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Belgium adopts European Commission system for e-Invoicing

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Major cost savings for administration and suppliers expected

The Belgian Federal Government has announced that it will reuse e-PRIOR, a system already used by the European Commission, for e-Invoicing in the future. The objective of the Federal Government is to receive 25% of invoices from their suppliers in electronic format by the end of this legislature, i.e. June 2014. e-PRIOR has the advantage that it can be rapidly implemented in order to meet this objective.

The software has been developed by the Commission with the support of the ISA programme, the European Commission’s programme to foster interoperability, sharing and re-use between European Public administrations.

As announced by Mr Olivier Chastel in the press release of the Cabinet of the Minister for Budget and Administrative simplification, e-Invoicing is a major project in the context of administrative cost savings for the companies and part of the modernisation of the public service, which has the role to lead by example.

In 2012, the Federal public service received about 1.2 million invoices. The Belgian Government estimates that electronic invoicing can save 1.84€ per invoice for the supplier and 6.49€ for the receiver. The potential benefits per year can therefore reach 2 million euros for the suppliers and 7.5 million for the public service.

Services that will take up e-Invoicing have been granted the right to invest half of the savings in the improvement of their services. Advertising e-Invoicing towards their suppliers will help these services thus both saving money and investing in a more efficient running of their own services.

The Belgian Government chose to reuse e-PRIOR, mainly because it could be rapidly implemented in order to meet the outlined objectives. Other factors that favoured the choice of the e-PRIOR platform as the e-Invoicing solution for the Belgian Government:

  • e-PRIOR is a free open-source solution and available to any interested public administration
    (downloadable at http://joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/openeprior/home)
  • e-PRIOR is based on European standards (CEN/BII)
  • Suppliers can connect to e-PRIOR through a service provider of their choice
  • A web portal is also available for SMEs and individuals.

The Belgian e-Invoicing solution is expected to be ready by September 2013.