What Is The Difference Between Substitutive Conservation And Electronic Archiving?

We talked about the importance and potential of using software for digital document management within the company and how electronic invoicing has paved the way towards totally digital processes.

Electronic invoices, as we already know, must be archived and kept following the law. Are there any differences between electronic storage and electronic archiving? The answer is yes.

The two terms are sometimes used as a synonym, but there are differences to take the correct path towards digital document management of your company’s documents.

What is Electronic Archiving?

This activity ensures that you store a document on digital media. A process similar to archiving many (or all) know is the traditional paper; what changes is the type of support.

What Is Electronic Invoice Substitution?

Thanks to the introduction of electronic invoicing, companies are required to replace electronic invoices.

Substitutive storage is a set of IT procedures regulated by law that guarantees the integrity and validity of the documents issued over time to archive and keep them digitally.

The retention procedure to be considered compliant must ensure that the electronic documents stored have and comply with the following requirements:

  • The authenticity of origin, integrity of content, specific electronic date, and legibility of documents, thus guaranteeing the maintenance of legal certainty of documents for the entire retention period;
  • Optimization of the availability and display of documents;
  • Availability for the entire mandatory retention period and operational continuity;
  • Delegation of activities to the Head of Conservation;
  • Conservators accredited by AgID for the guarantee of the highest level of quality, reliability, and safety in the delivery of the conservation process;
  • Secure web access;
  • Respect for privacy legislation;
  • Maximum security in the data center and throughout the conservation process;
  • Place of conservation in the national territory if it is an Accredited Conservator.

From a technical point of view, to guarantee these requirements, the invoices must comply with the following steps to be correctly stored:

  • XML file:  the electronic invoice is a document that will be produced by the software, such as the MagiaEXP ERP, which will create the structured data flow (in XML format) with the same information contents as the classic paper invoice;
  • Digital signature:  must digitally sign the invoice file to satisfy the sender’s authenticity characteristics and the Integrity of the content;
  • Indexing: Each file must be indexed in its most important data (dates, numbers, VAT numbers, customer codes, products, etc.) to allow the quick search of information in subsequent moments;
  • Storage lot:  a lot must be created that contains all the invoices for a given period, ordered chronologically and by tax period;
  • Archiving conservation batches:  for each batch, the Conservation Manager must affix the time stamp and digital signature to guarantee authenticity and Integrity. The batch is now ready to be archived.

We want to remind you that the criteria for correct document conservation must guarantee Integrity and authenticity and access and readability to the IT documents subject to conservation.

It should also be specified that there is a further distinction between digital preservation and substitutive preservation.

With the term ” digital ” we mean all the processes that make it possible to keep the digital document following the law.

Instead, with the term ” replacement, “we mean transforming a document from paper to digital form and its conservation following the law.

The substitutive conservation tools that are dedicated to the digitization and authentication of documents are required (scanner, electronic signature).

Can I keep only electronic invoices or other documents as well?

The answer is still YES; you can also keep other documents.

The documents are always administrative, such as financial statements, F23 and F24, journal, inventory book, beneficial register for VAT purposes, asset or income records, or warehouse records.

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