If you’re even slightly familiar with business-to-government transactions in Europe, you’ve probably heard of PEPPOL. And now that it’s making its way into the business-to-business space, the term is only getting more popular by the minute. But just because you’ve heard of it doesn’t mean you understand it. Read on to learn everything you need to know about PEPPOL, from what it is and why it began to how it’s helping to create a safer document exchange environment in Europe and abroad.
To get started, it doesn’t hurt to know that PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine. Thanks, in part, to European funding, it was established in 2008 for the purpose of creating a common technical standard for electronic document exchange (eProcurement) for national and international trade in Europe. From the beginning, the main reason for introducing a primary standard for eProcurement was to build a community centered around secure data exchange between trading partners without imposing on the right of any business to choose their own service provider (in other words, an EDI or e-invoicing provider).
What is the PEPPOL Network?
To elaborate, any business can join the international community by connecting to a digital infrastructure known as the PEPPOL network via PEPPOL Access Points—but not without proper verification. The PEPPOL network is governed by a non-profit organization called OpenPEPPOL, which is, simply put, responsible for the success and integrity of the network. To stay on track, the organization has four major ambitions which all point to a Digital Single Market for both business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) eProcurement in Europe.
What is a PEPPOL Authority?
Because the success of the PEPPOL network is highly dependent on the cooperation of countless public and private sector entities, OpenPEPPOL delegates its tasks to national PEPPOL authorities by means of private law contracts in order to preserve the safety, reliability, and interoperability of the PEPPOL network. In addition to the contracts with OpenPEPPOL, these authorities enter into individual contracts with service providers so that they may provide PEPPOL Access Points to their customers.
TIE Kinetix is a PEPPOL Access Point
To provide a better explanation of how this all works in practice, here’s an example:
As of October 1st, 2020, the Nederlandse Peppolautoriteit (NPa) under the Dutch Ministry of the Interior has replaced the Simplerinvoicing Foundation as the official Dutch PEPPOL Authority. This means that the contract signed between the Simplerinvoicing Foundation and OpenPEPPOL is no longer valid. Instead, there is a new contract indicating that it is the NPa’s obligation to resume the tasks previously carried out by Simplerinvoicing. That is, the obligation to preserve the safety, reliability, and interoperability of the PEPPOL network. With this agreement also comes the need for the NPa to enter into contracts with service providers in the Netherlands that wish to serve as PEPPOL Access Points. TIE Kinetix is one service provider that has entered into this agreement and is currently a PEPPOL Access Point for its customers.
Why Join the PEPPOL Network?
As previously mentioned, the PEPPOL network is an international community. It began in Europe, but has now expanded to include Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, enabling its members to safely send e-invoices and other eProcurement documents to public and private sector institutions worldwide. Because of the rigorous verification process that all connected organizations must undergo before being accepted, sending business documents to trading partners via the this network is a much safer alternative to other exchange protocols like email (SMTP).
Additionally, the verification process makes it possible for each connected organization to receive a unique PEPPOL ID, eliminating questionable sender identities, manual-entry errors, and more. And if you choose a service provider like TIE Kinetix as a PEPPOL Access Point, you’ll have instant access to the entire PEPPOL network. This will allow you to securely and reliably send e-invoices to anyone and everyone in the network.
This post was written by Courtney Yocabet, Global Marketing Specialist based in Breukelen, the Netherlands
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