B2G invoicing solutions for SMEs: a Norwegian call for development

October 7, 2011  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing

Norway flag 230x200In our earlier post “Norway shifts to compulsory B2G electronic invoicing as from 1-7-2012” we mentioned that all suppliers who sell to the Norwegian state will be required to send their invoices electronically as of 1 July 2012.

E-invoicing development not popular with service providers

We also mentioned that – to no surprise- from the over fifty suppliers offering web-invoicing in Norway, only one supplier is ready to produce electronic invoices on EHF format.

Perhaps it is because the invoices will have to be sent in the EHF format, a Norwegian implementation of the Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine project (PEPPOL) business interoperability specifications (BIS). Or perhaps it is because service providers and companies have to invest in something that benefits the government in the very first place.

B2G e-invoicing in Norway towards and beyond 2012

The B2G obligation will apply to every company, including SMEs and one-man firms. They:

  • account for more than half of the private businesses in Norway,
  • rarely have their own eprocurement systems and
  • need easy-to-use web tools where they can produce their invoices.

The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) acknowledged that “we cannot expect that SMEs have their own eprocurement solutions installed. Therefore, the above-mentioned scenario will be difficult to achieve unless private sector can offer several web-based e-invoicing services.”

Call for development towards service providers

The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) has to deal with the following circumstances to create momentum for B2G e-invoicing:

  • from over fifty suppliers that offer web-invoicing in Norway, only one supplier is ready to produce electronic invoices on EHF format
  • to ensure fair competition, it is desirable that as many suppliers as possible offer e-invoicing in the EHF format implementing PEPPOL BIS.
  • a broad selection of web based e-invoicing solutions should be available to the SMEs to create ease of use.

The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) now invites suppliers offering web-based invoicing solutions to adapt their solutions to the Norwegian PEPPOL-enabled format for e-invoicing.

A free flow of invoices from SMEs?

This approach is intended to ensure a free flow of invoices from SMEs, both within Norway and cross-border in Europe. “Such updated solutions will indeed be a business opportunity,” according to Mr Holte, director general of DIFI.

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