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Introduction to Switzerland QR Bill Invoice




Invoicing Journey in the EU and Germany

Big changes are affecting finance process all over the world, mostly regarding the shift from traditional to electronic invoicing processes. In Europe, all public contracting authorities and entities in the EU are obliged to accept and process electronic invoices.


Germany on the other hand, has gone a step further, requiring that not only public contracting authorities and entities but also suppliers to comply with the directive. From November 2020 onwards, federal contracting authorities and entities will use the XRechnung format, which is an electronic invoicing standard that has been fully accepted by the German government and has been generated in alignment with European Standard 16931, an electronic invoicing standard that the EU approved in 2017, according to storecove.com.

While invoice recipients and senders in Germany are preparing for XRechnung, it is good to have a look at what Switzerland are up to. With EU directives not applied there, Switzerland has found its own way of digitizing and automating invoicing process.


The Current Switzerland: Payment Slip Featured Invoices

Invoices sent in Switzerland are generally accompanied by payment slips. These slips contain the information necessary for paying the bill. The payment slips come in various forms: in orange and red, either from banks or from Post Finance. The two different forms are used as a payment slip to deposit a sum of money in Swiss francs into an account or transfer it from your own account. The payment slip enables simple invoicing and quick booking of payment transactions.


Using ESR & BESR, payment services in Switzerland can include a unique End2End reference number for each and every invoice and bill payment.​ The unique reference number facilitates tracking, allowing business partners and consumers alike to reconcile their open positions.​


Starting on June 30, 2020, payment slips will be replaced by QR codes containing payment information such as account holder, amount due, IBAN (or a special QR IBAN) and currency (both EUR and CHF will be possible).​

Switzerland QR Bill Payment

Switzerland SIX Bank Consortium released a new version of the ESR Payment Standard called “QR Bill”. The new QR Bill standard condensed the payment information from the BESR payment slip into a single QR Code to be printed on the A6 section of invoices. Beyond the ESR/RF reference ID and payment amount, the QR Code includes the payment instructions so that both bill and payment records could be generated and executed automatically.​


Swiss QR Bill Format, source: six-group.com


By September 2022, the “QR Bill” Payment format will become the only supported payment method with End2End references.​ Companies issuing invoices to Swiss business partners are encouraged to support the new format by September 2021 already. Keep in mind that the new invoice format will still be fully readable to the human eye and will not require the use of additional tools and only the payment information will be machine-readable. This gentle introduction suggests that the approach allows private end users to be integrated more easily.


Interested in finding articles like this? make sure to check out other helpful tips, tricks, and updates our blog.

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