Case: NemHandel - Open Infrastructure for Danish E-Business

October 16, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

In 2007 the Danish National IT & Telecom Agency (NITA) launched a national open e-business framework ‘NemHandel’ (literally ‘EasyTrade’), based on a new national service-oriented infrastructure and utilizing state-of-the-art open standards to do e-business transactions business to government and business to business via the internet. The national open e-business framework supports reliable, secure and asynchronous exchange of business messages, e.g. invoices, across heterogeneous networks, including the internet.
Since 2005 suppliers to the Danish public sector have been required by law to send invoices electronically, which affects approximately 70% of all Danish businesses, and thus electronic invoicing in the public sector is a key driver for the initiative. However the ‘NemHandel’ initiative also aims more widely in a business-to-business context to replace less cost-effective solutions, such as the scanning-based digitalisation of paper invoices, as well as to pave the way for more comprehensive digitisation of a range of e-business processes to reduce administrative burdens in Danish businesses. Please see the Danish eInvoice Solution.
As part of the ‘NemHandel’ initiative, NITA has developed a basic open source ‘NemHandel’ application for the exchange of e-business documents, e.g. electronic invoices, via the internet. The open source application is freely available through the ‘Softwarebørsen’ open source software exchange to public sector institutions, private businesses, and to IT vendors who may incorporate the technology in their own commercial products. A number of commercial IT vendors have already and others are in the process of integrating the ‘NemHandel’ technology into their products so that documents may be exchanged directly between existing IT solutions. Likewise a range of existing commercial service providers, e.g. banks and operators of value added networks (VAN) and other proprietary solutions, are looking to connect their individual networks to the NemHandel infrastructure.

Read more on epractice

Commission proposes clear legal framework for innovative payment solutions

October 13, 2008  |  Adoption  |  Comments Off

The European Commission has put forward a proposal revising the current rules governing the conditions for issuing electronic money in the EU. The proposal follows extensive consultation (see IP/05/930) which showed that the current rules, dating from 2000, have hindered the take-up of the electronic money market, hampering technological innovation. The revised rules will facilitate market entrance for new providers and contribute to develop an industry whose expected volume could reach up to EUR 10 billion by 2012.
Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “The e-money industry has significant untapped growth potential. I believe that the new rules will accelerate the up-take of electronic money in Europe. These modern rules will foster competition and innovation, while ensuring market confidence and a high level of protection for consumers. This will be an important contribution to our broad objective of creating a Single Market for electronic payments.”

Proposed new rules for issuing e-money

The proposal provides for a modern and coherent legal framework for issuing electronic money, with the aim of promoting the emergence of a true single market for electronic money services in the European Union. The main innovations proposed are as follows:
a technologically neutral and simpler definition of “electronic money”, covering all situations where the payment service provider (an e-money institution or a credit institution) issues a prepaid stored value in exchange of funds. Electronic money is therefore defined as monetary value stored electronically on receipt of funds and which is used for making payment transactions. This definition covers e-money held on payment devices in the holder’s possession (pre-paid cards or electronic purse) or stored remotely at a server (network or software money).
a new prudential regime, ensuring greater consistency between prudential requirements of electronic money institutions and payment institutions under the Payment Services Directive 2007/64/CE (IP/07/1914). The new prudential requirements include an initial capital of EUR 125.000 enabling market entrance for smaller players and a new formula to determine ongoing capital. The waiver regime, according to which small entities can obtain derogation for some of the authorisation requirements, is aligned with that of payment institutions under the Payments Services Directive, and anti-money laundering requirements are updated.
a clarification of the application of redemption requirements, with special reference to their application to mobile telecommunications. Consumers would have the right to claim back their electronic money at any moment, under conditions laid down by the new rules.
The E-Money Directive (2000/46/EC) sought to facilitate access by non-credit institutions to the business of e-money issuance. However, electronic money is still far from delivering the full potential benefits that were expected at the time of its adoption and is not yet considered a credible alternative to cash. Figures on the limited number of fully licensed electronic money institutions or on the low volume of electronic money issued demonstrate that electronic money has not yet really taken off in most of the Member States. The evaluation of the application of this Directive has shown that some of its provisions seem to have hindered the take-up of the electronic money market, hampering technological innovation.
The proposal aims at enabling new, innovative and secure electronic money services to be designed, providing market access to new players and fostering real and effective competition between all market participants. As all provisions have been amended and the structure was revised, it is proposed to repeal the existing E-Money Directive and replace it by a new directive. The proposal now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.

