Document Dynamics

The Equisys blog

When trust is just not enough

Greg Cole

Recent legislation has tried to simplify the complex area of electronic invoicing for UK based companies trading internationally. EU Council Directive 2010/45/EU was developed in order to simplify invoicing rules and remove barriers by establishing equality between paper and electronic invoices. It came into force this year in recognition of the increased use of electronic invoicing and to help combat fraud.

However, some tax authorities in EU member states still require electronic invoices to be sent with a digital signature in order to legally claim VAT and remain compliant; therefore digital signatures have become critical in ensuring you can take advantage of your international trade capabilities.

Signatures and certificates


Digital signatures are used to demonstrate the integrity, origin and authenticity of a digital document or message. The signature allows the recipient to be sure that the document was created by a known sender such that the sender cannot deny having sent the message, providing authenticity, non-repudiation and proof of integrity.

Digital certificates are issued by commercial certificate authorities (CAs) who perform background checks and verify you are who you say you are. These checks normally take a couple of days. Your digital certificate is then used alongside an internet time stamp server to digitally sign a document with an embedded time stamp, proving to the recipient that the document originated from you and has not been tampered with since you created it.

It’s about choice

Rather than restricting certificates to a single CA we wanted to give you the flexibility to fit in with your existing certificate arrangements or to choose another supplier. The only requirement is the certificate’s key usage must have a digital signature in the usage list. You can purchase a certificate per user or one for your organisation that can be used by multiple individuals.

How Zetadocs helps

The Zetadocs Client, part of our Electronic invoicing solution, uses your digital certificate to digitally sign the PDF files it emails. It’s all really simple to setup and configure following the easy steps in this article.

So, in summary, digital signatures help protect against fraud by ensuring the integrity, origin and authenticity of your electronic invoices. Zetadocs uses digital certificate to help you take full advantage of international trade opportunities by ensuring you are complying with the latest legislation.

You can also watch a video on our Electronic invoicing solution here.

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