Finland is recognized globally as a front runner in e-invoicing. The country launched its Peppol Network in 2005, making it one of the first countries in the world to do so. Since then, Peppol has become an essential piece of the Finnish public sector and economy.
E-invoicing in Finland is crucial for all types of businesses. Public sector bodies (such as municipalities and state-owned companies) must receive e-invoices. Since the e-invoicing directive law in April 2020, private companies can now use electronic invoicing, as most suppliers require e-invoices.
The Peppol system is set up to allow easy and secure data exchange between businesses and their customers or suppliers.
Here's everything you should know about how e-invoicing works in Finland and how Peppol influences businesses and citizens alike.
1. Is e-invoicing mandatory in Finland?
Since 2010, all public businesses have been compulsorily required to receive electronic invoices for B2G transactions. The e-invoices must comply with the national standards (Finvoice and TEAPPSXML) or be processed through the PEPPOL network.
The Finnish government extended the European invoicing directive law in April 2020, which obligates private companies to be able to receive electronic invoices from their suppliers.
The directive includes the following specifications:
- Suppliers must provide their customers with B2B invoices that comply with Finnish standards.
- Recipients can reject PDF invoices or those that don't adhere to the XML standard.
Due to the pandemic, suppliers can still use older standards; Finvoice and TEAPPSXML (both version 3.0).
However, Peppol is the easiest and most preferred solution.
Finvoice and TEAPPSXML e-invoicing standards
Since 1st April 2021, companies in Finland have started accepting invoices compliant with the European standards of e-invoicing. If the invoice fails to meet the rules, it is not delivered to the recipient, and the sender receives an error message.
Therefore, all sender invoices should use Finvoice version 3.0, TEAPPS version 3.0, or Peppol.
Finvoice version 3.0
It is a Finnish standard for electronic invoicing. It was developed by Finnvera, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes), and other Finnish financial administration organizations.
Finvoice and Peppol e-invoicing are different in terms of the entities they serve. Finvoice is for public sector organizations, while Peppol e-invoicing is for public and private sector organizations.
As a result, Peppol BIS Billing 3.0 is gaining more popularity as it allows suppliers and buyers to deal in the private and public sectors.
TEAPPSXML version 3.0 (part of the European Union's DG TRADE project)
TEAPPS is a subsidiary of Finnvera that supports public procurement. TEAPPSXML e-invoicing standards require that Finnish organizations use invoices following Finnvera's eInvoicing specification.
2. What is PEPPOL e-invoicing?
PEPPOL is a pan-European e-invoicing network. It brings together several countries, European authorities, and operators from the private sector to create a common standard European e-invoicing. To access PEPPOL, you need to register with an Access Point.
Access points are certified and monitored by the OpenPeppol association. This is an organization composed of members from private and public sectors in charge of the development and maintenance of the Peppol:
- Basic components
- Services and implementation all over Europe
Peppol is a network established in 2008 by the European Commission. It provides Finnish companies with an easy, secure, and fast way of sending their e-invoices to Finnish public sector organizations.
Some reasons why Peppol is so popular are:
- Peppol e-invoices reach their destination directly. This means that you don’t need to attach additional information or documents for the invoices to be processed. This saves money and time for businesses and public sector organizations that receive the invoices.
- Peppol e-invoices are secure. Only authorized users with a Peppol ID can view them, and they even have a timestamp which makes it easy to track their movement.
- It can make suppliers the go-to solution for most buyers. Peppol is an official EU standard that puts you ahead of your competitors who are yet to adopt it.
- You can automate Peppol invoicing, making work a lot easier for your team. Peppol invoicing standards are pretty popular, making them usable globally.
- It is cheaper and will charge you at least 80% less than when you mail a paper invoice. It eliminates the intermediaries who will typically charge you transport and other fees.
3. Why use Peppol instead of other Finnish Invoicing systems?
- Though many public sector organizations have implemented Finvoice, Peppol e-invoicing is becoming more favored as it supports both public and private organizations.
- Peppol complies with European standards. Public organizations only receive and process EN-compliant e-invoices.
- Through Peppol, businesses can send and process compliant e-invoices across borders. The European Commission regulates Peppol, making it an international standard.
- Peppol can be accessed by any supplier registered with an access point like Storecove. This is more efficient and with fewer bottlenecks than Finvoice, which can only be accessed by Finnish financial administration organizations.
