices to the State Treasury

As of April 1, 2021, the Finnish State Treasury, which handles invoices addressed to the state, has announced that it will only accept invoices that have passed the Schematron validation. Invoices that have not passed the Schematron validation will be rejected. In this case, an error message will be sent to the sending e-invoice operator or bank, who will have to generate a new invoice.