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Reliable Audit Trail

published 15/02/2022

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What is the Reliable Audit Trail (Piste d’Audit Fiable) ?

The PAF is one of the three dematerialization processes accepted by the legislator and which is specific to France.  The Reliable Audit Trail is an internal documentation that explains and proves the invoicing process.

In all cases, the starting point of the reliable audit trail must correspond to the starting point of the billing process.

The audit trail must allow:

  • Reconstruct, in chronological order, the entire invoicing process
  • Ensure that the invoice issued or received reflects the transaction that took place
  • To justify any operation by a piece.

The audit trail may consist of documents drawn up by the company itself (quotation, purchase order) or by third parties (account statements).

The audit trail must correspond to the purchases/services that took place. For example, the purchase order must correspond to an order really

It is considered reliable when the administration can establish the link between the supporting documents  and the operations carried out.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”1882″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” css=”.vc_custom_1644946465606{padding-top: 150px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”1884″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” css=”.vc_custom_1644946682816{padding-top: 150px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;padding-bottom: 30px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column parallax=”content-moving” width=”1/2″ offset=”vc_col-lg-offset-0″ css=”.vc_custom_1641466122628{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Mandatory documents and controls

Controls must be documented, i.e. described, presented and explained by the company. The objective of the documentation is to show that the controls put in place by the company are effective and real, and to allow the administration to easily understand them during an inspection.

The document(s) must detail the actors of the controls as well as their respective tasks (who controls the documents and data, when and according to what modalities?).

These control documents must be developed at implementation of the audit trail and must trace all steps in the billing process.

The following documents must be submitted to the administration:

  1. Mapping of IT applications involved in the billing process and related security clearances.
  2. The structures of the files used and how they are fed; Ex how the PDF of the invoice was created, via an Excel, ERP, accounting software?
  3. The data coding tables and settings used; This is the database and how it is fed, manually or automatically.
  4. The methods of archiving the data; Electronic safe internally or externally.
  5. The flow of information and the methods of exchange and validation of information with third parties; How to communicate with your partner about the status of the invoice, paid, in error…
  6. The methods of injecting the information into the accounting software and the controls carried out to ensure their consistency (periodicity, extent and nature);
  7. The list of anomalies and error correction processes.

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Penalities ?

If the PAF is incorrect, not up-to-date, or non-existent, which is the case in many companies, invoices are no longer considered as supporting documents for the operations carried out. This means that:

  • The VAT invoiced by the issuer is due.
  • The deduction of the tax may be called into question.

(NB: The non-existence or insufficiency of the controls put in place by the issuer does not necessarily entail the questioning of the validity of the invoices by the receiver.)

In theory and in the short term, this solution seems simpler than EDI or electronic signature, but it is tedious in the long term because it must be continuously kept up to date.  (Evolution of software package, change of personal, accounting and the manual actions that result).

Iway Services supports you in all stages of Electronic Invoicing, whatever the format.

   Contact us and, thanks to our experts, we will bring you the right answers and solutions.

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