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Universal Business Language (UBL)

A document available in an XML file format.

Universal Business Language (UBL) is a standard format developed by an OASIS Technical Committee in conjunction with other industry players as a solution to simplify invoicing processing.


What is Universal Business Language?

Universal Business Language (UBL) is a standard format developed by an OASIS Technical Committee in conjunction with other industry players as a solution to simplify invoicing processing.

More specifically, a UBL file is a document available in an XML file format.

Further, the XML file comes with all the info you’d find in a typical PDF invoice, but in an organized, standard format.

With this file, you can send invoice data from one accounting system to another automatically. In essence, this means that trading partners can send and receive invoices from anywhere.

And, because tools that support UBL can import crucial billing info such as date, VAT, and date automatically, you’ll never have to retype invoices and receipts.

The History of UBL

Universal Business Language is as a result of 6+ years of creation involving a collection of industry data standards organization.

The current UBL format (UBL 2.1) is the seventh generation of XML-based electronic business document standards. It offers up to sixty-one documents covering all the essential stages of business from presale to ordering, delivery, invoicing, and payment.

The Universal Business Language version 2.1 got approved in 2013 and was officially acknowledged for referencing in the tenders from public organizations in 2014.

UBL 2.1 got the ISO/IEC 19845:2015 approval in 2015, thereby qualifying as an international standard used by governmental organizations and businesses worldwide.

UBL 2.2

UBL 2.2 is a minor upgrade of the UBL family. Most notably, it improves the functionality of UBL 2.1 by increasing the number of business documents from sixty-five to eighty-one.

These include documents for eTendering, agreements, and business directories.

The development of UBL 2.3 is underway.

How Does UBL Work?

As stated, a UBL file is an actual XML document. Put differently, the image of the Universal Business Language invoice is in the form of an XML file, but the text elements and labels are in XML code.

The coding allows computer programs to quickly identify each part of the invoice and use it in the right way.

What are the Benefits of UBL Invoices?

Sending and receiving UBL invoices comes with a host of benefits as outlined below;

  • There’s no manual work when processing invoices. Your accounting software imports data automatically from the XML file.
  • There’s zero human error. Remember, a significant 3.6 percent of manually typed invoices include an error caused by data entry leading to late payments.
  • Faster payments
  • It is cheaper to process the invoices, thereby saving money and time.
  • Higher customer satisfaction since your trading partners can easily process your invoices.

What Do You Need to Use UBL Invoices?

As a Receiver

You need to have an accounting system or software that supports UBL to receive a universal business language invoice.

As a Sender

To send a UBL invoice, you must use a program that allows you to create a UBL file. Most European accounting packages come with this functionality, so this should be the least of your worries.

What if you can’t create the invoice in your accounting system? Well, you hire an invoicing company to help you design one.

Is Sending or Receiving UBL Invoices Safe?

Sure, you can send or receive your invoices as email attachments. But, this practice isn’t 100 percent safe. In fact, you’ll be potentially exposing your company’s data to cybercriminals. Besides, most of your trading partners, including governmental bodies, may demand fool-proof delivery of invoices.

You can bypass the security challenges presented by emails by sending and receiving your invoices electronically via the Peppol Network.

Peppol allows you to exchange electronic documents through a super-safe and secure network. And the beauty of it is that you can send and receive e-invoices from anywhere on the planet.

Click here to learn more about Peppol and how you can connect to the network.

Send and Receive UBL Invoices with Unimaze

Unimaze advocates for accounting automation. We are firm believers that you shouldn’t be processing your invoices manually in this day and age. Unimaze boasts a scan and recognition system that can convert PDF invoices into electronic invoices to eliminate any manual process in the way you send and receive invoices or other business documents.

What’s more?

We work hand in hand with UBL experts to ensure that you get the support you need if you encounter problems when transacting.

And because we’re a certified Peppol Access Point provider, you can bet that your electronic invoices are 100 percent secure. In short, we make running your business account smooth and stress-free.

Do you want to give Universal Business Language invoices a try? Get in touch with us today, and one of our dedicated representatives will cater to your needs.

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