Archive for Adoption

SEPA Direct Debit pilot scheme launched with Austria’s BAWAG Bank

December 10, 2008  |  Adoption

One of Austria’s leading retail banks, BAWAG, is taking part in a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Direct Debit (DD) pilot, scheme operated by the payments specialist VocaLink.

The bank will benefit from a broad range of services, prior to the launch of SEPA DD payments in November 2009, including a payments capture process which removes the need for unnecessary intervention by directly recording clients’ payments. It is hoped the pilot, introduced in Q1 2009, will assist migration and cut infrastructure and development costs.

A management module that can centralise critical mandate information on behalf of the bank and its clients is a key component of the installation. The pilot is intended to ease the migration towards a SEPA-compliant infrastructure.

Commenting on the pilot, Joseph Laughlin, a member of the management board at BAWAG, said: “The initiative will demonstrate to our corporate customers that the bank is ahead of the market. The value-added services, such as payments capture, validation, mandate management and exceptions management, will make a real impact with our customers.

Source: fstech.co.uk

French banks down tools on EU-wide payment project

December 2, 2008  |  Adoption

French banks have suspended the launch of new pan-European payment services due to confusion over tariffs in the latest setback for a key EU project to improve consumer choice and boost growth.

The European Union has plans for a single euro payments system or SEPA to give its 495 million consumers cheap payments of bills and purchases in euros from a single bank account. The move is designed to encourage cross-border competition and spur the creation of jobs and growth, the EU’s executive European Commission has said.

The project requires the bloc’s 8,000 banks to invest billions of euros changing their systems to comply with common SEPA standards on credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards. SEPA-compliant credit transfers were launched in January by banks across the EU but the French Banking Federation (FBF) said on Thursday its members have suspended work pending clarification from European authorities on tariffs, in particular charging for services that banks supply to each other, it said in a statement.

‘As long as these rules are not clarified, the French banks, like many European banks, cannot start the work on the timetable because like all businesses, banks need to know their economic and legal risks,’ the statement said.

Banks across the EU are worrying how the new services would be paid for after last December when the Commission said MasterCard’s interchange fee on its cross-border credit cards and Maestro direct debit cards violated EU competition rules.

The interchange fee is charged to retailers for processing a card payment but retailers have dubbed it a tax on consumers. MasterCard is appealing the decision, a process that will take months but the November 2009 deadline for a full switch to SEPA products in Europe is looming.

The Commission and the European Central Bank has said banks could use an interchange fee on direct debits but only for an ‘interim period’ and if it was justified — a move that banks say has ‘destabilised’ their planned SEPA business models.

Source: www.reuters.com

Swift set for greater involvement in e-invoicing

December 2, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

 

Financial messaging network Swift is consulting with its membership about the potential provision of an interbank e-invoicing exchange network and the creation of a banking industry wide standard.
In a survey of the top 50 MT 103 banks, Swift found that 28 of the 29 banks that responded already offer or plan to offer B2B e-invoicing services.

In the corporate market, banks see potential for generating additional revenue by integrating e-invoicing with existing cash management, supply chain and financing services.

However, in the absence of widely accepted standards. many see their projects as long-range efforts, with an average estimated five year payback in terms of return on investment.

Swift says its potential involvement in the market was welcomed by approximately three-quarters of the banks surveyed.

The Euro Banking Association and an EU Commission Expert group are currently researching the market for e-invoicing and the potential for wider banking industry involvement.

Swift says it will await the findings of both these efforts before setting up its own Ad Hoc advisory group. This would seek to set out and test a business case for an interoperable e-invoicing platform, and identify the key functionality and the role of Swift and other parties in the provision of this capability.

Source: www.finextra.com  

SEPA and e-Invoicing: ECB progress report 2008

November 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

In the sixth progress report on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), published this week, the Governing Council of the ECB welcomed the evident progress made on this project, but emphasised that work urgently remains to be done to ensure the success of SEPA. The sixth progress report also contains a list of “Ten milestones for SEPA implementation and migration”.

