BUSINESS

State intends to introduce online invoicing for all its expenditure

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

Public spending is set to come under closer scrutiny as the Finance Ministry is making plans for all state expenditure to be carried out and screened online.

There will be electronic invoices for all public expenditure, with the aim being optimum control, so that the state knows exactly what is in its inventories, such as at hospitals, universities, and in terms of the equipment of all general government entities.

Sources say the government will first ask all state entities, including ministries, to draft full lists of their equipment (from office furniture to printer paper), their ongoing procurement contracts and orders in place, before the online invoicing can begin. This means that the State General Accounting Office will have a detailed picture of all state entities and corporations and the stock in their inventories. Each purchase or service contract will then bear a unique code number, for the monitoring and classification of all procurements by the Finance Ministry.

Online invoicing will not only concern the primary transaction documents, but also all documents issued between two trading partners, such as offers, orders, pay notices etc.

A ministry official says that what is important at this stage is for the state to have central awareness of all spending by its entities, as well as the stock in inventories. The second stage will involve an attempt to save resources up into the billions of euros in a plan that could shrink public spending considerably.

After the completion of online invoicing, the ministry will consider the creation of a central inventory for the entire state sector. This would require all general government entities to address the central inventory for their stationery acquisitions. What has not yet been decided is how the state will deal with the tenders that each entity conducts separately.

The Independent Authority for Public Revenue will also begin applying online invoicing within next year: More than a million freelancers, self-employed professionals and corporations will issue their invoices electronically, and update their tax books online too. This will allow the tax authorities to have real-time knowledge of each company or professional’s turnover.

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