Category Archives: European Union

Surveys Show that CEOs & CFOs Are Positive About Future Growth Both in Ireland & Abroad

Irish CEOs prepare their companies for growth

CEOs are tackling the major business challenges that their businesses are facing and with that comes confidence in the future. A new survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers adds to the positivity about the Irish economy and its recovery; it’s entitled “CEOs eyeing up growth: PwC’s 2013 CEO Pulse Survey”.

The findings indicate that confidence in the Irish economy is at its highest level since the recession began what seems like way back in 2007.

PwC CEO Pulse Survey diagram on Planned restructuring activities in the year ahead

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New Directive Looking to Standardise e-Invoicing Across the EU

The European Commission has released a draft directive on e-Invoicing in public procurement that communicates its vision to fully digitalise by 2020.

Digital Agenda for Europe



This directive is part of the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative, which is a pillar of the EU 2020 strategy. EU 2020 is a growth strategy that is trying to ensure the EU remains one of the major players in global sustainable business and make sure that the European economies emerge from recession stronger than ever and more unified. This Digital Agenda initiative is looking to boost the EU economy by harnessing digital technologies and maximising their growth potential within the member state economies. By creating smart economies the EU is looking to take advantage of growth opportunities that technology is offering in a digital age.

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Mexico & Italy Making e-Invoicing Mandatory in 2014

e-Invoicing to become the standard for conducting business

From the first of January 2014 the Mexican government will demand that invoices are sent electronically for all commercial transactions. This follows a worldwide trend of governments enforcing electronic invoicing as the standard way of conducting business.



Worldwide reports consistently illustrate the growth of e-Invoicing. e-Invoicing is not new to Mexico, they have had it for the last seven years, but with the proposed legislation it will become mandatory to send e-invoices as a receipt of all business transactions. The law will affect any company that earns $20,000 or more annually and will come into effect on January 1st 2014. Companies that don’t comply with the legislation will be subject to heavy penalties and could face criminal fraud charges. The announcement of the legislation has meant a major scramble by companies to prepare themselves and their back office systems for the January deadline.

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Billentis: 2013 e-Invoicing & e-Billing Forecast by Bruno Koch

Recently Billentis published their “E-Billing/E-Invoicing: International Overview & Forecast” for 2013, which was carried out by market analyst and e-Billing expert, Bruno Koch.

Koch’s forecast for e-Invoicing and e-Billing in 2013 is upbeat; it is seen as one of the major areas of growth for the European economy. He’s estimated that the service provider community will generate an e-Billing/e-Invoicing turnover of about €1.7 Billion.

e-Billing/e-Invoicing Forecast for 2013 by Bruno Koch

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EU eProcurement Framework Agreed

In early February, in a further boost to electronic trading across the European Union, the Competitiveness Council created a set of goals designed to promote online trade and electronic invoicing. Meeting in Denmark, various ministers laid out a timeline promoting several web-based trading systems with a view to doubling online sales by 2015.

The push for greater use of business technology is also reflected by attempts to grow online public markets until 2016, and e-Invoicing until at least 2020. The Danish EU presidency presented figures to ministers suggesting that growth of the digital single market would undoubtedly grow European GDP, perhaps by as much as four per cent over the next eight years.

EU eProcurement Framework AgreedThe European Commission recognise that at present digital public procurement markets remain a relatively niche sector of the wider marketplace, but the well documented benefits of switching from manual to digital processing should benefit member states in the long run. Factoring in reductions in manual administration should also help reduce costs and foster a greater degree of competition between suppliers at the point of tender.

During the same meeting, ministers backed the findings of the European Commission publication ‘e-Invoicing: Reaping the benefits of electronic invoicing for Europe’, which suggests increased adoption of the technology for cross-border e-Invoicing for member states. The report suggests that introduction of e-Invoicing between Eurozone members will significantly improve international supply chains across Europe creating working capital gains in excess of £300 million.

The move towards greater use of eProcurement systems and increased online trading comes in the same week that the European Union legislated for the new Single European Payments Area (SEPA), designed to facilitate easier banking across the region. Although the EU still trails behind several South American countries in their use of e-Procurement and invoicing, these recent changes will finally start to see that change.



EU Sets SEPA Deadline for February 2014

SEPA. The 32 member states of the Single Euro Payments Area and two non-members

The 32 member states of the Single Euro Payments Area and two non-members. Source: Wikipedia

In a busy week for The European Union’s law makers, an agreement has finally been put in place to increase the ease with which businesses and consumers can make and receive bank payments across member states. The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) legislation has been agreed and will come into force on February 1st 2014, forcing banks to be more transparent about international payments and eliminate hidden charges.

The changes brought about by SEPA are intended to save around €123 billion in bank charges over six years through cuts in transaction fees billed to businesses within the EU. The major benefit of SEPA however will be the reduction in the number of bank accounts required for a business to trade effectively with the Eurozone to just one.

SEPA will allow companies or individuals to maintain a single bank account in any European country of their choice and make Euro transactions to any other account, anywhere in Europe. Individuals working ‘abroad’ will also benefit as they will no longer be required to open a new bank account in the host country; payments can still be made to their bank at home minimising the problems associated with setting up a new account in a foreign country.

MEPs are also expecting the efficiencies created by SEPA to encourage further use of electronic invoicing across member states. The bulk of the estimated €123 billion in savings is predicted to come from the ease of making and receiving electronic payments coupled with e-invoicing. This will create a more efficient, inter-operable framework.