The proposal is available here

EC workshop eProcurement solutions in Vienna

September 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  Comments Off

The IDABC programme ( is supporting the design and development of eProcurement solutions compliant with the public procurement Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC, by providing tools (mainly, the eProcurement demonstrators, the helpdesk service and the Functional Requirements) that can be used as examples and guidelines.  The eProcurement Forum, a community within the ePractice portal, is organizing in cooperation with Auftrag.AT a workshop to exchange experiences about the development of Public eProcurement solutions aligned with the European legislation. The workshop will take place on the 14th January 2009 at the Schönbrunn Palace Conference Centre in Wien (Austria).
The participants will have the opportunity to have an insight into the IDABC eProcurement demonstrators and to be presented with some eProcurement cases developed using the IDABC tools as sources of inspirations.  This workshop targets all the European eProcurement experts and in particular those belonging to:

  • Public Administrations that are setting up new eProcurement solutions and are interested in capitalising on other experiences and in receiving information on available guidelines and tools
  • IT companies in charge of the development of eProcurement solutions
  • Organisations responsible for existing eProcurement solutions that need to be aligned with the European legislation

A “Call for presentations” is open until the 5th December 2008. Please contact the eProcurement Forum by e-mail  ([email protected]) if you need further information on the event, or if you are interested in sharing your experience and in presenting a case.

Registration is possible via the ePractice website at  Please note that attendance is free and open to everyone who has been registered on the ePractice portal. Since the available places are limited, interested experts are invited to register soon. 

Subscribe to the EEI Platform newsletter

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

…and ensure yourself of the latest developments on e-invoicing and complementary domains, such as credit management and payments. Read More

4th eBIF Conference ‘e-Business interoperability practice’ in Utrecht (NL)

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  Comments Off

e-Business interoperability practice: examples, impacts and standardization challenges’ 

Day 1 - 8 December 2008
Programme starts 10.00

Opening by Peter Potgieser, ABN AMRO, Chairman CEN/ISSS e-Business Interoperability Forum and Equens speaker

Keynote: ICT standardization and eBusiness policy developments
Costas Andropoulos, Head of Unit, European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate General

Practical examples papiNet implementation and deployment practice
Tom Meniga, Managing Director, Freecom

eBIZ-TIC project – eBusiness standards pilots in the textile and footwear industry
Piero De Sabbata or Milena Stefanova, ENEA eTrade UN/CEFACT speaker Interoperability between eInvoicing systems Anachron speaker Questions and answers

RFID and the Internet of things
Speaker from the European Commission, Information Society and Media Directorate General (tbc)

Beyond SOA: interoperability challenges in the Digital Ecosystem era
Pierfranco Ferronato, Chief Architect, Soluta.Net

ICT implications for energy consumption and growth
Reinhard Madlener, E.ON Energy Research Centre (tbc)


Day 2 – Tuesday 9 December 2008 
Programme starts 09.30

Critical issues - Title to be confirmed
Paul van Exel, USPI (tbc)

Education in e-business standards and standardization policy
Speaker to be confirmed

Methodologies for Global eBusiness test beds
Speaker tbc 
For more information, visit the website of CEN


Joint initiative to create a European e-invoicing solution

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing, Publications  |  Comments Off

Today, at SIBOS, ICBPI Group (Italy), Isabel (Belgium) and Equens (the Netherlands) announced that they will be joining forces in e-invoicing. The main goal of the founding partners - ICBPI and Equens - for this international initiative is to establish an open, multi-party, cross-border European e-invoicing network. The network must gain practical experience and actively contribute to the development of a standardised European e-invoicing product with maximum customer reach. For this purpose, ICBPI and Equens will set up one of the first cross-border pilots for e-invoicing networks within Europe. Service provider Isabel will be the first participant in this pilot.