- Peppol provides Peppol Direct Delivery (PDD), which sends the e-invoice directly to the recipient. This is different from Finvoice, which works through a single organization that uses the EDI connection.
4. What are the Peppol e-invoicing requirements?
Peppol has several requirements for e-invoicing in Finland.
Format of e-invoices
All submitted invoices must follow the specifications set out by Finnvera. These format descriptions include Finvoice 3.0 and TEAPPSXML 3.0.
Archiving of e-invoices
TEAPPS archives all submitted e-invoices for an indefinite period. For that reason, businesses are required to include an audit trail identifier in each invoice.
All submitted e-invoices must be digitally signed using a certificate issued by one of the following certificate authorities:
- Digi-Sign (a Finnish company)
- The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom)
- The Finnish Communication Regulatory Authority (FICORA)
- CAcert Inc. (a non-profit organization)
Each e-invoice must contain a Tax Authority Code. You may need to include a Tax Withholding Code (TVA) for some invoices.
Platforms for sending e-invoices
You can send your e-invoices via an access point, which allows you to connect to the Peppol Network.
5. What to look for when selecting a Peppol access point?
An effective Peppol access point should have the following features:
Simple and secure management
It should allow users to upload invoice files via their websites or ERP. The designation of the accounting information should be straightforward and not require knowledge in management accounting principles.
It should operate in a secure environment, protecting users' data.
User-friendly and transparency
The portal should be user-friendly and easy to use. All costs and service fees should be clear, and the portal should provide users with information about the type of electronic invoice they receive, whether it complies with the standards, et cetera
Integration with existing or new eInvoicing systems
The access point should be easy to integrate with existing or new eInvoicing systems. It should offer the best possible integration, protecting users' privacy and allowing them to use the PEPPOL specifications.
It should be able to automate the process of e-receipt and insertion in the accounting records. The portal should be compatible with all operating systems and allow users to access the eInvoicing system from work or home.
Quality check of all messages
It must offer a complete quality control mechanism of all messages submitted by the users. It should ensure that messages meet the required standards.
The provider should provide customer support to all users for general use questions. Sometimes users find some of the steps involved challenging and need help getting started.
6. How to send e-invoices in Finland?
First, you need a connection to a Peppol Access Point, e.g., Storecove. This is a gateway to the Peppol e-invoicing network. You can send your e-invoice via an access point in Finland, which means that you don't need other links to public sector organizations that receive your e-invoices.
How to get started with Peppol?
To send your e-invoices via Peppol, you don’t need to log in separately as a user. You can create an online account with Storecove and access your e-invoices from there.
Here are the steps on how to join the network and get your ID:
1. Create electronic invoices (not PDF files)
You must have the capability to generate e-invoices using any bookkeeping software.
2. Register on the Peppol network
Register on Peppol and create an e-invoicing account to get your Peppol ID.
3. Activate Your Peppol ID
Here you will need to input your company information and wait for validation which takes approximately 24 hours.
4. Choose your preferred connection
After validation, choose your preferred connection from your software to the Peppol Access Point, e.g., SPF secure e-mail connection on an API link.
5. Send your e-invoices
Now you are all set to send your e-invoices via Peppol.
When using a Peppol Access Point, the procedure consists of four parties. It is known as the four-corner model.
- Sender: Person or company that sends the e-invoice to the Peppol Access Point. They verify the invoice by cryptographically signing it.
- Access point sender - Appointed company in charge of verifying the sender and signing their e-invoices.
- Access point recipient - Party that receives and processes e-invoices.
- Recipient - This party also does verification of the sender and signs the e-invoices received.
The Access Point provider generally allows the sender and recipient to share and sign the e-invoices when they meet the required standards.
7. Getting started with Peppol in Finland
Peppol e-invoicing in Finland is gaining popularity as it saves money for both businesses and public sector organizations. It is more secure, cheaper, and easier to use than traditional paper invoicing.
But you must meet some requirements when sending an e-invoice in Finland. You need to format your invoices correctly and adhere to the required standards.
With Storecove, you can receive and share e-invoices with ease. If you need to send e-invoices to other countries, Storecove will automatically convert the e-invoice to the recipient’s national standards!
More information on Peppol in Finland?
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