Read the sixth SEPA progress report of the European Central Bank below:

There have been many new developments since the publication of the fifth progress report in July 2007. The successful launch of SEPA in January 2008 was a major achievement. With the introduction of the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) on 28 January 2008, the first benefits of SEPA have materialised for banks and, more importantly, for the end-users of payment services. National SEPA implementation and migration plans have been drafted and published. Most automated clearing houses that were processing credit transfers in euro are now able to process SCTs. In January 2008, SEPA was also started for card payments, but more effort is needed in this area if the goals of the SEPA project are to be achieved, for example the emergence of at least one additional European card scheme.

Preparations for the third type of payment instrument, SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), have continued over the past year, resulting in the adoption of the Rulebooks. The launch of the SDD is scheduled for 1 November 2009. Nevertheless, the launch of this important SEPA instrument needs to be accompanied by clarification between the banking sector and the relevant competition authorities with regard to the possible interbank pricing models. This issue needs to be resolved urgently. Finally, considerable progress has been made in the fields of e-payments and mobile payments.

The areas which require most attention now are: a) the timely launch of the SEPA Direct Debit on 1 November 2009; b) the emergence of an additional European card scheme; and c) measures to stimulate migration to SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit, including the setting of a realistic, but ambitious end-date for national credit transfers and direct debits.

The key messages of this report, which should be followed up by the market to ensure the success of SEPA, are as follows:

1. Banks need to ensure more communication, clear product offerings and the delivery of a consistent customer experience in order to stimulate the uptake of SEPA Credit Transfer by all customers, with public administrations, in particular, becoming early adopters.

2. The remaining obstacles to a timely launch of SEPA Direct Debit should be overcome. To move forward, solutions must be found urgently, e.g. by providing clarity on the launch date, ensuring the continued validity of existing mandates, meeting customer requirements, increasing communication efforts and closing the debate on the multilateral interchange fee.

3. SEPA needs to enable end-to-end straight-through-processing (whereby payments are processed smoothly  nd without manual intervention) and to move beyond core and basic products by embracing innovative products and services, such as m-payments, e-payments, e-invoicing, etc.

4. The setting of a realistic, but ambitious end-date for the migration to SCT and SDD is a necessary step in order to reap the benefits of SEPA early.

5. A more ambitious approach needs to be taken towards the SEPA for Cards and supporting market initiatives to create a European card scheme.

6. The European payment industry should ensure that it has adequate influence over the SEPA cards standards, which should preferably be non-proprietary standards – The EPC is to advance the SEPA cards standardisation programme.

7. Security is the basis for trust in SEPA payments, and all stakeholders need to continue and even intensify their efforts.

8. Infrastructures are leading by example, but the remaining restrictions on interoperability should be removed.

9. Good governance of the SEPA project requires changes to the EPC’s mandate and organisation. One short-term step would be to strengthen the EPC’s Secretariat so that it can adequately support the EPC in its many tasks. In the medium to longer term, more substantial changes are needed to improve the EPC’s effectiveness, transparency and accountability.

10. Clarity and certainty with regard to the SEPA tasks: the SEPA implementation and migration milestones provide a list of concrete tasks that the Eurosystem expects to be fulfilled to ensure the success of the SEPA project.

The addressees of the report are not only the banks and future payment institutions, but all relevant stakeholders, such as corporates, public administrations, merchants and consumers.

The report is available in other official Community languages in due course.

Source: European Central Bank

Intelligent PDF: removing barriers?

Last week, Adobe presented its intelligent PDF eInvoicing solution in a white paper. Adobe proposes an end-to-end approach in which the e-invoice is interpretable by both humans and computer systems. The Adobe approach is based on the eInvoicing processes as described by the CEN/ISSS Workshop on Compliance of e-Invoices and is expected to be compliant with EU and respective national VAT regulations.

The importance of the CEN/ISSS Workshop deliverables
The Adobe whitepaper shows once again the importance of the deliverables of the CEN/ISSS Workshop deliverables. At this point the Workshop is in its second phase, having delivered at least one groundbreaking deliverable: the Draft Good Practice Guidelines. These guidelines are available here, here and soon on www.cenfiscalesguidelines.com 
Some groups with other interests on e-invoicing do not quite agree with these Guidelines. But we arguably can not ignore the fact that this is a serious attempt to remove one of the major barriers on e-invoicing: uncertainty on e-invoicing.

