How to ensure a correct reprint of a tax-invoice from your SAP system?

 Posted by Roger Lindelauf

 Wednesday 23 October 2013

Generating a paper sales-invoice from SAP can be achieved through various programs such as Smartforms, Jetforms, SAP script etc. In simple terms, these programs are nothing more than reports that generate an output document.  In this case, a legal document for VAT purposes.
No matter which functionality your company is using, the data printed on the invoice will be sourced from the data stored in your SAP system.

The issue:

Most of this data however is not static.
Master data such as the name, address and VAT registration number of your customer (i.e. your legal partner for VAT purposes) can often change. The name of your selling entity can change, tax percentages can change, almost everything can change. 
Now assume your tax authority asks you to represent a paper invoice which was created 3 years ago: they would very much appreciate if that copy invoice is presented with exactly the same facts as the original that you issued to your customer. 
If you saved a paper copy of the invoice and you can show this to the tax authorities, then you won’t have any issues. But most large companies don’t store paper copies of their invoices. So you will most likely need to go into SAP and re-print the invoice. If the master data has since changed, then the copy invoice will not match the original. Your tax inspector won’t be happy and neither will you.

The cause:

Most master data in SAP does not contain a time stamp. It basically is what it is. Each time master data changes, you lose the ability to retrieve the old master data. This issue has existed since SAP launched its SD module but surprisingly, many companies have still not taken action to prevent the possible re-printing of invoices with incorrect facts.

The solution:

Surprisingly, this is quite simple to resolve.
Customize the output routine that creates the invoice, and define it to create a PDF copy of the invoice as well. Once the PDF copy is produced and saved, the invoice can always be reprinted in the exact same format, using the exact same data as was used when issuing the original invoice. One small setting in the customizing to solve a potential legal nightmare.

To find out if you are affected:

  1. Check with your SAP functional consultant how reprints of invoices are  customized in your SAP system
  2. If you cannot ensure an exact copy of the original invoice due to your current settings or process, create a change-request for your IT department and ask them to switch on the option of creating a PDF of the original invoice  

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