Companies reduce expenses with the use of electronic invoices


Source: Legiscenter, 23/08/2007

Each year, the drugstore chain Drogasil, from São Paulo, issues 1,35 million invoices. Of these, 800 thousand refer only to the transfer of products from one branch to another of the company. Just to keep the latter, the company allocates a space of about ten thousand square meters - a third of the total size of the company's headquarters in the city of São Paulo. The area is equivalent to the size of an official football field, such as that of Maracanã. “It's insane”, says Ricardo Azevedo, Drogasil's financial director. Soon, the company will be able to use the site for purposes other than the keeping of tax documents, which according to the country's tax legislation must be done for five years. Drogasil is one of 44 companies from all over the country that joined the Electronic Invoice - one of the three pillars of the Public Digital Bookkeeping System (Sped), created to computerize and interconnect the collection of taxes in the country.

Created through a protocol signed between the Federal Revenue, the National Council for Farm Policy (Confaz) - which brings together the State Finance Departments - and 19 companies, Sped is not yet mandatory and, therefore, depends on the adhesion of both States and companies. The system, inspired by international experiences such as that of Chile, which implemented its electronic invoice four years ago and today has the participation of 10% of large companies in the country, comprises a tripod of actions - the Electronic Invoice , Sped Contábil and Sped Fiscal. The latter will become mandatory as of January 1 of next year and will require all companies that contribute to IPI and ICMS to deliver their tax books electronically - as is already the case with corporate income tax returns. Sped Contábil has no forecast date for it to become mandatory and will require all other taxpayers - such as service providers, for example - to deliver their digitized accounting books.

In the case of the Electronic Invoice, the obligation becomes effective on April 1 of next year, but only for the fuel and cigarette sectors. As of this date, all transactions for the purchase and sale of goods and services made by a cigarette industry, for example, will have to issue electronic invoices. The system allows the replacement of all traditional paper notes with digital notes generated in a system that automatically informs the tax authorities of each sale of goods or services on which IPI or ICMS is levied. The system generates only one sheet of paper - the Electronic Invoice Auxiliary Document (Danfe), used only for products that need to be transported from one location to another. The system for sending electronic notes from companies to the Federal Revenue Service, and their subsequent return for the issuance of Danfe, is capable of generating 100 notes every 1,5 minutes. According to Marcelo Fisch, general inspection coordinator of the Federal Revenue, soon the demand will also be made to other sectors - the next targets are the automobile, medicine and beverage industry - and the idea is that, in a maximum of three years , to everyone else.

So far, the Electronic Invoice is already in operation in five states of the country - Bahia, Goiás, Maranhão, Rio Grande do Sul and São Paulo. Another 17 states have already joined Sped, but are still in the study phase for its implementation. The states of Acre, Amapá, Roraima, Piauí and Mato Grosso do Sul have not yet signed the protocol, which are adapting their infrastructure to the project. In the case of companies, adhesion is still restricted and the companies that have joined are still in the testing phase - many of them are gradually implementing the Electronic Invoice, only for internal transfers of goods, for example.

This is the case of Drogasil, which for now issues virtual notes only in cases of goods transfer - about 5 have been issued so far. The company, which has the goal of issuing only electronic notes by the middle of next year, guarantees that the economy goes beyond the issue of space. The director Ricardo Azevedo says that R $ 200 thousand will be saved annually with the purchase of paper. “The investment for adapting to the Electronic Invoice must be recovered smoothly in one year”, he says.

One of the few companies in the country that only issues invoices electronically is Eurofarma. The company started issuing virtual notes in parallel to paper notes - therefore not legally valid - in September last year and only for the laboratory sector. In November, Eurofarma Laboratórios, which represents 60% of the group, started to issue only virtual notes. And, in May of this year, it was fully integrated into the system and today it issues its 30 monthly bills electronically. According to Tacyana Salomão, CIO (Chief Information Officer) of the company, with the new system, Eurofarma has been achieving savings of 60% in costs with tax documents, including expenses with paper and rent previously paid to a guard company documentary to archive the documents.

Despite the cost savings and advantages for companies, the results of the Revenue with the Electronic Invoice are below expectations. When the project was made official in August 2005, the forecast was that by the end of this year, 100 million virtual banknotes would be issued per month. But since September last year, when the first virtual banknote was issued in the country until yesterday, the system has generated just over 1,1 million banknotes in total. In other words, in almost a year of operation, the result is one hundred times less than expected. One of the reasons for the result below the expected is the lack of interest of companies in adhering to the electronic note. Marcelo Fisch, of the Federal Revenue Service, says that they are more concerned today in adapting to Sped Fiscal, since the mandatory start in January.

But, according to Wilton Boldrini, president of the consulting firm Alliance, which works to help companies adapt to the new system, this scenario should change soon. “The situation is irreversible”, he says. According to him, companies that have already joined the system are a few steps ahead of their competitors. The executive manager of Aché's shared services center, Sidinei Righini, agrees. “The Electronic Invoice generates fair competition and is not financially relevant for a large company”, he says. According to him, the company has set its suitability for Sped Fiscal as a priority, but one thousand out of the seven thousand invoices issued by the company each month are already generated by the virtual environment.

The adaptation to the Electronic Invoice is also gradual at Toyota. Of the 30 monthly bills, about 2007 are electronic - all of which refer to transfers of cars from factories to dealerships. The goal is to reach the totality of documents by the end of 1. Souza Cruz, which needs to adapt to the system by April 600, issues XNUMX electronic notes per month. It is still little compared to the approximately XNUMX thousand monthly invoices issued by the company. It is, however, the only one that joined the Electronic Invoice in the five States that have already implemented the system in the country. "Until now, we have only had benefits," says Josefino Borges, manager of taxes in the tobacco industry.