The Netherlands rolls out e-Invoicing with PEPPOL

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SimplerInvoicing, the Dutch e-Invoicing community, is now connected to the open and secure PEPPOL network developed for public e-Procurement in Europe and is exchanging electronic invoices compliant with the PEPPOL requirements.

SimplerInvoicing is the initiative supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to promote the widespread adoption of e-Invoicing, with thirteen leading e-Invoicing and accounting software providers. After looking for ways to address the needs of SMEs and in particular, micro-enterprises, SimplerInvoicing selected the PEPPOL network and approach to interoperability for its low entry barriers, compared to other existing networks in the private sector.

In the piloting phase, which ended in October 2013, the Oxalis open source software was used to implement PEPPOL Access Points in order to connect to the network, and exchange standard-based e-Invoices, thus paving the way for a smooth national roll out in the coming months. The successful pilot implementation, carried out within very short time frames, demonstrates the flexibility and scalability of the PEPPOL architecture and the availability of resources in the market for implementing services and support.

The Dutch government involvement and support has been a critical factor to facilitate the connection of Simplerinvoicing to the PEPPOL community which builds on the investments of the European Commission and several European government agencies through the PEPPOL project. Governance of the PEPPOL community is managed by OpenPEPPOL AISBL and European government entities (PEPPOL Authorities) which ensure openness and a level playing field to all market participants, on an equal basis.

“OpenPEPPOL welcomes SimplerInvoicing, its stakeholders and the wider national community to be part of our open, secure and standard-based network. We see these developments in line with our mission and appreciate the focus on supporting SMEs access to a large network of public and private sector trading entities across Europe.” – states André Hoddevik, OpenPEPPOL Secretary General.

The service providers involved in the SimplerInvoicing pilot phase implemented and embedded PEPPOL-based specifications in their existing e-Business systems, exchanging electronic Invoices, Credit Notes and Receipt Confirmations with end-users. The PEPPOL network and specifications for electronic documents will be used initially for Business-to-Business and Business-to Government transactions.

With the upcoming EC Directive on e-Invoicing in public procurement, the Netherlands has positioned itself as a country already aligned with EU-wide standards, leveraging on investments made by the OpenPEPPOL community and its innovative technology, adopted in several other countries in Europe. For example, Norway, Sweden and Austria already included the use of PEPPOL network and specifications in their national recommendations and more countries are expanding its usage at local and national level.

While the main focus of OpenPEPPOL is to ensure interoperability in public procurement processes, market forces are driving the re-use of the network and its standards-based electronic documents also in the private sector, proving that public sector leadership in the area of standardisation is necessary to achieve wider benefits and efficiencies.