European e-invoicing solution
ICBPI Group and Equens will cooperate to bridge local solutions, enabling banks, corporates and service providers to extend their reach in Europe. Equens will bridge domestic service providers in order to create European coverage in the distribution of e-invoicing. Isabel will contribute its e-invoicing knowledge and experience. Other parties are invited to join this initiative in order to expand the e-invoicing community as soon as possible.

The European Commission aims to establish a mature e-invoicing framework by 2010 at the latest. E-invoicing is a field that potentially offers excellent opportunities. Over 90 percent of all invoicing worldwide is still performed on paper. This usually involves an extremely inefficient process of printing, distributing, scanning and archiving paper and re-entering data. There are now hundreds of initiatives in place for electronic invoicing on a national level. A specific, joint and international initiative is therefore an important next step.

According to Equens, invoicing should be as easy as paying. Michael Steinbach, Chairman of Equens’ Board of Directors: “We strongly believe that staying ahead in the European payment-processing market requires looking beyond the payments discipline as such. It requires in-depth knowledge of the future needs of banks and their customers, of technology and of applications.”

“As a market leader in payments and electronic invoicing services in Italy, we are focused on providing the best services in the Customer-to-Bank area,” says Giuseppe Capponcelli, Managing Director of ICBPI Group. “This cross-border joint initiative on e-invoicing will allow us to be a first mover in the European scenario and to enhance our corporate banking services. The first International e-invoicing pilot is a win-win initiative that allows the founding partners to extend their reachability to other important trade markets, as well as enabling ICBPI to offer competitive advantages to banks and more benefits to their corporate customers.”

As one of the leading providers of e-invoicing and electronic banking services in Belgium, Isabel is the first participant in this European e-invoicing initiative. Isabel will draw on its technical and business expertise in the SME market to contribute to the success of this e-invoicing pilot project. “This pilot project is a great opportunity to enhance our experience in electronic invoicing and to promote interoperability at European level,” says Luc Van Hecke, International Sales Manager of Isabel S.A.

About Equens
Equens SE is the first truly pan-European, full-service payment processor. As one of the largest and most innovative payment processors in Europe, Equens is leading the market for future-proof payments and card processing solutions. Thanks to an extensive and competitive service portfolio and a flexible, customer-orientated approach, the company seamlessly meets the requirements of the European payments market. With an annual volume of 7.3 billion payments and 2.1 billion POS and ATM transactions, Equens has a market share of more than 15% within the euro zone. By continuously pursuing further growth and translating the achieved synergy benefits and economies of scale into advantages for the customer, the company contributes to the efficiency of European payments.

For additional information, please visit

The ICBPI Group is made up of highly specialised companies focusing on the design, planning and management of services for banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. ICBPI S.p.A. is specialised in traditional and innovative payment services, as well as financial and administrative services offered according to a BPO model. ICBPI also offers innovative and efficient solutions for the outsourced management of domestic and international payment systems (SEPA-compliant) for banks, Public Administrations and other companies. Key Client is focused on electronic payment systems (Cards, POS and ATM) and with HelpPhone on customer care services through a contact center. Oasi is a market leader in services such as managed systems, financial transaction tracking, reporting to the Central Bank, anti-money laundering and regulation compliance, retirement insurance fund management and data security.

For additional information, please visit

About Isabel
Isabel is a professional software developer and service provider specialising in bank automation and electronic invoicing. Isabel’s solutions are used by many financial institutions and associations all over Europe. 30 banks and 110,000 companies in Belgium are using Isabel online services. The Zoomit application developed by Isabel is integrated with the Internet banking solutions of the most important banks. It enables millions of consumers and SMEs to take advantage of e-invoicing technology. Isabel was founded in 1995 and has 130 employees.

