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Successful pilot: It is proven that small and medium-sized companies can exchange e-invoices and digital orders between all Nordic countries

The reuse of business data in the sales and purchase process has great potential. To enable reuse at the Nordic level, the region’s two million SMEs must be able to send and receive electronic documents across national borders.  The pilot demonstrated that SMEs can use online invoices and digital orders between all Nordic countries.

Positive results from NSG&B’s pilot work

Since the end of 2021, NSG&B*) has implemented a pilot project to facilitate the use of electronic documents. The goal of the pilot has been to test the contact points of the Peppol network together with service providers and SMEs acting as buyers and sellers.

The results of the pilot indicate that SMEs can send and receive e-invoices and electronic orders in a standardised format through the Peppol network from all Nordic countries.

– We have done very good Nordic cooperation with private-market actors, says Jan Andre Mærøe, NSG&B project manager for digital business documents and product information.

– I want to thank everyone involved for their efforts and time invested. The tests and documentation of the e-invoice and order model could not have been carried out without the active participation and contribution of the service providers. Together, we have shown that the core of NSG&B, i.e., using structured business information from the beginning in connection with buying and selling, really works across national borders in the Nordic countries, Mærøe continues.

Facts about pilot work

The pilots regarding e-invoices and electronic orders, i.e., procurement messages, have been implemented in close cooperation with Nordic service providers and SMEs. Service providers have participated by reviewing processes for testing and suggesting specific ways to ensure semantic and technical interoperability. The pilots have been implemented in a production environment where existing SMEs send and receive e-invoices and orders.

Supporting SMEs in cross-border business

The pilot project gathered information about service providers that can offer SMEs solutions that facilitate cross-border buying and selling processes. A list of these service providers has been published on the NSG&B website. New Peppol-BIS-capable service providers are added to the list upon application.

Businesses can already now use standard models and the Peppol network nationally in their business processes to facilitate and simplify their processes. Finland was accepted as a member of the OpenPeppol network in August 2022. The State Treasury acts as the national Peppol authority.

Trade and digital documents – the core of the operation

Trading is the core of all companies’ operations, and business data is generated in business transactions. When organisations deal with sales and purchases in a digitally compatible format throughout the Nordic countries, they really use the power of digitalisation.

Using structured data from the start when buying and selling is the foundation of what NSG&B aims for. Data is generated in day-to-day business processes, but to take advantage of high-quality structured data, buyers and sellers must find and use good services and digital business systems that help them be in control of the data. The pilot now implemented is therefore a key part of NSG&B’s core operations and of the value it produces for Nordic SMEs.

New pilots ready to go

Pilot work is now being continued in the field of digital product catalogues and eReceipts. Digital product catalogues are being prepared, and eReceipts are planned for introduction during spring 2023.

Regarding product catalogues, it is particularly interesting to include environmental information. This allows for analysing the environmental footprint over a slightly longer period of time, and environmental information can be delivered to the authorities smoothly and efficiently.

– It is important to help create good capability for digital business systems to accomplish an environment where buyers and sellers can more easily exchange business and environmental information and automatically reuse information obtained from digital documents such as orders, invoices and receipts, says NSG&B implementation manager Sherry Warsi.

The Real-Time Economy project collaborates with NSG&B

Finland’s national digital economy development project works closely with NSG&B.

– To a great extent, the Real-Time Economy project and NSG&B have the same goals and a common vision: In 2030, we will have a national ecosystem for business actors that would be compatible with similar systems in other Nordic countries. It would allow seamless, real-time and secure transmission of orders, e-invoices, digital receipts and business data between parties. This is why we promote goals in close cooperation and implement, for example, joint trials that benefit all Nordic countries. We want to show the way for pan-European development, says Minna Rintala, project manager of the Real-Time Economy project.

Original article in English published on the NSG&B website.

*) Nordic Smart Government and Business

NSG&B’s vision is to create value for SMEs by making real-time business information available and usable for innovation and growth throughout the Nordic region automatically, based on consent and securely.

The core idea in the project is that structured business information can be shared automatically, allowing it to replace the burdensome manual processing in information exchange. This means harmonising digital systems and services instead of differentiating them and requires collaboration between industries that use business data.

NSG&B is an open collaborative programme jointly managed by government agencies, sharing knowledge with a wider stakeholder community. Joint development does not grant exclusive rights or rights to information access.

To the Nordic Smart Government & Business project website

, Updated 20.9.2022 at 00:00