Technically SEPA has been in force since January 2008, but a low take up has forced legislators’ hands. This latest decision by MEPs ensures that the February 2014 deadline is legally binding.



What is PEPPOL?

Since the announcement of the e-Invoicing & PEPPOL project last week by Minister Brian Hayes, the Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works there has been much online and offline discussion about the nature and origin of the project itself. In my last post on the subject I stated that e-Invoicing isn’t new to Ireland. Indeed, Celtrino has been helping Irish companies do it for more than 20 years. But PEPPOL is new to Ireland and the purpose of this post is to provide a brief overview of PEPPOL.

So, what is PEPPOL?

PEPPOL stands for the Pan-European Public Procurement Online project.

At a high level, PEPPOL is an EU initiated and funded e-Procurement project to enable seamless cross-border e-Procurement, connecting communities through standards-based solutions.

In particular, PEPPOL will enable any company in any EU member state to respond to any tender across the EU. Therefore, any Irish or EU company will be able to tender for government projects in any EU member state.


Government inefficiency, particularly government procurement inefficiency is the focus of PEPPOL. Less than 5% of total procurement budgets are awarded electronically and only 1.6% of contracts are supplied by an entity in another Member State. It is estimated that if e-Procurement is adopted by all European contracting authorities, annual savings could exceed €50B.

How will PEPPOL work?

PEPPOL will remove the technical and procedural barriers to public procurement by enabling European businesses to deal electronically with any public buyers in their procurement processes.
PEPPOL is a document exchange service enabling e-Delivery of business documents between government agencies and private companies.


The PEPPOL project was set-up in 1998 and  is currently in test phase in 12 EU member states.
Ireland is an active participant along with Austria,  Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Greece, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Celtrino is a key member of the Irish PEPPOL project and our public sector project partner is the Health Service Executive (HSE).


Global Financial Crisis – The Basis for e-Invoicing Success?

Success, Profit, BusinessAs any business owner knows, particularly those in the SME market, securing credit from a bank is nigh on impossible at the moment. Concerns about capitalisation and liquidity are causing banks to keep hold of cash, making loans to businesses extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. As a result wider economic growth is stalled as businesses cannot afford to invest in order to expand. Consequently, companies are being forced to identify efficiencies and costs savings which can potentially free up cash for re-investment, undertaking detailed analysis of financial routines in way that during the “good times” may have been neglected.

These internal reviews are forcing businesses to look ever harder at their own cash flow and the way it is managed. Many have already discovered that the process streamlining available through e-Invoicing has significant benefits, particularly when extended to the wider financial supply chain. The automation of various accounting functions reduces workload whilst maintaining the controls required for low-level financial analysis.

The European Union’s continued promotion of e-Invoicing coupled with similar requirements of many national governments are steadily moving businesses towards electronic invoice presentation and payment anyway, but the global financial instability could be accelerating uptake too. The political drive to increase e-Invoicing should see the concept reach critical mass with SMEs in the next few years and as uptake climbs, so too should use of these platforms in the B2B markets as well as the B2G.

So at a time where literally every penny counts, business decision makers should be following the lead set by the European Union and investigating the potential benefits and savings available through business process automation and outsourcing. e-Invoicing could be one of the ways to ensure business survival and growth despite the apparent obstructions put up banks.

Cloud computing, e-commerce and how automating your documents can save you big

“Supply chains that rely on paper-based purchasing, order and inventory reconciliation, and all-important billing and payments, are prone to error, are going to be subject to delay and query, and require a lot of labour to control (…)” Read on our ‘Battle of supply chains’ post.


EDI – Did You Know?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)DI, or Electronic Data Interchange to give it its full title, has been around as a “standard” since the 1970s, facilitating data transfer between businesses ever since. The idea of providing a strict data structure which would facilitate data transfer between computer systems without involving human intervention, thus reducing the space for human error, was immediately attractive.

Skip forward 30 years and the attraction of automation and reduced intervention remains very attractive. In fact, so attractive that there are currently more than 50 different EDI standards in active use across the European Union.


The advent of the flexible data interchange markup language XML in the 1990s, immediately allowed business sectors who believed that their market vertical was significantly different to others to create their own EDI standards. The ease of use meant that just about anyone could define and implement their own standard to meet their needs, whether or not something suitable already existed.

Even the European Union got in on the act, creating an EDI standard specifically for short distance sea trips, such as ferry crossings between England and France, as a distinctly separate standard to that in place for long haul shipping.


This proliferation of standards is not such a problem for businesses operating solely within a particular sector, but any who supply to multiple industries or sectors will need to implement several different systems to cope with the EDI demands of each customer. Not only is such a system hugely complex to implement and manage, it is seldom cost effective either.

Clearly, pulling out of the market altogether is not an option, but a system which interacts transparently with all required formats without intervention is preferable. A system which requires no on-going maintenance and is hosted externally is even more desirable because of the potential cost savings available.

The future?

The UN and EU have both tasked committees with finding a way to condense their own plethora of competing standards; despite their best efforts they were only able to rationalise 12 different e-invoicing standards into two. Neither committee was able to find a way of bending the standards to meet every need.

The solution clearly lies in finding a system which allows industries, sectors and sub-sectors to continue with their current EDI formats, but which translates electronic invoicing and payment data automatically and transparently into the correct format for both supplier and purchaser. Such a system immediately reduces the burden on businesses looking to trade across industries, reducing their own EDI implementations to just one, externally hosted solution.


To find out how Celtrino’s Smart Admin platform could help reduce your EDI implementation complexities, please contact us at +353 1 873 99 02.