Archive for Adoption

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.


EU: Prototype IDABC eInvoicing and eOrdering project ready

November 10, 2008  |  Adoption

The European Commission IDABC eInvoicing and eOrdering project team has recently reached an important milestone: the delivery of the prototype. It allows the sending of an XML invoice to the Commission’s e-PRIOR system and the automatic integration in the back-office system after a number of validations. The major next step is a real-life pilot with a number of IT suppliers.
The e-PRIOR (electronic PRocurement, Invoicing and ORdering) prototype has been developed inside the Commission’s infrastructure and is hosted in its datacentre.

The prototype currently supports:
– the sending of an XML invoice through secured web services;
– the sending of a separate attachment;
– the sending of a status request message, which returns the status of the invoice.

User access, logging and a business document viewer have also been implemented.
The prototype was demonstrated to the IDABC programme’s Technical Working Group and formally endorsed by the ‘Pan-European eGovernment Services Committee’ (PEGSCO) which is the IDABC programme’s management committee.
The next project phase includes:
– Running a real-life pilot with a number of existing IT and telecom suppliers;
– Organising a post-pilot workshop to share the lessons learnt of the pilot;
– Developing additional use cases, including disputes and credit notes;
– Analysing the eOrdering process.

This phase should be completed before the summer holiday of 2009. During the final phase, the pilot will be extended with the additional use cases whilst the eOrdering process is being developed.

Final step
As a final step, all project deliverables will be packaged for dissemination. Collaboration with other eInvoicing and standardization initiatives is seen as very important, and contributions have been made to:

– The Expert Group on eInvoicing
– The PEPPOL project
– The CEN/BII workshop, where the IDABC eInvoicing and eOrdering project team is now even chairing the subgroup working on the usage of code tables.

A major contribution has been made towards the redefinition of the profiles, making them modular and complementary, resulting in decoupling the profiles from any message standard like UBL or UN/CEFACT.
Where applicable or possible, concepts and tools have been re-used from Member States, such as the NES/UBL XML formats and profiles, stylesheets and validator tools. Member States will equally be able to re-use deliverables and results from this project, such as XML definitions, stylesheets, approaches or concepts, programming code and architecture documents.

Further information:
e-PRIOR case in ePractice IDABC website
eProcurement news & good practice
e-PRIOR demo on You Tube


e-Invoicing adoption continues to skyrocket

November 8, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

Prediction by GXS Senior Marketing Manager, Rochelle Cohen   

2008 will see a veritable explosion in the adoption of e-invoicing to help businesses automate their accounting processes. Businesses are increasingly applying technology to automate their procure-to-pay process and gain the dramatic business benefits that have been documented in numerous case studies and benchmarks. When e-invoicing is integrated with automated workflow and e-payments—which over 90 percent of large enterprises are doing or planning to implement—it enables companies to not only reap significant hard dollar cost savings from reduced operational costs associated with handling paper, but also to take advantage of discounts that can add millions of dollars to the company’s bottom line.
Furthermore, more companies are taking advantage of the opportunity brought about by this “perfect storm” of automation to gain even greater savings by leveraging prorated discount structures or discounts negotiated once invoices are ready to be paid. 
Further fueling the adoption of e-invoicing are electronic invoicing legislation, such as the EU Council Directive 2001/115/EC which allows the electronic invoice to serve as the legal invoice in the European Union, and the availability of third party service providers that now offer a broad range of translation, protocol mediation and regulatory compliance services. These services enable companies to overcome the barriers that have prevented 100 percent trading partner participation in the past.
For example, now even small trading partners can participate in e-invoicing programs without changing their current processes. And, suppliers are beginning to welcome the opportunity because they recognize the benefits they too will receive; this is particularly true when buyers promise faster payments in return for electronic invoicing. Furthermore, buyers who do business with international suppliers can rely on the third party service provider to ensure that varying local government regulations are satisfied. 2008 will be a breakthrough year for e-invoicing. The business case is clear, technology options providing seamless integration with in-house are readily available and the e-invoicing adoption rate has been growing steeply and steadily.