For more information, please visit

02-12-2008: CBI/ABI event - Forum on e-Invoicing in Rome

September 16, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  1 Comment

On December 2nd and 3rd 2008, a forum is dedicated to amongst others international developments on electronic invoices, the analysis of international scenarios and the in-depth examination of business and technical aspects of the new advanced services dedicated to banks and enterprises. The event will take place in Rome.

This is the agenda of the event.

If you are interested in visiting this event, you can view the registration form here.



06-11-2008: Spanish Conference on electronic invoices in Seville

September 15, 2008  |  Adoption, Events  |  Comments Off

Encuentro de Expertos en Factura Electrónica, XBRL y Contratación Pública

The Encounter of Experts in Electronic Invoice, XBRL and Public Hiring, organized by the Association of Industrialists of Technologies of the Information and Communications of Andalusia, ETICOM and SANDETEL, public company of the Council of Innovation, Science and Company of the Andalusian Government, is the main event on Electronic Invoice, XBRL and and-administration organized to date in Andalusia.
With the participation of some of the best international and national experts in these fields, pertaining to organizations like the European Union, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce of Spain’s Govenment, the Tributary Agency, the Chamber of Commerce of Andalusia and RED.ES and FUNDETEC, the event has the objective of being a key event when it comes to electronic interchange of invoices, documents and financial statements, for both companies and public entities.
This new panorama appears to be a great opportunity of business for the companies of the sector TIC, besides to become for the administrations and public companies an instrument that remarkably improves the productivity and the quality of the service of attention to citizens and companies.

The entering in to force of the obligatory terms for companies to send electronic invoice to the Administration that will begin first at the beginning of 2009 for large companies. In November of 2010 it will extended to the entire private sector. It will also including hiring processes, administrative conflicts, tenders, VAT, et cetera. 
This first encounter of Experts in Electronic Invoice, XBRL and Public Hiring, will be held on 6 November 2008 in the Centro de Convenciones del Hotel Barceló of Seville. The event is invaluable for companies and public administrations.

Registration and ore information on

Compliance complexity inhibits implementing e-invoicing

September 15, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

Complexity of compliance is inhibiting almost half of European businesses from implementing e-Invoicing

At SIBOS, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, today unveiled research revealing that European businesses are struggling to fully exploit the benefits of electronic invoicing and are held back by a fear of complexity in addressing regulatory compliance requirements and legislation.

At a time when achieving cost efficiencies and effective resource utilization is crucial to maintaining competitive differentiation, the move from paper-based to electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) comes as a key opportunity for businesses today. In spite of this, the research found that 40 percent of European companies are yet to make a decision to implement an automated e-invoicing solution.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne across 400 IT managers in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, found that the most pressing e-invoicing concern for European businesses is compliance with national e-invoicing legislation. In addition, with 72 percent of European companies currently conducting business in more than six countries around the world, more than half admitted they were concerned about supporting disparate e-invoicing solutions across multiple geographies. A quarter of responses also negatively highlighted the complexities associated with implementing multiple solutions to handle value added tax (VAT) compliance and audit requirements across the countries in which they operate. 

“Knowing that more than half of the correspondents are doing business in the U.S. as well, the results are staggering that more than half of European businesses are struggling to effectively conduct business across global barriers,” said Chris Johnson, vice president, global management and marketing, B2B Integration for Sterling Commerce.  “The benefits of moving from paper-based to e-invoicing are widely known and accepted, yet the reality for many businesses is that even for e-invoicing projects that do receive budget approval, a dependence on multiple solutions to handle compliance with multiple VAT and tax regulations across different territories, is ultimately undermining project success.”

The research also discovered that 80 percent of respondents believed that their finance department could not quantify the amount of VAT at risk if the company was found to be non-compliant.

