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Austria mandates eInvoicing to the public sector, fostering PEPPOL adoption

by Enrique Vich created on 28/06/2012 01:10

By January 1, 2013, the new VAT Directive regarding the rules on invoicing[1] which enforces equal treatment between paper and electronic invoices, will come into force in all Member States. By this time, all Austrian federal services will be able to receive eInvoices and from January 1st, 2014, all Austrian suppliers (and foreign suppliers that have the technical means) of the Austrian Federal Government are obliged to use eInvoices according to the Austrian ICT consolidation law (IKTKonG)[2]. The use of the PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) Transport Infrastructure for sending eInvoices, based on PEPPOL specifications is an accepted method of eInvoicing in Austria.

PEPPOL, the EU co-funded project has developed specifications for eProcurement processes in Europe. The Austrian Federal government is currently using the PEPPOL eInvoicing specifications and the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure in addition to the Austrian national eInvoicing format ‘ebInterface’. While the method of handling eInvoices is the same for PEPPOL and national eInvoices, the difference lies primarily in the transmission methods. 

 eInvoices based on ebInterface as well as PEPPOL invoices from domestic suppliers are sent to the Austrian Federal Government through the Unternehmensserviceportal (USP), the one-stop-shop business service portal of the Austrian public administration, via ER>B, the federal site, for sending eInvoices after authenticated application. 

PEPPOL invoices can be transmitted to the Austrian Federal Government by foreign and domestic suppliers using the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure. In either case, the eInvoice is directly submitted to the accounting system of the Austrian Federal Government which triggers the same handling process. Therefore, PEPPOL eInvoices in Austria are already an integral part of eInvoicing developments.

 Since January 2012, 42virtual Business Services GmbH has been billing services, on a monthly basis, to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) as part of the PEPPOL project. By the end of 2011, the first eInvoices were sent by 42virtual using the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure and a structured UBL eInvoice, with exchange, audit and approval of the invoices now carried out electronically. Wolfgang Schneider, CEO of 42virtual, emphasised that only small changes were required to adapt the internal ERP system to implement PEPPOL. “It’s our aim to further expand the use of eInvoices and, therefore, of PEPPOL eInvoices, in the Austrian Federal Government to make the PEPPOL project a success in Austria”, says Schneider.

 eInvoicing offers numerous advantages such as time and cost savings, transparency, traceability, error reduction as well as environmental aspects. A 2011 study of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, based on independent estimates from other countries and international organisations, suggests that the Austrian economy could save between six and nine million Euros annually if the switch from manual to electronic invoices is made. These estimates suggest that suppliers save on average six minutes working time when processing eInvoices instead of paper invoices, in addition to the elimination of dispatch and postage costs. 


[1] On July 13, 2010 the new VAT Directive regarding the rules on invoicing (Directive 2010/45/EU) was adopted by the European Council, amending Directive 2006/112/EC. 




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