Read the full article here

Survey shows that German users are not yet familiar with e-invoices

October 31, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

An Itella survey among German visitors of this year’s DMS (Digital Management Solutions Expo) proves that there is still much confusion on the subject of electronic invoices.
About 90% of the surveyed visitors in Cologne believed that violations of the German Signature Act have serious consequences such as fines, warnings or non-recognition of the invoice. On the other hand, only 19% knew that without Qualified Electronic Signature (QES), the tax is not claimed or a tax audit can be reclaimed. Moreover, nearly half of all respondents feels extremely badly informed regarding electronic invoices.
The aim of this survey was to gain background information about the low distribution of electronic invoices and QES in Germany which was the result of an earlier study by Itella. An electronic invoice -combined with QES for over 96% of DMS respondents- offers the ideal mix of safety, reliability and practicality. However, according to the original study only 30% of the companies use electronic forwarding methods. 50% of the surveyed visitors consider lack of confidence in safety and the lack of acceptance by the business as the main reasons for the low adoption level.
“Concerns about security are largely unjustified,” says Raimund Schlotmann, CEO of Itella Germany. “When it comes to security, the qualified electronic signature – especially for complete implementation by a service provider – is a fast, simple and reliable solution. We therefore even recommend to apply the QES in building consumer confidence. Neither senders nor receivers bear additional expenses if a service provider is on board. In comparison to the paper bill, the security even increases.”
Also, the potential savings in the editing workflow are not clear to most DMS visitors. Two-third of the respondents thought that an automated data input and output would save 10 to 50% in document processing. “These estimates are very conservative because the savings are often much higher: up to 90% is possible,” says Raimund Schlotmann. “Companies do not know how much time and money they spend unnecessarily.”

Case: NemHandel – Open Infrastructure for Danish E-Business

October 16, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

In 2007 the Danish National IT & Telecom Agency (NITA) launched a national open e-business framework ‘NemHandel’ (literally ‘EasyTrade’), based on a new national service-oriented infrastructure and utilizing state-of-the-art open standards to do e-business transactions business to government and business to business via the internet. The national open e-business framework supports reliable, secure and asynchronous exchange of business messages, e.g. invoices, across heterogeneous networks, including the internet.
Since 2005 suppliers to the Danish public sector have been required by law to send invoices electronically, which affects approximately 70% of all Danish businesses, and thus electronic invoicing in the public sector is a key driver for the initiative. However the ‘NemHandel’ initiative also aims more widely in a business-to-business context to replace less cost-effective solutions, such as the scanning-based digitalisation of paper invoices, as well as to pave the way for more comprehensive digitisation of a range of e-business processes to reduce administrative burdens in Danish businesses. Please see the Danish eInvoice Solution.
As part of the ‘NemHandel’ initiative, NITA has developed a basic open source ‘NemHandel’ application for the exchange of e-business documents, e.g. electronic invoices, via the internet. The open source application is freely available through the ‘Softwarebørsen’ open source software exchange to public sector institutions, private businesses, and to IT vendors who may incorporate the technology in their own commercial products. A number of commercial IT vendors have already and others are in the process of integrating the ‘NemHandel’ technology into their products so that documents may be exchanged directly between existing IT solutions. Likewise a range of existing commercial service providers, e.g. banks and operators of value added networks (VAN) and other proprietary solutions, are looking to connect their individual networks to the NemHandel infrastructure.

Read more on epractice

Commission proposes clear legal framework for innovative payment solutions

October 13, 2008  |  Adoption

The European Commission has put forward a proposal revising the current rules governing the conditions for issuing electronic money in the EU. The proposal follows extensive consultation (see IP/05/930) which showed that the current rules, dating from 2000, have hindered the take-up of the electronic money market, hampering technological innovation. The revised rules will facilitate market entrance for new providers and contribute to develop an industry whose expected volume could reach up to EUR 10 billion by 2012.
Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “The e-money industry has significant untapped growth potential. I believe that the new rules will accelerate the up-take of electronic money in Europe. These modern rules will foster competition and innovation, while ensuring market confidence and a high level of protection for consumers. This will be an important contribution to our broad objective of creating a Single Market for electronic payments.”

