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Karen Lay-Brew recently spoke on behalf of ABSIA about what the decision to use the international standard PEPPOL means for Australian and New Zealand DSPs by drawing from the international experiences of European and other countries who have incentivised their economies to adopt e-Invoicing.

The Trans-Tasman team held this as a follow-up preliminary information session after the two countries' Prime Ministers announced they will  be adopting PEPPOL for the Single Economic Market approach to e-Invoicing. The representatives from the Trans-Tasman team shared their learnings from the recent trip to the OpenPEPPOL General Assembly.

The event was very successful with a capacity audience of over 100 attendees with approximately the same number watching the livestream. The livestream will be made available in the near future. 

If you missed Karen's presentation, please see the transcript of her speech below. Read more about the A-NZ e-Invoicing Forum here.

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Good Morning. It’s my privilege to present at this Forum on behalf of ABSIA.  Thank you to the Trans-Tasman eInvoicing team for inviting me to say a few words.

Last month, the decision to adopt PEPPOL was announced. A year ago, the A&NZ PMs decided that the two countries will do eInvoicing under Trans-Tasman Single Economic Market approach. One of the anticipated benefits is to reduce payment times to the SMEs.  

From technology perspective, 

  • it is already possible to deliver, receive and pay invoices pretty much immediately.  
  • eInvoicing is a Small slice in the Procurement process. It forms a good platform for Contract Management and end-to-end Digital Procurement, and PEPPOL already contains components for that digital transformation.

Here are a few points of interest for the DSPs:  

  • PEPPOL works for both public sector and B2B interoperability.
  • Any changes to the PEPPOL standards are consulted widely and voted by the 300+ OpenPEPPOL members in 32 countries.  It’s a democratic process that can’t be unduly influence by one or two loudest voices. 
  • The technology architecture, training, implementation and governance processes have been used and refined over the last 12 years in Europe.
  • What that means to us is – going PEPPOL will make Trans-Tasman eInvoicing implementation faster because we won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Using Open technology creates opportunity for our local technology companies to expand to the rest of the world. At the same time, international companies will want to participate in our eInvoicing markets. We must anticipate, be prepared and start taking action.

eInvoicing in Asia:
Asian countries are our neighbours. At the ASEAN Single Window Trade Symposium in Nov2018, they discussed eSupplyChain and eInvoicing between ASEAN nations. BTW, eInvoicing is not new to most Asian countries, eg Malaysia started using it in early 2015, Mongolia mandated eInv. All Indonesian companies have had to use eInvoicing since 1/7/2016. Singapore’s national eInvoicing went live in January this year with the Government as the first adopter, and their plan is that all businesses will use eInvoicing. 

Last year, Singapore Government became the first national authority outside of Europe to join OpenPEPPOL. At the General Assembly 2 weeks ago, NZ and Australia were welcomed into the OpenPEPPOL community. I am hoping that these 3 nations together can inspire and assist other nations in the region to go PEPPOL. 

The Australian Government has a policy to build and support a vibrant technology industry. Over the last few years, quite a number of ABSIA and industry members have invested significantly in state and federal eInvoicing pilots.  

A plea to our Government Colleagues: when you move from pilot to implementation, please – give opportunity to the small and medium technology providers and not go just to the usual big vendors.

Governance: 
ABSIA fully supports OpenPEPPOL. We also welcome the oversight if ANZEIB. 
One request I do have for the Minister: on the governance board, please include industry stakeholders who will be instrumental to help build a robust ecosystem with strong participation by the private sector.

Adoption: 
A quick look at what other countries have been doing:

  • In the 28 EU countries, all levels of public administrations have to send & receive eInvoices by April 2020. 17 countries have already made it mandatory for B2G transactions to use eInvoicing.  
  • Denmark and Italy have gone further and mandated B2B eInvoicing, and other EU countries are considering that too.
  • In some countries, governments have provided grants or subsidies.  
  • Singapore has allocated S$30m to help with early adoption in the private sector.
  • Globally, 12 countries have already mandated B2B eInvoicing, and a total of 55 countries have or are considering making B2G eInvoicing mandatory – including China.  

Adoption is consistently the biggest challenge– even with compelling reasons, many factors get in the way of success. Can’t under-estimate adoption effort if we want to achieve anywhere near the estimated economic benefits. I urge the Ministers to VERY strongly encourage all parts of the economy to adopt Trans-Tasman eInvoicing, and allocate sufficient budget to support it. 

ABSIA:
Allow me to summarise by telling you a bit about ABSIA.

  • ABSIA has been on the eInvoicing journey since the start in Nov2015, and have been vocal for Australia to adopt PEPPOL. 
  • Happy to announce that ABSIA was approved as a member of OpenPEPPOL a month ago, and one of our members attended the recent General Assembly, also on behalf of ABSIA.  
  • We have already started participating in OpenPEPPOL working groups.
  • ABSIA’s Director and Head of eInvoicing attended the PEPPOL training workshop in Singapore, and the material has been shared on our Special Interest Group Forum where members can hold discussions and be kept updated of progress.

One final announcement: On 30/4/2019, ABSIA will hold a webinar for Introductory PEPPOL training, 
1) how to install an open access point, 
2) a demo of OpenPEPPOL compliance infra, and 
3) a rep from a company which provides AP-as-a-service.  

If you are not already a member, please join ABSIA.