How the Netherlands is preparing to meet the European Directive on eInvoicing

With the impending eInvoice deadline in April 2019, the Dutch story aims to inspire the fellow Member States on how to approach their national eInvoicing implementation journey.

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Setting up a Public Procurement Expertise Centre

To meet the European eInvoicing deadline the Dutch government created a Unit Invoicing at the Public Procurement Expertise Centre (PIANOo).  PIANOo was set up to professionalise the Dutch procurement and tendering process in all government departments. The Dutch government procures around €73 billion worth of work, services and supplies every year and a standardised electronic procurement, based on the European eInvoicing standard, aims to ensure quality in government services and a sustainable market. PIANOo’s tasks are to support local government to implement eInvoicing. The Connecting European Facility (CEF) played an inspirational role in how they set-up their organisation and defined the services they provide to their stakeholders. 

Bring stakeholders together at roadshows

Prior to PIANOo being set up, numerous eInvoicing tools and systems were in place which resulted in a fractured and siloed ecosystem. Authorities were waiting for guidance and PIANOo stepped in and created a user platform to steer and guide the discussion. By following the lead of CEF and the Nordic Member States, the Dutch have adopted the PEPPOL four-corner model.

Using CEF eInvoicing services as an example, PIANOo developed a set of services in Dutch to guide local governments through their implementation

To support local authorities, PIANOo organised 26 roadshows across the Netherlands in 2017. At each roadshow, the PIANOo team presented the benefits and steps required to get started to 6 or 7 municipalities. Besides the roadshow, PIANOo also organised service providers fair for public administrators to meet with service providers and identify which solution would best meet their needs.

Market-driven solutions

PIANOo did not provide a standard eInvoicing implementation; instead, they focussed on awareness raising, giving guidance and bringing public and private sector stakeholders together. By encouraging a market-driven approach; providers have been able to sell services based on the European standard. By adopting this approach, it enabled service providers to offer different packages according to user needs such as Access Points, Finance and ERP systems.

PIANOo is in contact with the CEF team in Brussels, where it can share best practice examples with fellow member states and seek guidance from CEF when needed.

PIANOo even implemented a performance monitoring system in mid-2017 to track the progress of municipalities to ensure the Netherlands meets the deadline next April.

Source: PIANOo

The benefits of eInvoicing

Besides their story, PIANOo also emphasises that their central message to all stakeholders is that they will benefit greatly from implementing eInvoicing. These are the key benefits they share with their stakeholders:

  • Promotes cross-border eInvoicing
  • Reduces administrative burden
  • Contributes to operational savings
  • Contributes to the environment
  • Contributes to process automation
  • Prompt payment of invoices

According to PIANOo, the reduction of paper and carbon footprint associated with transportation of invoices is an environmental byproduct of eInvoicing. A significant benefit, however, is the overall cost reduction and time-saving for public entities and service providers.  

To conclude, PIANOo’s mission to implement eInvoicing succeeded because it reached out and engaged with the market and public sector to create a user-friendly platform that shares expertise and provides best practice cases with local governments and suppliers. CEF served as an inspiration, and by adapting it to the Dutch market, PIANOo is an example for fellow Member States on how local adoption of CEF services and tools can lead to national success.

This project was funded through a CEF Telecom grant. See how your project can also benefit from EU funding.

Are you ready for eInvoicing in public procurement?  

Last updated on  Dec 11, 2018 18:38
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