Proposed new rules for issuing e-money

The proposal provides for a modern and coherent legal framework for issuing electronic money, with the aim of promoting the emergence of a true single market for electronic money services in the European Union. The main innovations proposed are as follows:
a technologically neutral and simpler definition of “electronic money”, covering all situations where the payment service provider (an e-money institution or a credit institution) issues a prepaid stored value in exchange of funds. Electronic money is therefore defined as monetary value stored electronically on receipt of funds and which is used for making payment transactions. This definition covers e-money held on payment devices in the holder’s possession (pre-paid cards or electronic purse) or stored remotely at a server (network or software money).
a new prudential regime, ensuring greater consistency between prudential requirements of electronic money institutions and payment institutions under the Payment Services Directive 2007/64/CE (IP/07/1914). The new prudential requirements include an initial capital of EUR 125.000 enabling market entrance for smaller players and a new formula to determine ongoing capital. The waiver regime, according to which small entities can obtain derogation for some of the authorisation requirements, is aligned with that of payment institutions under the Payments Services Directive, and anti-money laundering requirements are updated.
a clarification of the application of redemption requirements, with special reference to their application to mobile telecommunications. Consumers would have the right to claim back their electronic money at any moment, under conditions laid down by the new rules.
The E-Money Directive (2000/46/EC) sought to facilitate access by non-credit institutions to the business of e-money issuance. However, electronic money is still far from delivering the full potential benefits that were expected at the time of its adoption and is not yet considered a credible alternative to cash. Figures on the limited number of fully licensed electronic money institutions or on the low volume of electronic money issued demonstrate that electronic money has not yet really taken off in most of the Member States. The evaluation of the application of this Directive has shown that some of its provisions seem to have hindered the take-up of the electronic money market, hampering technological innovation.
The proposal aims at enabling new, innovative and secure electronic money services to be designed, providing market access to new players and fostering real and effective competition between all market participants. As all provisions have been amended and the structure was revised, it is proposed to repeal the existing E-Money Directive and replace it by a new directive. The proposal now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.

The proposal is available here

EC workshop eProcurement solutions in Vienna

September 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications

The IDABC programme ( is supporting the design and development of eProcurement solutions compliant with the public procurement Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC, by providing tools (mainly, the eProcurement demonstrators, the helpdesk service and the Functional Requirements) that can be used as examples and guidelines.  The eProcurement Forum, a community within the ePractice portal, is organizing in cooperation with Auftrag.AT a workshop to exchange experiences about the development of Public eProcurement solutions aligned with the European legislation. The workshop will take place on the 14th January 2009 at the Schönbrunn Palace Conference Centre in Wien (Austria).
The participants will have the opportunity to have an insight into the IDABC eProcurement demonstrators and to be presented with some eProcurement cases developed using the IDABC tools as sources of inspirations.  This workshop targets all the European eProcurement experts and in particular those belonging to:

  • Public Administrations that are setting up new eProcurement solutions and are interested in capitalising on other experiences and in receiving information on available guidelines and tools
  • IT companies in charge of the development of eProcurement solutions
  • Organisations responsible for existing eProcurement solutions that need to be aligned with the European legislation

A “Call for presentations” is open until the 5th December 2008. Please contact the eProcurement Forum by e-mail  ( if you need further information on the event, or if you are interested in sharing your experience and in presenting a case.

Registration is possible via the ePractice website at  Please note that attendance is free and open to everyone who has been registered on the ePractice portal. Since the available places are limited, interested experts are invited to register soon. 

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September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

…and ensure yourself of the latest developments on e-invoicing and complementary domains, such as credit management and payments. Read More

4th eBIF Conference ‘e-Business interoperability practice’ in Utrecht (NL)

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications

e-Business interoperability practice: examples, impacts and standardization challenges’ 

Day 1 – 8 December 2008
Programme starts 10.00

Opening by Peter Potgieser, ABN AMRO, Chairman CEN/ISSS e-Business Interoperability Forum and Equens speaker

Keynote: ICT standardization and eBusiness policy developments
Costas Andropoulos, Head of Unit, European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate General

Practical examples papiNet implementation and deployment practice
Tom Meniga, Managing Director, Freecom

eBIZ-TIC project – eBusiness standards pilots in the textile and footwear industry
Piero De Sabbata or Milena Stefanova, ENEA eTrade UN/CEFACT speaker Interoperability between eInvoicing systems Anachron speaker Questions and answers

RFID and the Internet of things
Speaker from the European Commission, Information Society and Media Directorate General (tbc)

Beyond SOA: interoperability challenges in the Digital Ecosystem era
Pierfranco Ferronato, Chief Architect, Soluta.Net

ICT implications for energy consumption and growth
Reinhard Madlener, E.ON Energy Research Centre (tbc)


Day 2 – Tuesday 9 December 2008 
Programme starts 09.30

Critical issues – Title to be confirmed
Paul van Exel, USPI (tbc)

Education in e-business standards and standardization policy
Speaker to be confirmed

