E-invoicing in Scandinavia is well established and widespread, with the majority of businesses in Norway, Sweden, and Finland using electronic invoicing systems.
Despite the high rates of e-invoicing adoption, there are still some businesses that are not using electronic invoices.
E-invoicing is invoicing customers through electronic means instead of the traditional paper invoice. Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Finland have been using e-invoicing for years, and the results have been impressive.
In this blog post, we will look at the benefits of e-invoicing for businesses and consumers in these countries. We will also explore how the e-invoicing process works in each country.
E-invoicing rules and regulations in Norway
Norway was one of the first countries to adopt e-invoicing. The country has been a pioneer in this area, and its experience can be a valuable lesson for other countries considering e-invoicing.
Norway's e-invoicing legislation is based on the EU Directive 2014/55/EU. The Directive establishes the mandatory use of e-invoicing (EHF format) in public procurement by member states.
In Norway, the e-invoicing obligation applies to all entities that sell goods or services to the public sector. This includes both businesses and individuals. It became compulsory in 2016.
Despite choosing their own access points, public administrators need to fulfill the following requirements:
- You must use the standard format (EHF Billing 3.0)
- Public administrators should register with ELMA, the Norwegian e-invoicing platform
- E-invoices must be transmitted through ELMA, which will then send them to the correct access point
- E-invoices should be archived for five years.
E-invoicing rules and regulations in Sweden
The largest user of electronic invoicing in Sweden is the public administration. Issuing e-invoices to state agencies in Sweden has been mandatory since early 2008.
The Swedish government extended PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) e-invoicing requirement to administrations, regional public providers, and the municipal on 1st April 2019. It includes the following policies:
- Any business that wants to invoice public sector buyers in Sweden (with a few exceptions) will have to use the PEPPOL network and format (PEPPOL BIS Billing 3.0 format).
- The government agencies require businesses to archive e-invoices for five years. Businesses can either store the e-invoices themselves or use an external storage provider.
- Agency for Digital Government DIGG will impose fines on businesses that do not follow the e-invoicing regulation.
- Private organizations in Sweden can also start using e-invoicing. However, it is not mandatory for them.
E-invoicing rules and regulations in Finland
E-invoicing policies have been mandatory in Finland since February 2019. The law requires businesses to send and receive invoices electronically when dealing with other businesses and public sector organizations.
The e-invoicing system in Finland is based on the PEPPOL network. Businesses can use any software compatible with the PEPPOL network to send and receive invoices.
The Finnish government implemented the e-Invoicing Act 241/2019 on 1st April 2020. The law stated that:
- Businesses must send and receive e-invoices that comply with the EN 16931 and Finnish e-invoicing standards when dealing with other businesses and public sector organizations.
- The law also requires businesses to archive e-invoices for seven years.
Who governs e-invoicing and e-procurement in Norway, Sweden, and Finland
E-invoicing adheres to similar policies by the European Union (EU) in all three countries. However, each country has its own governing body.
The popular Norwegian platform for verifying e-invoices is called ELMA. It was established by the Norwegian Government in collaboration with private companies.
The Norwegian Directorate for Public Procurement (DnD) is responsible for the e-invoicing policy in Norway.
In Sweden, the government has outsourced the development of e-invoicing to a company called Basware.
The Swedish Agency for Digital Government (DIGG) is responsible for the e-invoicing policy in Sweden.
In Finland, the development of e-invoicing has been outsourced to a company called Tieto.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) is responsible for the e-invoicing policy in Finland.
Who must comply with e-invoicing regulations in Scandinavia?
In Norway, Sweden, and Finland, all businesses that sell goods or services to the public sector must use e-invoicing. Public sector organizations include government agencies, municipalities, and hospitals.
In Norway and Sweden, businesses that want to invoice public sector buyers must use the PEPPOL network and format. It has been mandatory for companies to use PEPPOL in Sweden since April 1, 2019. In Norway, using PEPPOL is not compulsory for private companies but encouraged.
In Finland, businesses must send and receive invoices electronically when dealing with other businesses and public sector organizations. The e-invoicing system in Finland is based on the PEPPOL network.
The Finnish government implemented the mandatory e-Invoicing Act 241/2019 on 1st April 2020. Public administrations had until April 1, 2019. to comply with EU e-invoicing standards, while central government bodies had until April 1, 2020.
Benefits of e-invoicing for businesses in Scandinavia
Businesses in Norway, Sweden, and Finland can benefit from using e-invoicing in many ways, including:
1. Reduced invoicing and payment costs
Electronic invoicing can help businesses save on costs associated with paper invoicing, such as printing, postage, and storage. It can also help companies to save on processing costs, such as data entry.
