With automation pushing the procure-to-pay (P2P) process, the need for increased efficiency while staying on top of compliance mandates and regulations such as PEPPOL can be challenging. With the ongoing success of electronic invoicing, is it time to look at the procurement part of the process?
What is PEPPOL?
Up until now, the main focus of the PEPPOL market has been on electronic invoicing and driving that adoption rate. Using PEPPOL Access Points, users can connect to the PEPPOL network and exchange procurement documents in electronic format so long as they are all connected to the PEPPOL network. AP teams realised huge benefits by transacting this way, including reduced manual work, 100% captured audit trails, improved security and compliance, and reduced onboarding times. And now, procurement has the chance to realise similar perks – and more.
Moving beyond e-invoicing, we start to see the true potential of PEPPOL by also leveraging e-ordering to complete the P2P process. Connecting buyers and suppliers by sending e-orders and receiving e-order responses, the process stands to gain increased efficiency. With both parties integrated with the PEPPOL Network, less manual work is required on both sides. Messages are delivered electronically according to the PEPPOL standard with an end to end audit trail that ensures visibility and delivery of the messages. Bringing an increased level of security to the process.
How can PEPPOL affect Procurement & P2P?
PEPPOL is not an e-procurement platform but rather it provides a set of technical specifications that can be implemented in existing e-procurement solutions and e-business exchange services.
By joining the PEPPOL network, organisations can boost the efficiency of their own P2P process through the automation of the import of documents exchanged in the PEPPOL network into their financial system. On the official PEPPOL website, they state that PEPPOL is “Making procurement better” by enabling businesses across Europe to communicate electronically with public buyers in various stages of the procurement process.
Since everything is done electronically, both buying organisations and suppliers realise many benefits.
Benefit #1: Data capture and analysis
With a standardised business document and template exchange such as what the PEPPOL network has developed, communication and interaction become extremely streamlined. Additionally, all data is captured and recorded, allowing businesses to increase the amount of structured data running through their system. This gives employees more enriched data to drill down into and empowers them to use their newfound insights to minimise errors in the P2P process.
With enriched and total data running through your system, both audits and total visibility into all your suppliers and across all your spend become simple.
Benefit #2: Supplier relations and diversification
With all your business documents flowing through the PEPPOL network, as stated above, all your data will be collected and centralised. With this central view, you’ll gain deeper insights into your supply chain and increase the traceability of your financial documents thanks to the data footprints created. Your supplier relations will also improve thanks to automated message exchange through various parts of e-invoicing and other business processes.
Additionally, you can support your supplier diversification efforts with the ability to easily find other PEPPOL members through the PEPPOL network. And given today’s precarious business landscape, ensuring supply chain continuity and mitigating disruption before it becomes an issue can easily be addressed by diversifying your supply base and increasing the visibility across it.
Enablement and adoption are also key factors driving the success of PEPPOL. The previous point to point connections for order messages is no longer needed. Once connected to PEPPOL, buyers and suppliers remove the technical aspect of establishing a trading relationship based on electronic messaging. Buyers can lower the time and cost of onboarding a supplier, bringing new goods and services to their organisation. And the supplier can start receiving orders faster, enabling their business to succeed. The result being an e-invoice delivered through the same network with the additional value of a better buyer and supplier relationship.
Benefit #3: Security
Overall, PEPPOL is a secure, international network intended to increase compliance and security in B2B and B2G transactions while also enhancing fraud protection. PEPPOL emphasises security as a driving intention behind its growth and companies worldwide are looking to use it in the wider P2P process.
In regards to security, the official PEPPOL website has this to say:
“When Access Point or SMP providers sign the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements they are provided with a PEPPOL Digital Certificate…The certificate is valid as long as the Transport Infrastructure Agreement is valid and can be revoked if service providers are in breach of the Agreement.”
Providers like Basware make transacting on the PEPPOL network even easier by offering connections to these Access Points and buyers and suppliers are free to choose their preferred provider to connect with all PEPPOL participants already transacting on the PEPPOL network. (More on the PEPPOL website here.)
Contact us to learn more about how Basware supports the PEPPOL Network.