First version of the eProcurement map including eInvoicing available

December 29, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  No Comments

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:

New version of Cross Industry Invoice (CII)

December 29, 2008  |  Publications  |  No Comments

The current practice of the exchange of business documents in e-business transactions presents major opportunities to improve the competitiveness of companies. Especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

The invoice is an important document exchanged in e-business transactions between trading partners. Its primary function is a request for payment from the customer to the supplier. The invoice is also an important accounting document and also has potential trade law implications for both trading partners.
Additionally, in the member states of the European Union, the invoice is the key document for VAT declaration and reclamation, for statistics declaration, and to support export and import declaration in respect of trade with other countries.

Started as an initiative by CEN/ISSS Work shop eBES, the European Expert Group 1 (EEG1) – Supply Chain & e-Procurement developed the Cross Industry Invoice in 2004. The first version of the Cross Industry Invoice has been compiled with contributions and submissions from: EUROFER, GS1, CIDX, EDIFICE, AIAG/ODETTE/JAMA, GHX, UK e-Government, UK HM Customs & Excise, and EDS.

In the end of the year 2008 version 2.0 of this document was published. Compared to version 1.0 a series of changes regarding the requirements and the structure were introduced. Basis for the enhancement of requirements were contributions from TBG1 members such as GS1, UBL, EDIFrance, US Department of Defense, and others.

The objective of this document is to standardize the business processes regarding (e-) in the supply chain.

Read the entire document:


Anachron co-founder of Dutch Online Debtor Service Center

December 29, 2008  |  Publications  |  No Comments

IMNederland, one of the leading Credit Management organizations within the Netherlands is setting the scene with interactive online Debtor Service Center. IMNederland is now the first Credit Management organization in the Netherlands that allow their debtors to view, manage, and pay their overdue debts at any given moment from any location. e-Billing market leader Anachron has developed the online Debtor Service Center (DSC) in collaboration with IMNederland.

Robert der Kinderen, Director Marketing and Product Innovations explains: “The online DSC is the perfect addition to our current services. IMNederland was all ready making use of e-mail and telephone messages to notify our debtors on the outstanding debts. This was an effective method to reach debtors, but it was also resulting in allot of administrative work for our agents, as they had to enter the data manually. The online DSC was the best solution for IMNederland to optimize our collection process and reduce the manual work. We can now provide debtors with a complete solution to manage and pay their overdue debts. Our Credit Management software IMpact creates a user name and password that is send per letter to the debtor. We capture the e-mail addresses of our debtors by making this mandatory with their first log on. Within their personal account the debtor has all functionalities and hand so therefore they are no longer dependent on our opening times or assistance of our agents”.

Marco Eeman, CTO Anachron continues on the innovative solution: “The data of the overdue debts changes on a continuous basis. We therefore decided to present the solution within secured web services. When a debtor logs on or makes an adjustment a soap request or update takes place via an interface that is connected to the server of IMNederland. This allows real time processing of the adjustments within Impact and therefore presenting the latest information available to the debtor. Within their personal account, debtors have the option to view, dispute and pay the overdue debts. We present the online DSC is completely in the look and feel of IMNederland”.

“The Internet is also being recognized by Credit Management organizations as a very important and effective channel to reach debtors”, says Frank Hoekstra, CEO Anachron. “By providing their debtors with an online DSC IMNederland has not only enhanced the service to their debtors but also accelerated the collection process significantly. The online DSC has also resulted in a considerably cost reduction as debtors can manage their without any debts without involvement of an agent”.

The expectations of the online DSC are very promising. By now IMNederland has all ready enrolled 20% of all the debtors on the online DSC. By 2009 this number is expected to grow explosively as the online DSC will be made available in more languages. Robert der Kinderen concludes: “Anachron was defiantly our first choice to create and develop the online DSC. Their customized solutions, advanced functionalities and impressive track record of clients were conclusive.
Source: Anachron

Majority of enterprises in the EU27 had a website in 2008

December 10, 2008  |  Publications  |  No Comments

Broadband access is increasing
In the EU27, 93% of enterprises of ten or more persons employed had access to the internet in January 2008, the same as in January 2007, and 81% of enterprises had a broadband internet connection, up from 77% in January 2007. On average in the EU27, 64% of enterprises had a website in January 2008, compared with 63% in January 2007. These data2 come from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, and form part of the results of a community survey conducted at the beginning of 2008 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in enterprises in the EU27 Member States, Iceland and Norway. Besides the indicators presented, the survey also covers e-commerce, e-government and e-business indicators.

Almost all enterprises in the Netherlands and Finland have internet access
In January 2008, the highest proportions of enterprises with internet access in the EU27 were recorded in the Netherlands and Finland (both 99%), Denmark (98%) and Belgium, Austria and Slovenia (97% each). The percentage was less than 90% in only five Member States: Romania (67%), Bulgaria (83%), Hungary (86%), Latvia (88%) and Cyprus (89%).
The proportion of enterprises with a broadband connection in January 2008 was above 90% in Spain, France and Finland (92% each) and in Belgium (91%). Only in Romania (44%), Lithuania (56%) and Poland (59%) did less than 60% of enterprises have a broadband connection.
The data show that while internet access appears to be approaching saturation in nearly all Member States, the level of broadband internet access is still increasing.

Below you can view the outcome of the survey:

Source: Eurostat

Growing internet access and use in the EU27 in 2008

December 3, 2008  |  Publications  |  No Comments

Nearly 30% of individuals use internet banking, 60% of households have internet access.
In the EU27, 60% of households had access to the internet during the first quarter of 2008, compared with 54% during the first quarter of 2007, and 48% had a broadband internet connection, compared with 42% in 2007.
These data published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, represent only a small part of the results of a survey on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals in the EU27 Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Croatia. As well as internet use and broadband connections, the survey also covers other indicators such as e-shopping, e-government and advanced communication and content related services.
Household internet access ranges from 25% in Bulgaria to 86% in the Netherlands
In 2008, the proportion of households with internet access was three quarters or more in the Netherlands (86%), Sweden (84%), Denmark (82%), Luxembourg (80%) and Germany (75%). The lowest levels were registered in Bulgaria (25%), Romania (30%) and Greece (31%).
The proportion of households with a broadband connection in 2008 was also highest in the Netherlands and Denmark (both 74%) and Sweden (71%).
One third of individuals in the EU27 use travel related internet services
In the second quarter of 2008, individuals aged 16-74 in the EU Member States were asked which activities they had carried out on the internet in the previous three months. In the EU27, nearly a third of all individuals had used internet for travel and accommodation services. Around 30% had used internet banking, interacted with public authorities or searched for health-related information. About a quarter had read online news or ordered goods or services. Around 15% had looked for jobs or sent applications by internet.
The Member States which had the highest proportions of individuals performing these internet activities were the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg.

Here you are able to view the entire data overview per country:
Source: Eurostat

SEPA and e-Invoicing: ECB progress report 2008

November 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  No Comments

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

Spanish Plan Avanza supports new technologies in SMEs

November 25, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  No Comments

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.


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  |  No Comments
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  |  No Comments

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.


e-Invoicing adoption continues to skyrocket

November 8, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  No Comments

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