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Peppol unveiled (2/2): How does Peppol work?

April 3, 2024
Minutes reading time

Find out how you can connect with Peppol, how the exchange works and what this means for your company.

Before explaining how Peppol works, let’s first reiterate what Peppol is: As outlined in our previous "What is Peppol?" blog, Peppol (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) is an international network that enables companies to exchange documents and data securely with other registered users.

Originally developed to facilitate trade between European governments and to standardise electronic procurement procedures from one country to another, Peppol is now used worldwide, including in countries such as Australia and Singapore.

More and more businesses are adopting e-invoicing thanks to its simplicity, security, time and cost savings. This, coupled with the increasing introduction of e-invoicing mandates, designed to help governments enforce tax laws more effectively and collect VAT from businesses, has contributed to the growth of the Peppol network.

Read more about Peppol in our blog "What is Peppol?".

Getting started with Peppol

Businesses wishing to join and exchange documents via the Peppol network have the option of either setting up their own Access Point (AP) or contacting a certified Peppol Access Point - an organisation or provider that connects companies to the international Peppol network. A Peppol Access Point, as its name suggests, is an authorised service provider that connects you to the Peppol network and acts as an intermediary in the four-corner model.

At present, there are over 300 certified AP providers worldwide, of which Unifiedpost Group is proud to be one.

Users are then assigned a Peppol ID by their Peppol Access Point provider. The Peppol ID could be their bank account, VAT or government identification number, or, in the case of many German public authorities, usually the Leitweg-ID (a specific German buyer reference or routing ID identifying the invoice recipient in German B2G transactions). Each business's Peppol ID is unique, thereby eradicating any confusion between sender and recipient.

To discover and connect with other Peppol users, companies can access the Peppol Directory - a free, searchable, open-source service that allows users to find and identify each other’s capabilities. Users can search for one or more keywords, such as:

  • Company name
  • Peppol ID
  • Country

In addition, users can search the directory via a number of optional fields, including the company's website, contact information and registration date.

How Peppol handles documents

The process of exchanging documents via Peppol can be explained using the four-corner model - named after the four parties involved. To illustrate the concept, you can picture an AP in a similar role as your telecoms provider - you place the call on your phone, and your telecoms provider connects to your receiver’s telecoms provider to make the connection.

Similarly, when exchanging electronic documents, you will find the corresponding four parties in the four-corner model:

  1. The document sender: The entity that initiates the exchange of documents, such as invoices or orders, with their trading partners.

  2. The sender's access point (AP): An authorised service provider connecting the sender to the Peppol network and ensuring compliance with the Peppol standard.

  3. The receiver's access point (AP): An authorised service provider receiving the documents from the sender's AP via the Peppol network and forwarding them to the intended recipient.

  4. The document receiver: The recipient organisation that ultimately receives the business documents sent by the sender.

And similarly to the telecoms scenario described above, in the world of Peppol, you are also free to choose any AP from the list of certified Peppol service providers.

While most widely known for the exchange of invoices, as mentioned previously, in addition to e-invoices, the Peppol network can also be used to exchange almost any type of supply chain document including orders and order confirmations.

Regardless of this, all data sent via Peppol must be available in one of the two Extensible Markup Language (XML) formats - simple text-based formats that are both human- and machine-readable.

  • Universal Business Language (UBL) provides a standardised, royalty-free library of electronic business documents. Most accountancy packages are compatible with UBL.

  • Cross Industry Invoice (CII) is a standard that allows electronic documents to be exchanged between trading partners.

‍Making Peppol work for you through Banqup

Offering simplicity, security and efficiency, bringing the benefits of Peppol to your business is easy, even for small businesses, thanks to our Banqup one-stop-shop solution for SMEs.

As a certified Peppol Access Point, Banqup can connect you to a wide array of business-to-business and government organisations around the world. Just follow these steps to get started:

  1. Create the customer master record for your Peppol customer:

    • First, create a customer master record for your Peppol customer in Banqup. Don't forget to change the default country (Germany) to the country of the recipient/customer if different.

    • Enter your customer's Peppol ID (e.g. their full VAT number or IBAN) in the appropriate ID field and complete all other relevant details. If needed, you can look up your customer's ID in the Peppol directory: https://directory.peppol.eu (directory for production environments).

    • Leitweg-ID (routing ID) for public authority clients in Germany: If your customer is a public contracting authority in Germany and can be reached via Peppolplease make sure that you select the customer type "Government" when creating your customer account. This will enable a new field called "Leitweg-ID" in the form. Please complete this with the Leitweg-ID provided to you by your customer.

      1. Important information on registering for the federal invoice receipt platforms (ZRE and OZG-RE): Please note that a one-time registration is required to use the platforms. Registration is free of charge and must be completed regardless of the submission method used. In our last blog post in the series "Understanding B2G E-Invoicing in Germany: A Comprehensive Guide", we have compiled some basic information on the registration process for you.

      2. Detailed video tutorials and operating guides for registration and general use of the ZRE and OZG-RE invoice receipt platforms can be found on the federal government's e-invoicing website.

    • If, upon saving your record, Banqup finds that your customer is available to receive invoices using "OpenPeppol" as a delivery method, you will automatically be offered the option to replace the originally selected delivery method with Peppol delivery. Make sure you accept this suggested delivery channel for this customer.

  2. Create or upload your invoice:

    • Make sure that all required information is included in the invoice header and line items. If you have used the invoice upload function, check the data extracted by our OCR technology and complete or correct it if necessary.

    • Please note that Peppol deliveries may require additional fields in the invoice header, such as the buyer reference. If necessary, contact your customer to request or confirm the required data.

  3. Click on "Send" - and that's it:

    • Once you have checked all the invoice details and found them to be correct, simply click on "Send" in Banqup.

With this simple process, you can easily get started exchanging electronic documents with your customers over Peppol internationally, without any implementation or set-up effort required on your part.

Embark on a seamless journey of electronic document exchange with Peppol via Banqup, simplify your business processes and ensure compliance with international standards. Contact us today to find out how we can make exchanging electronic documents smoother for your business.


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