Scandinavia has some of the highest postal rates in the world, so businesses can save a significant amount of money by switching to e-invoicing.
2. Faster payments
E-invoicing can help businesses get paid faster. When invoices are sent electronically, they can be processed and paid more quickly than paper invoices. This is because businesses can automate their invoicing and payment processes.
3. Improved cash flow
Faster payments can improve a business’s cash flow. This is because businesses can access their funds more quickly and invest them back into their operations.
4. Better customer relationships
E-invoicing can help businesses build better relationships with their customers. This is because businesses can provide customers with a more efficient and convenient invoicing experience.
5. Increased efficiency
E-invoicing can help businesses increase their efficiency. This is because businesses can automate their invoicing and payment processes. This can free up time for businesses to focus on other areas of their business.
6. Reduced environmental impact
E-invoicing can help businesses reduce their environmental impact. This is because businesses can eliminate the need for paper invoices. This can help businesses save trees and reduce pollution.
How to send and receive compliant e-invoices in the Scandinavian countries
Businesses need to use a software solution compliant with the PEPPOL network to issue e-invoices in Scandinavian countries.
How to connect to the PEPPOL network
Businesses can connect to the PEPPOL network through an access point service provider like Storecove. PEPPOL e-invoicing consists of four parties:
Access points (sender and recipient): The sender and recipient of an e-invoice need to be connected to the PEPPOL network to exchange invoices. You can do this through an access point service provider.
Sender: The sender of an e-invoice is the business that sends the invoice to the recipient. To send an e-invoice, the sender needs to use a software solution compliant with the PEPPOL network.
Recipient: The recipient of an e-invoice is the business that receives the invoice from the sender. Like the sender, the recipient must also use a software solution compliant with the PEPPOL network.
Sending and receiving invoices in Scandinavian countries involves the following steps:
1. Creating an invoice
Businesses can create invoices using their accounting software or a dedicated e-invoicing software solution. However, the solution must be compliant with the PEPPOL network.
2. Sending the invoice to your access point provider
Businesses can send the invoice to their customer through the PEPPOL network. The government has designated PEPPOL as the official e-invoicing network for businesses in Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
The PEPPOL network uses access points to connect businesses. Access points are provided by service providers, such as banks, e-invoicing providers, and software companies.
Each country has a way of verifying that the invoice has been sent through PEPPOL and is compliant.
ELMA, a national Peppol Service Metadata Publisher (SMP), allows businesses in Finland to connect to the PEPPOL network to verify that the invoices they are sending are compliant.
3. Receiving the invoice
Customers can receive invoices through the PEPPOL network. The customer’s accounting software or e-invoicing solution must comply with the PEPPOL network.
4. Processing the invoice
Businesses can process invoices using their accounting software or a dedicated e-invoicing software solution.
5. Paying the invoice
Businesses can pay invoices electronically through the PEPPOL network. This is a quick and efficient way to pay invoices.
How Norway, Sweden, and Finland ensure e-invoicing compliance
Norway, Sweden, and Finland have designated PEPPOL as the official e-invoicing network for businesses, public sector organizations, and citizens.
PEPPOL is an interoperability framework that enables the electronic exchange of business documents, such as invoices. To ensure compliance, businesses need to use a software solution compliant with the PEPPOL network.
In Norway, businesses can use the ELMA SMP to connect to the PEPPOL network and verify that their invoices are compliant. The government ensures that businesses use the ELMA SMP by mandating that all public sector organizations use it to connect to the PEPPOL network.
In Sweden, the government has mandated that all businesses use PEPPOL to send and receive e-invoices. The Swedish Tax Agency (STA) has also developed a PEPPOL SMP, Swedish E-Invoicing SMP, to help businesses connect to the PEPPOL network.
Similarly, in Finland, the government has mandated that all businesses use PEPPOL to send and receive e-invoices. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (TRAFI) has developed a PEPPOL SMP, called e-Invoicing in Finland, to help businesses connect to the PEPPOL network.
Storecove can help
E-invoicing in Scandanavia complies with the PEPPOL network, the official e-invoicing network for businesses in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The governments in these countries provide access points and metadata publishers such as the ELMA SMP to help companies to connect to the PEPPOL network.
Businesses can benefit from using Storecove’s e-invoicing solution because it complies with the PEPPOL network. Our solution makes it easy for businesses to send and receive invoices electronically. Register now to get started.
More information about e-invoicing in Scandinavian Countries?
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