Intelligent PDF: removing barriers?
The intelligent PDF approach presented by Adobe could also serve as a mean to remove a barrier to e-invoicing: adoption in a B2B environment.

E-invoicing is acknowledged to be an unstoppable innovation across and outside Europe. Taking a leap in the future, full scale e-invoicing would mean that the vast majority of organisation is not only sending e-invoices, but also –and this very important– receiving e-invoicing.

One of the results from a major survey conducted by e-business watch showed that most of the companies prefer to receive e-invoices per e-mail in PDF. This is not the answer that some of the BSP would like to hear. But it clearly shows that receivers are in need of control over the inbound e-invoice.

The intelligent PDF approach of Adobe does just that. It combines the humanly interpretable PDF with a for computer systems readable XML format. So now we can receive and read the PDF invoice and having established the perception of control over the e-invoice, we can now extract and import the XML data into our financial software.

This enables e-invoicing between business partners regardless of size, sector, business processes and accounting software. If in fact the intelligent PDF approach guarantees compliance with the respective national VAT legislation, it would also be usable in cross border e-invoicing.

Intelligence in authenticity and integrity?
Interestingly enough, the Adobe intelligent PDF whitepaper mentions the possibility to sign the PDF document. So the PDF document is the format that is being used for formal validation. The invoice’s XML data can be submitted for material validation against external documentation such as supplier contracts. E-invoices archived in PDF/A guarantee the fidelity of the invoice, while the use of XML ensures that invoice data can be transformed to any format required by auditing software.

Maybe it is also interesting to use the XML data for formal validation. This would implicate that not only the PDF document is signed, but also the XML file, for instance with XADES or XMLDSIG. Then, the XML feed can also be used for formal validation even when archived. Additionally it would be very interesting for SME’s to use the PDF document for material validation.

So, the Adobe intelligent PDF is more intelligent compared to the plain old PDF docyument. We can expect it to have an impact on removing the barrier of awareness, including the aspect of adoption by have the perception of being in control. And maybe the approach can be made even more intelligent by incorporating XML signing. This would be very interesting because then it would not matter which document is being used for formal validation: PDF or XML, or both. Creating ease of use (which will be explained in the next Featured Article).

Read the Adobe white paper here:

European Commission: webpage on e-invoicing

November 25, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

At the start of 2008, the European Commission has set up an Expert Group on the subject of electronic invoicing. The thirty members of the Expert Group should represent all key stakeholders concerning e-Invoicing. The members shall be appointed by the Commission from specialists with competence in the area of e-Invoicing on the basis of applications from industry associations, public sector bodies and individuals representing the interests of all or part of public sector, enterprises and ICT, consumers, financial service providers and standardisation organisations in the field of e-Invoicing.
 
It is expected that an interim report will be published early 2009, describing the proceedings on the work of the expert group up to now and presenting the aims to achieve in 2009 in areas of legal barriers, business requirements and network and standards. 
  
More information on the subject e-invoicing and related such as the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and the intentions and ambitions on the European scale, please visit the website of the European Commission concerning e-invoicing.

First release of OASIS UBL 2.0 IDD begins public review

November 25, 2008  |  Adoption

The first set of UBL 2.0 data dictionary translations is now out for public review. The first set of UBL 2.0 data dictionary can be downloaded from http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/idd/UBL-2.0-idd.zip.
 
Created by OASIS UBL localization subcommittees (LSCs) to aid in global UBL deployment, this package provides translations of the 1900+ standard UBL business term definitions into Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
 
The International Data Dictionary (IDD) provides speakers of those languages with a key to the meanings of the standardized XML tags used in UBL 2.0 business documents. The translations are provided as ODF and Excel files using the same spreadsheet format as the data models in the OASIS UBL 2.0 Standard, as recently updated: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/os-UBL-2.0-update/mod/.
 
