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What is Peppol?

July 7, 2022

Peppol is a secure, international network that allows businesses to exchange documents and data with anyone else registered as part of the network.

What does Peppol stand for?

Peppol stands for Pan-European Public Procurement Online. Peppol began as a project for the European Union ‘Competitiveness and Innovation Programme’, running from May 2008 to August 2012.

The project was developed to solve issues in electronic public procurement and make it easier for European governments to trade. Ultimately, the end goal was to standardise cross-border, electronically supported, procurement procedures for European countries.

Following the conclusion of the successful project, the OpenPeppol Association was founded in Belgium to continue work. The OpenPeppol Association is a non-profit organisation consisting of both public sector and private members.

Peppol Compliance: Why do businesses use Peppol?

Businesses favour Peppol as it’s a simple and secure way to complete electronic transactions, such as e-invoices and procurement documents.

E-invoicing is becoming more widely adopted because of the way it benefits business processes, such as improving simplicity, security, and more importantly, time and cost. Additionally, governments around the world are now putting e-invoicing mandates in place to enable them to better monitor and enforce tax laws and collect VAT from businesses.

Since the 18th of April 2020, all EU public sector organisations have been required by law to receive Peppol invoices. The theory behind this decision is that it makes it simpler for businesses to trade throughout Europe, without needing to deal with different national standards.

Peppol is an open network and interoperable, meaning it possesses the ability for different devices and systems to communicate smoothly, without effort from the user. Anyone who is registered can use it and, as an example, governments do not need to put their own system in place, instead making use of the Peppol across the country.

In addition to this, some public sector bodies, such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), champion the use of the network. In recent years, the NHS has transitioned its Supply Chain to using Peppol standards. It was announced that from 1st October 2019, all Electronic Data Interchange (the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format, known as EDI) were to be sent via the Peppol network moving forward.

Who can use Peppol?

There are OpenPeppol members in 38 countries currently, and companies within these locations are able to benefit from the easy exchange of documents across borders.

In Europe, Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Sweden and Italy are among several others who are part of the network. Outside of Europe, countries such as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand have also utilised the network to exchange electronic invoices.

How does Peppol work?

Firstly, when businesses are looking to set themselves up with Peppol services, they need to be with a provider that has a certified Access Point, such as Unifiedpost Group.

Once this is set up, the supplier can send e-invoices, and other electronic document types, to the Access Point which will then validate the document to ensure it can be sent via the Peppol network. After this check is complete, the look-up searches for the recipient’s Peppol ID and then the document is sent to the buyer’s Access Point to then be validated and processed into their accounts payable (AP) system.

The invoice from the supplier is entered into the buyer’s system automatically, saving time by removing the need for manual data entry and checks.

What is a PEPPOL Access Point?

A Peppol Access Point is a software provided by a company that allows other businesses to connect to the Peppol network and share documents following the specific rules and standards.

Peppol's 4-corner model is basically about being decentralized and flexible:

The benefits of Peppol

  1. Process automation: Peppol increases the automation of processes from ordering to payment, eliminating the need for email transmission, which enhances overall efficiency.
  2. Fast and cost-effective implementation: Peppol provides a swift and efficient way to implement e-invoicing without needing a large budget.
  3. Reduced market fragmentation: By standardising the transmission channel, Peppol minimises market fragmentation, ensuring a uniform approach to e-invoicing.
  4. Broad application (B2G, B2B, B2C): Peppol is designed to be versatile, facilitating e-invoicing not just for business-to-government (B2G) but also for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.
  5. Openness and interoperability: Peppol fosters openness and interoperability, particularly cross-border interoperability, without the need for national Customisation Implementations (CIUS).

Choosing the right provider

It’s crucial to choose an e-invoicing provider that can connect to Peppol and other local networks.

At Unifiedpost Group, we are a certified Peppol Access Point provider and are tax compliant in over 60 countries. Our electronic invoicing solution is compatible with numerous B2B and country-specific government networks.

Using our services, businesses can easily create e-invoices in a format that works for them, and our solution will exchange their documents and data to the recipient (network, business or individual receiver).

By Stanislava Filcheva
Banqup's E-invoicing and E-reporting Compliance Officer

Stanislava has a vast background in accounting and finance, which transitioned her to a role in e-invoicing and tax compliance with Unifiedpost Group in 2020. She studied Industrial Management, which provided her with a comprehensive understanding of financial, managerial, and engineering sciences and processes. Stanislava is fluent in four languages and has experience working with many international companies all over the globe.

Connect with Stanislava on LinkedIn
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