“One of the problems with any paper-based process is that it is often hard to track the costs and inefficiencies involved – the inefficient nature of the manual process itself prevents easy quantification of the potential savings,” continued Johnson. “If just from a commercial and competitive perspective, companies must move away from these highly inefficient processes. The costs and issues associated with paper-based invoicing, coupled with the associated lack of visibility into a company’s cash management do impact the bottom line, a risk that should be avoided particularly at a time when cost saving and effective resource utilization are so important.”

Sterling Commerce recently launched the first solution to market that enables multi-national organizations to automate electronic invoicing processes worldwide, while maintaining conformity with the tax regulations mandated by each of the particular regions. Sterling e-Invoice Gateway eliminates the need to support separate solutions for each geography; reduces risk and exposure by enabling compliance with ever-changing electronic invoicing tax regulations; and improves operational efficiencies and contains costs by automating both buyer and seller electronic invoice processes in accordance with country-specific tax regulations.

Sterling Commerce is exhibiting Sterling e-Invoice Gateway and its broad portfolio of Financial Services solutions at stand C617, hall C at SIBOS 2008, from Sept. 15-19, in Vienna. To find out more about Sterling Commerce activities, visit

About Sterling Commerce
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, helps customers thrive in a global economy by connecting their business communities, processes, people, and technology.  More than 30,000 customers worldwide – including 82 percent of the Fortune 500 – use Sterling Commerce solutions for business process integration, multi-channel selling, and supply chain fulfillment to improve profitability inside and outside their company walls.  Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Sterling Commerce has offices in 19 countries and most major cities around the world. More information on the company can be found at

Published by: Sterling Commerce


Legal uncertainty hinders electronic invoicing, says EU task force

September 6, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing  |  Comments Off

Electronic invoicing is underused across the EU due to technical complexity, legal uncertainty and operational constraints, according to a European Commission task force. A new e-invoicing framework could cut business supply chain costs by €243 billion, it claims.

Invoicing is central to the cash flow and liquidity of any trading organisation. Small improvements in efficiency can improve working capital, reduce gearing and bring better liquidity. The report by the Commission’s Informal Task Force on e-Invoicing cites research claiming that the average processing cost of a paper invoice across Europe is around €30. E-invoicing can cut that cost by 80%, it says.

A legal framework for e-invoicing is in place currently, but it does not work as it should, according to the report, which was published in July. Consequently, private and public sector organisations continue their reliance upon paper invoices.

The E-invoicing Directive, passed in 2001, required Member States to recognise the validity of electronic invoices and allow electronic storage. It set out mandatory items of information that must be included on every invoice; but it gave each Member State discretion to decide the details of the implementing legislation.
This discretion has resulted in diverse national laws. Some countries’ regimes are very strict and mistakes may result in e-invoices being classed as non-compliant for tax purposes, triggering penalties that can include fines and even imprisonment.

The report gives examples of the problems that exist today. In some countries, electronic invoices are subject to rigorous security requirements that the report describes as “overkill”. Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Hungary require digital signatures on e-invoices. These so-called qualified signatures must be based on digital certificates issued to natural persons – i.e. they cannot be based on a company’s certificate, according to the report.

Storage requirements for e-invoices also vary. Estonia allows complete freedom on the storage location for electronic invoices; Germany allows storage only in an EU Member State. The period for which e-invoices must be stored varies too: the mandatory period is three years in France and 10 years in Germany.

The report says the legal position is so complex for buyers and sellers because “e-invoicing lies at the crossroads of several areas of legislation – mainly VAT, accounting, payment, authentication, company transparency and data retention.”

The report recommends documenting all legal issues and developing the EEI Framework as a formal Recommendation of the European Commission. Current barriers should be addressed within a period of 18 months, it says.

The initial focus will be the Business to Business (B2B) market, followed by Business to Consumer (B2C) and Government to Citizen (G2C).

See: The European electronic invoicing report (38-page/203.1KB PDF)

From: the