E-invoicing is becoming a mandate throughout Europe for all companies doing business with the public sector. The requirement is that companies need to be able to generate and send electronic invoices.
While supporting the e-invoicing use case, PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line) allows companies to exchange business documents (orders, dispatch advice, etc.) with more than 550,000 public and private entities through a single and secure channel. Most public organizations throughout Europe are connected to PEPPOL and some of them, such as the NHS (United Kingdom National Health Service) and the SSN in Italy (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale), mandate its use.
What exactly is PEPPOL?
Backed by the European Commission, the PEPPOL project was initiated in 2008 with the aim to standardize and simplify electronic procurement within Europe. Nearly 15 years later, this framework for the secure cross-border exchange of electronic documents is a reality. PEPPOL is used in more than 35 countries and has been adopted by non-European countries:
- Australia adopted the PEPPOL standard for the exchange of invoices in an electronic format, and as of July 1st, 2022 all Australian agencies must use e-Invoicing following the PEPPOL standard
- India gained its first Peppol access point this summer
- In 2021, a new PEPPOL authority was established in Japan
- PEPPOL is used in other countries such as Singapore, Canada, and the U.S. and continues to expand.
How does PEPPOL work?
With PEPPOL, all you need to know to connect to your buyers or suppliers is their PEPPOL unique identifier, the so-called PEPPOL ID.
PEPPOL is based on three major pillars:
- The network
- The business document specifications: BIS (Business Interoperability Specifications)
- The legal framework that defines the network governance
The PEPPOL network is based on a four-corner model where each participant connects to the network through a certified PEPPOL Access Point which routes messages to other access points. This is illustrated in the diagram below.
The BIS standard format defines common business messages such as catalogs, order, dispatch advice, and invoices.
Finally, the legal framework defines roles and responsibilities of the major stakeholders (Access Points, participants, local authorities, etc.). With that legal framework comes the governance of the PEPPOL network: OpenPEPPOL — a not-for-profit organization, which ensures that the PEPPOL network continues to grow in an open, accessible, and compliant manner — and local authorities which govern PEPPOL’s adoption at a national level.
How e-invoicing fits into the B2B integration conversation
The exchange of data has always been a critical element of B2B operations — and in an increasingly digital world, it’s only natural that the forum for exchange has also evolved. In an age of convenience, data exchange needs to happen faster than ever before, with an increasing number of documents to manage. All the while, these exchanges need to happen in a secure manner, with visibility provided at every stage of the transaction.
E-invoicing is an integral part of this conversation. While mandated in some countries, the incentive for using this form of electronic billing in B2B operations extends beyond regulatory requirements. Invoice processing costs and times can be greatly reduced, while the percentages of properly formatted invoices and on-time payments increase.
While the incentives of e-invoicing are clear, its adoption is not without its complexities. If a business chooses to set up their own PEPPOL Access Point, they have to deal with far more than just registering for accreditation; they have to manage the development, maintenance, and hosting of the access point. This requires a thorough understanding of the PEPPOL infrastructure and operations, various due diligence checks, and staying up to date on any changes in requirements per the PEPPOL authority.
The better solution is working with a cloud-based PEPPOL Access Point provider. Not only will you have the means to get up and running faster via an existing infrastructure, but you’ll avoid the time and frustration of having to manage ever-changing regulatory and technical requirements. With the Axway PEPPOL Access Point, you get all these benefits — and more.
The Axway PEPPOL Access Point
By connecting to the Axway PEPPOL Access Point, companies can simplify e-invoicing while streamlining their connections to government agencies across Europe.
The Axway PEPPOL Access Point:
- Is a certified PEPPOL Access Point to reach 550,000 public and private sector entities in more than 35 countries through the same connection
- Is a secure and easy way to connect to PEPPOL
- Provides you the ability to get full transparency over your flows
- Can be used in a hybrid architecture with a B2B integration solution on-premises or in the cloud
- Has advanced translation capabilities to process, validate, and map from and to PEPPOL formats
You don’t need to change where you run your existing B2B Integration platform – it can be on-premises, in the cloud or a hybrid architecture. With the Axway PEPPOL Access Point, you’ll have a cloud service that is ready to connect, regardless of your architecture.
Learn more about the Axway PEPPOL Access Point.