Feb 25, 2016 News

Fedict becomes the Belgian PEPPOL Authority

Fedict, the Belgian federal public service for information and communication technology, has become a PEPPOL Authority by signing a Community Agreement with OpenPEPPOL AISBL.

Since 2013, Belgium has been active in the field of e-Invoicing, when the federal government initiated a pilot project aiming to validate the feasibility of Business-to-Government e-Invoicing, and identify key success factors for broad adoption of e-invoicing, beyond the B2G boundaries. The Flemish government also joined the pilot phase, adding a regional dimension to the project. During the pilot phase, the public services involved and their suppliers came to a major finding; that the model used for on-boarding parties would be much too complex to fit to the upcoming large-scale deployment which consisted of several hundreds of distinct customer entities and more than 30.000 suppliers. The traditional approach required far too much IT competence and customizations would inevitably arise, leading to far too many obstacles on the path towards massive adoption at an affordable price.

The government instead decided to replace their supplier interface with a PEPPOL interface. This choice dramatically reduces the need for suppliers to have IT knowledge and skills and enables one-step adoption of e-invoicing, instead of the classical party-per-party approach which is one of the main causes of the high entry costs for e-Invoicing implementations. Adopting PEPPOL does not mean that sending invoices to each customer will become 100% standard, however differences will now fully pertain to the business discussions, which also exist in paper-based invoicing, but cannot be addressed without electronic transmission of invoices. PEPPOL enables a standard exchange of information for all invoices between all parties while bringing advanced point-to- point integration and optimization to a new dimension.

Fedict is in charge of Mercurius, the gateway that receives all invoices for Belgian public entities and distributes them to their receivers. To highlight the importance of this decision to the e-Invoicing integration sector, Fedict decided to outsource the set-up and operation of Mercurius to a competent player in the market. The RFP was published in August 2015 and the contract was awarded in December. Mercurius is expected to be connected to PEPPOL by the end of Q1/2016.

In parallel, in order to effectively promote adoption of e-Invoicing across Belgium, Fedict decided to become a PEPPOL Authority for Belgium. Indeed, B2G e-Invoicing and B2B e-Invoicing are intertwined; it is highly questionable that B2G e-Invoicing could become a reality without B2B e-Invoicing also taking off. In partnership with other public and private organizations and federations (local, regional and federal), Fedict will run awareness programs and discussion platforms, as a PEPPOL authority is expected to do. Fedict will also contribute to the evolution of standards that is required to make e-procurement a reality and a success for all involved parties.

Contact: Serge Libert: Serge.Libert@fedict.be