Subsequent releases of the IDD will include corrections based on input from the international user community and translations into other languages as they become available. Persons wishing to start a UBL localization subcommittee should contact the IDD editor and chair of the UBL TC, Jon Bosak (bosak@ibiblio.org).

Further information:
OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) TC
Download
Index of /ubl/os-UBL-2.0-update/mod/

Source: www.epractice.eu

Spanish Plan Avanza supports new technologies in SMEs

November 25, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

The Plan Avanza has mobilised € 1800 million in 2006-2008 to facilitate the introduction of new technologies in Spanish SMEs. David Cierco, Director General for Development of the Information Society within the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade unveiled this information on the occasion of the presentation of the Prointur project (Profesionalización del Turismo de Interior), a project funded under the Plan Avanza.
 
The programme ‘Avanza SMEs’ of Plan Avanza endeavours to increase the ICT level of adoption by SMEs through the introduction of sectoral solutions and eBusiness, including the introduction of eInvoicing. The implementation of these measures has been done through calls for aid, agreements with regional governments and ICT loans.

Avanza SME has several lines of action:

– outreach programmes to expand the use of the Internet and new technologies;
– provision of technological advice;
– training and awareness-raising on the efficient use of ICT;
– implementation of projects and actions to develop and adopt business solutions;
– preparation of studies and analysis;
– programmes for content creation;
– provision of computer equipment.

Mr. Cierco reminded the audience that the new plan Avanza2, “the normal evolution of the Plan Avanza,” pursues qualitative and specific objectives, through five areas of action: infrastructure, security and trust, technological training, digital content and services and industrial development.

Prointur is a project of the foundation Fundetec whose aim is to promote the use of Information Technologies and Communication Technologies (ICT) within the internal and rural tourism accommodation sector, as an instrument to professionalize the business management while increasing the activity. The initiative is funded jointly by Fundetec, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade – through the Plan Avanza – and the European Union.

Source: www.epractice.eu

Further information: Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade

CEN / Adobe: Intelligent PDF and XML for legally valid electronic invoicing

November 21, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications
 
The following publication explains a way of using Intelligent PDF to support compliante Invoicing solutions. Adobe has worked together with CEN to create a white paper in which a relatively new type PDF solution is worked out.
The PDF is an intelligent message. The PDF document offers not only an optical readable invoice, but also billing data extracted in XML. Besides this, even charging can be audited.

Read the entire article here:


 
 

ePractice: European Electronic Invoicing Platform introduced

November 13, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

Following its eInvoicing initiative ‘Platform ELFA’ in the Netherlands, Dutch-based Factuurwijzer has recently set off activities in the European eInvoicing field. The aim is to raise awareness of eInvoicing while improving its implementation through the European Electronic Invoicing (EEI) Platform.
 
The growth of eInvoicing allows everyone to benefit from the great advantages of electronic invoicing compared to paper invoicing. The EEI Platform aims to support the implementation of eInvoicing through online participation and cooperation between individual companies, trade organisations and the public sector.

In addition, participants will benefit from the results achieved by a wide range of activities, namely, publicity, implementation, standardisation, accreditation and promotion.

Currently, a lot of effort is devoted to composing a strong international group of Founding Partners which will form the roots of this initiative. Meanwhile, over ten organisations have signed up as Founding Partners, or participants with the EEI Platform.

EEI Platform is a variant of the Dutch Electronic Invoicing Platform (ELFA), a grouping of organisations directly or indirectly linked to electronic invoicing: software providers, industry associations, government institutions and users.

In the Netherlands, Platform ELFA plays an important part in the implementation process of eBilling while providing substantial information, news and background documentation through its interactive website. In addition, it is possible for audiences to communicate with each other on eInvoicing and related topics via several social tools.

Participation in the EEI Platform is not only suitable for specialists such as billing service providers. It is also possible for users, banks, public institutions, educational institutions and industry associations to join and benefit from this initiative. Furthermore, organisations whose activities are neighbouring the main sectors, such as credit-management organisations and financial institutions, are also invited to participate.

Source: www.epractice.eu