Methodologies for Global eBusiness test beds
Speaker tbc 
For more information, visit the website of CEN


Joint initiative to create a European e-invoicing solution

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing, Publications

Today, at SIBOS, ICBPI Group (Italy), Isabel (Belgium) and Equens (the Netherlands) announced that they will be joining forces in e-invoicing. The main goal of the founding partners – ICBPI and Equens – for this international initiative is to establish an open, multi-party, cross-border European e-invoicing network. The network must gain practical experience and actively contribute to the development of a standardised European e-invoicing product with maximum customer reach. For this purpose, ICBPI and Equens will set up one of the first cross-border pilots for e-invoicing networks within Europe. Service provider Isabel will be the first participant in this pilot.

European e-invoicing solution
ICBPI Group and Equens will cooperate to bridge local solutions, enabling banks, corporates and service providers to extend their reach in Europe. Equens will bridge domestic service providers in order to create European coverage in the distribution of e-invoicing. Isabel will contribute its e-invoicing knowledge and experience. Other parties are invited to join this initiative in order to expand the e-invoicing community as soon as possible.

The European Commission aims to establish a mature e-invoicing framework by 2010 at the latest. E-invoicing is a field that potentially offers excellent opportunities. Over 90 percent of all invoicing worldwide is still performed on paper. This usually involves an extremely inefficient process of printing, distributing, scanning and archiving paper and re-entering data. There are now hundreds of initiatives in place for electronic invoicing on a national level. A specific, joint and international initiative is therefore an important next step.

According to Equens, invoicing should be as easy as paying. Michael Steinbach, Chairman of Equens’ Board of Directors: “We strongly believe that staying ahead in the European payment-processing market requires looking beyond the payments discipline as such. It requires in-depth knowledge of the future needs of banks and their customers, of technology and of applications.”

“As a market leader in payments and electronic invoicing services in Italy, we are focused on providing the best services in the Customer-to-Bank area,” says Giuseppe Capponcelli, Managing Director of ICBPI Group. “This cross-border joint initiative on e-invoicing will allow us to be a first mover in the European scenario and to enhance our corporate banking services. The first International e-invoicing pilot is a win-win initiative that allows the founding partners to extend their reachability to other important trade markets, as well as enabling ICBPI to offer competitive advantages to banks and more benefits to their corporate customers.”

As one of the leading providers of e-invoicing and electronic banking services in Belgium, Isabel is the first participant in this European e-invoicing initiative. Isabel will draw on its technical and business expertise in the SME market to contribute to the success of this e-invoicing pilot project. “This pilot project is a great opportunity to enhance our experience in electronic invoicing and to promote interoperability at European level,” says Luc Van Hecke, International Sales Manager of Isabel S.A.

About Equens
Equens SE is the first truly pan-European, full-service payment processor. As one of the largest and most innovative payment processors in Europe, Equens is leading the market for future-proof payments and card processing solutions. Thanks to an extensive and competitive service portfolio and a flexible, customer-orientated approach, the company seamlessly meets the requirements of the European payments market. With an annual volume of 7.3 billion payments and 2.1 billion POS and ATM transactions, Equens has a market share of more than 15% within the euro zone. By continuously pursuing further growth and translating the achieved synergy benefits and economies of scale into advantages for the customer, the company contributes to the efficiency of European payments.

For additional information, please visit

The ICBPI Group is made up of highly specialised companies focusing on the design, planning and management of services for banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. ICBPI S.p.A. is specialised in traditional and innovative payment services, as well as financial and administrative services offered according to a BPO model. ICBPI also offers innovative and efficient solutions for the outsourced management of domestic and international payment systems (SEPA-compliant) for banks, Public Administrations and other companies. Key Client is focused on electronic payment systems (Cards, POS and ATM) and with HelpPhone on customer care services through a contact center. Oasi is a market leader in services such as managed systems, financial transaction tracking, reporting to the Central Bank, anti-money laundering and regulation compliance, retirement insurance fund management and data security.

For additional information, please visit

About Isabel
Isabel is a professional software developer and service provider specialising in bank automation and electronic invoicing. Isabel’s solutions are used by many financial institutions and associations all over Europe. 30 banks and 110,000 companies in Belgium are using Isabel online services. The Zoomit application developed by Isabel is integrated with the Internet banking solutions of the most important banks. It enables millions of consumers and SMEs to take advantage of e-invoicing technology. Isabel was founded in 1995 and has 130 employees.

For more information, please visit