Peppol started as a project for the European Union ‘Competitiveness and Innovation Programme’, which ran from May 2008 to August 2012. Its purpose was to solve issues in electronic public procurement and make it easier for European governments to trade.
Upon conclusion of this successful project, the OpenPeppol Association was founded in Belgium to continue work. This is a non-profit organisation consisting of both public sector and private members.
Today, countries from all around the globe use Peppol to enable cross-border commercial transactions. They are able to benefit from a unified set of standards for the exchange of data and to comply with international regulations.
How countries use Peppol
In general, Peppol is most commonly used in public procurement, supporting business-to-government (B2G) electronic invoicing obligations across Europe and beyond.
Not all countries use Peppol in the same way. Some countries have an open interoperability network and allow the use of various Access Points on the market by public entities - Sweden, Luxembourg, Germany etc . Others prefer having one main Access Point, used by the public entities - Greece, Belgium, France etc.
Belgium for example uses its official government portal, Mercurius, which integrates Peppol. All businesses sending invoices to Belgian public sector institutions are required to transmit e-invoices using Mercurius, which are then distributed using the Peppol network.
Europe’s use of Peppol
Europe is where Peppol started and today it plays a big role in electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) throughout the continent.
Currently, there are over 20 European countries that use the Peppol network in the base of their B2G e-invoicing legislations, including the likes of France, England, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.
When it comes to mandating e-invoicing, Denmark was the first to do so. Since 2005, suppliers of services and goods have been required to use e-invoicing while dealing with public institutions and public authorities. This is done through Denmark’s centralised ‘NemHandel’ network - the Danish e-invoicing system which operates using Peppol. An organisation’s accounting system must be connected to an access point which ensures the invoice data meets the necessary security standards.
Looking at Norway, one of the pioneers in Peppol having participated in the original PEPPOL project, the authorities have been increasing the use of catalogues and orders, as well as investigating the use of the Peppol infrastructure and the OpenPeppol governance model within other domains such as eGovernment and ePayment.
Peppol further afield
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and the United States all use Peppol to varying degrees, benefitting from its interoperability and cross-border commerce ability.
Singapore was the first country outside of Europe to embrace the framework. In 2018, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) became the first National Authority outside of Europe to join OpenPeppol as a Peppol Authority. Shortly after in 2019, it launched its nationwide e-invoicing network.
E-invoicing is voluntary for B2B transactions in Singapore and the country is promoting its usage among businesses. Since 2019, businesses have been able to exchange e-invoices via InvoiceNow which operates over the Peppol network. Recently, the country even released a digitalisation grants program, encouraging businesses to obtain an InvoiceNow ID and become part of the Peppol network.
Like Singapore, Australia has adopted Peppol too. As of 2022, all federal agencies and most state governments in Australia have been required to be able to receive e-invoices via Peppol.
Furthermore, the Australian Department of Treasury has designed a plan, the Business e-Invoicing Right (or BER), to promote the adoption of B2B e-invoicing using Peppol. It is expected that by 2025, businesses will be able to oblige their commercial trading partners to send invoices via Peppol. Initially, it is proposed that only large businesses will be legally required to send Peppol e-invoices upon receiving a valid request (expanded on later in the paper) from any business covered by the BER. The intention is that this legal obligation would expand over time so that medium-sized businesses and eventually small businesses will be legally required to send an e-invoice upon receipt of a valid request from any other business covered by the BER.
In a more recent development, Japan established its Peppol Authority in 2021 and is progressing with the country’s e-invoicing project. The initiative aims to increase the efficiency and productivity of businesses, but is also expected to bring new benefits to the public, including the creation of new business opportunities and pace towards the digital age.
As time passes, it’s expected that more countries across the globe will do the same. On the horizon is Malaysia, where the Peppol will form the basis of the country’s interoperability network.
Unifiedpost Group and Peppol
Unifiedpost Group is a certified Peppol Access Point provider.
Both our Banqup one-stop-shop solution for SMEs and our Channel solution for medium-large businesses, connect directly to many country’s use of Peppol all over the world. These solutions allow businesses of all sizes to utilise electronic document and data exchange, while ensuring tax and e-invoicing compliance in over 60 countries.
Our solutions take the stress out of compliance, save you time and ensure your business is planning for the future. Take a look at how you could benefit.