E-Invoicing / E-Billing in Europe – Taking the next step towards optimised processes

February 11, 2009  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

An organisation can save 1-2% of their turnover by replacing paper invoices and optimising the related processes. Electronic and automated invoice processes can result in savings of 60-80% compared to traditional paper based processing. Thus the payback time on investments in E-Invoicing projects can be as short as six months.

In 2008, roughly 1 million European businesses and 23 million consumers exchanged one billion electronic invoices. Every day in 2009, 1,200 businesses and 11,000 consumers are expected to become new E-Invoicing users. Owing to the attractiveness of this market, around 350 service providers and another 150 application providers are offering their solutions and services.

This purpose of this report is to support invoice issuers and recipients wishing to replace expensive paper based invoice management. It gives all the relevant information on the larger European markets and helps by focusing on the most promising solutions. The report not only provides facts, but also qualitative views, evaluation and details about the products offered by many providers.

The document costs 590 Euro, but a table of contents and download preview are free available online:



The EEI Platform Activity Plan 2009

January 29, 2009  |  Adoption  |  Comments Off

In October 2008 the EEI Platform was announced. Together with a website, an e-mail newsletter and several social network site connections (Twitter, Ning, Slideshare, Youtube and so on), the EEI Platform consist of a considerable amount of 21 Founding Partners.

As stated in the interim report of the E-invoicing Expert Group communication is of the essence. More so this communication should not be one-off exercises but should be part of a regular plan and process to communicate regularly, both periodically and event driven.

The EEI Platform identifies four segments OBTAIN+KNOWLEDGE,  BUILDING+NETWORKS, SHARING+INFORMATION and PROMOTING+INTERESTS. These segments lead the way for a coherent set of activities and instrument, combined in a comprehensive activity plan for the year 2009.

The 2009 EEI Platform Activity Plan aims at generating the following activities and instruments:

Best practices
Collecting and disclosing best practices on –cross border- e-invoicing and related domains

Common body of definitions
Formerly part of the CEN/ISSS e-Invoice workshop but now part of the EEI Platform, the website www.einvoicen.com and its contents regarding a ‘Common Body of Definitions’ will be finished, reworked and presented mid 2009.

Company Profiles
Members and Founding Partner will receive company profiles which enables them to broadcast their proposition, product and services throughout the EEI Platform channels.

Collecting and disclosing documents on –cross border- e-invoicing and related domains

E-invoicing Innovation Guideline
A guideline for end users, service providers and accounting software suppliers how to effectively develop and implement e-invoicing into their existing portfolio of products and services.

Internal newsletter
Members and Founding Partners are the first to learn from recent developments on e-invoicing, invoice automation and their related domains.

Interaction Framework
An interoperability framework for the sole purpose of understanding each other in human interaction. See also the ‘Common Body of Definitions’

Broadcasting a newsletter containing headlines, reflections, best practices, documents and events.

Online community
Creating an online community by combining the website, the social network sites, forum and mailing lists into one single instrument.

Social networks
Broadcasting and connecting using LinkedIN, Twitter, SlideShare, Forum, Youtube, and so on.

A website containing a total of more than 200 (this year) of fresh headlines, reflections, best practices, documents and events.

Similar to the successful Dutch initiative Platform ELFA from which the EEI Platform originated, only those activities and instrument are considered that:

–          can be guaranteed to be effectively and successfully carried out and

–          facilitate and promote the Founding Partners and Members and their investments in the EEI Platform.

The EEI Platform Activity Plan 2009 is distributed to non-members on request.

Report: "E-Invoicing as a "keystone" between companies, banks and PA"

January 28, 2009  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

The Observatory on Electronic Invoicing and Dematerialization was set up in 2006 by the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management with the specific aim of demonstrating the inherent value of adopting electronic invoicing and document dematerialization processes and, in general, of digitalising the entire order-payment cycle. At the same time, the Observatory seeks to encourage a wider and more advanced adoption of these technologies within the national economic system. 
By clicking the link below you can read the report: “Electronic Invoicing as a “keystone” in the collaboration between companies, banks and PA.” (Politecnico di Milano (2008):  Report 2008, Observatory on electronic Invoicing and Dematerialisation)

Click the link to obtain access to the report

You will be redirected to the ICT & Management Observatories by Politecnico di Milano website.

ACBI changes business name into CBI Consortium

January 21, 2009  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

The creation of the CBI Consortium – Customer to Business Interaction, which replaces the Interbank Corporate Banking Association created by ABI in 2001, was approved on 20th of May 2008 during the ACBI annual meeting. The new CBI Consortium, established in Rome, was created to ensure an even more efficient management of Interbank Corporate Banking; this service allows companies to connect easily, swiftly, and safely with the banks where they hold current accounts, through a single electronic connection. The goal of the Consortium is to plan and develop standards, guaranteeing that they are certified, and to define a reference regulatory framework; this would allow banks to carry out an online connection and dialogue with the clientele, with a view to interoperability both at national and international level.

Read the document about this transformation below:

Source: www.cbi-org.eu

European Commission creates Payment Systems Market Expert Group

January 13, 2009  |  Adoption  |  Comments Off

The European Commission is to create a Payment Systems Market Expert Group (PSMEG). The group will be composed of experts competent in the area of payments. It will aim to gain inputs on payment issues, including fraud prevention, from a range of stakeholders, in particular the payment industry and users. Interested candidates are invited to send an application to the Commission by 6 February 2009.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “It is important to have sound, efficient and secure payment systems in order to ensure a proper functioning of the internal market. With the development of our policies in the area of payments, in particular in the context of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), we have a growing need for regular and high-level stakeholder input at the earliest stage of our policy-making. New and complex areas of activity, such as the prevention of payment fraud or the development of innovative payments, will also mean new needs for specialist expertise.”

The call for applications will be open until 6 February 2009. It is addressed to experts in payments, including fraud prevention, coming in particular from the payment industry and the payment users. A maximum of 50 experts will be selected.

The PSMEG’s tasks will be: to assist the Commission in the preparation of legislative acts or policy initiatives regarding payment systems, including fraud prevention issues related to payment industry and users; to provide insight concerning the practical implementation of that policy; and to exchange views on up-to-date best practices and ensure monitoring of potential issues of concern for the market. The group will meet in Brussels and will be chaired by the Internal Market and Services DG of the European Commission.

Below you can read the publication about the Payment Systems Marrket Expert Group:

Source: European Commission

First version of the eProcurement map including eInvoicing available

December 29, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

A map of activities having an impact on the development of European interoperable eProcurement solutions has been issued by the eProcurement Forum Team in cooperation with IDABC.
The strategic objective of the eProcurement Forum, which together with IDABC promoted the production of this document, is to make the eProcurement experts aware about what is happening in the complex European scenario.
A number of activities are running contemporaneously, addressing different aspects and adopting different approaches. The risk is that they proceed on their own, with no or limited contacts with the other ones, sometimes spending precious effort and time towards the same objectives.
There is a strong need to make all these initiatives aware of the possibility of cooperation and sharing actions. Therefore the eProcurement Forum took the initiative of composing the whole picture and make it available for consultation, revision and integration to as much eProcurement practitioners as possible.
The first version of this picture is proposed in a lively document available at IDABC website. This document will be periodically revised and updated.

More information:

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

December 10, 2008  |  Adoption  |  Comments Off

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  |  Comments Off

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  |  Comments Off


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  |  Comments Off

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