Dutch B2G e-invoicing adoption falls behind expectations

Late 2008 the Dutch government presented a brave and ambitious plan. At the end of 2010 at least 10% of approximately 1 million should be processed through a central e-document exchange hub, called Digipoort. In 2014 the adoption rate should be 80%. In 2017 a full 100% of 1 million B2G invoices should be received and processed.

E-invoicing B2G head start

Just like every other project, the Dutch B2G project made a head start:

  • an infrastructure was created for processing e-messages: Digipoort
  • a preferred standard was chosen: a subset of UBL2.0
  • an extensive campaign and a project team was created
  • someone was appointed part-time “E-invoicing Ambassador of the State
  • governmental bodies are obliged to connect to Digipoort
  • companies have a right to send their e-invoices to the government, as long as they use UBL.
  • The states general procurement terms and conditions were changed to incorporate e-invoicing

Experiences on b2G adoption

Despite the ambitious, good intentions, massive funding and a part-time ambassador, the results stay behind expectations:

  • The government didn’t reach the 10% mark in 2010
  • A new goal was created: 20% at the end of 2011
  • Convincing govermental bodies to connect with Digipoort proves cumbersome: they seems reluctant to have to pay EUR 0,59 for every e-invoice they receive through Digipoort
  • Only some financial software providers have implemented the Digipoort connection
  • Some e-invoicing service providers connected with Digipoort, most of them haven’t
  • People responsible for the uptake of B2G uptake are becoming frustrated.

E-invoicing done the Latin American way?

Perhaps the Dutch government should walk the Latin American road: making e-invoicing obligatory in some way. (Read: A global patchwork of e-invoicing regulations). Promoting and communicating e-invoicing as such does seem to create the adoption curve needed.

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