Ladies and gentlemen, the EESPA has landed [UPDATE2]

October 17, 2011  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

After a gestation of six months, on Friday September 2nd, the EESPA was officially born. EESPA stands for European E-invoicing Service Providers association. Among the 13 Founding fathers are BSP’s like OB10, Basware, Tieto, Certipost, Anachron, UnifiedPost and FirstBusinessPost. We hartily welcome the EESPA as another initiative for the adoption of e-invoicing.

1. Reacting on Europe’s e-invoicing liberalisation
The plan for the EESPA originated from a need to create a more sustainable market for trust and technical compliance products and services. This was, of course, an answer to the upcoming European e-invoicing liberalisation which has quite a different focus on trust and technical compliance than before.

This liberalisation could well mean that investments made in such products and services, could never be regained.

UPDATE 17/10/2011/09:49: The European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA) is now an official association in the form of an International Non-Profit Association. The association has received a Royal Decree in Belgium and as such is now officially in existence.

2. European E-invoicing Forum
A second reason for launching EESPA was to participate in the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on e-Invoicing. There was no representation of the service provider industry because of no established association to represent it. Now there is. And that is a good thing, right?

3. Market developments
A third factor is the on-going organic market adoption of e-invoicing and invoice automation. The EESPA is erected to try promote e-invoicing products and services that fall in her premises: heavy weight trust and e-invoicing.

Some questions remain
The EESPA is a good initiative. Some questions remain though. It is a bit like walking on thin ice here, simply because the European e-invoicing domain tends to get a bit touchy when asked ‘philosophical’ questions:

• Is it a good thing to want to be part of the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on e-Invoicing? Will the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on e-Invoicing really harness so much power that it can add something more to what e-invoicing liberalisation and current market developments already do?

• There are currently over 500 providers in Europe accounted for. They come in all shapes, sizes and models. Will the EESPA - based on theirs numbers and market composition - be representative enough to get the forum to admit the EESPA as the representative of the E-invoicing service providers industry?

Also, there are some initiatives out there that have a legacy/legitimation that could exceed that of EESPA. (No, the EEI Platform is not part of these, simply because of lack of ambition to be part of the political process and because of a different drive/focus.)

These questions will probably be answered the next few months when their website is live.

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