Peppol Access Points – Setting Up Your Own Versus Working with a Provider
Led by government agencies, an increasing number of public sector organizations and their suppliers are adopting the Peppol network due to legal requirements, easy onboarding, cost-saving, and monitoring capabilities it provides. Originating in the European Union, Peppol is the means through which entities across the world can exchange electronic business documents easily and securely, and is now expanding into Singapore and Australasia.
Although Peppol can be used for different types of electronic documentation, at present, the majority of activity on the network concerns e-invoicing, the development of which is being actively encouraged. Just look to Australia, where although the paper-/ PDF-based invoicing model remains popular, e-invoicing is quickly becoming the new standard.
The Australian government recently announced that B2G e-invoicing is set to be made mandatory on July 1, 2022, so in order to get a head start, Peppol is already being adopted by government agencies and the businesses that trade with them. Peppol sign-up has also been heavily encouraged by Singapore’s government, with grants offered in early 2020 for companies that voluntarily started to utilize the network.
How do you connect to Peppol?
Many accounting software providers, VAN-operators and system integrators comes to Tickstar when their customers got requirements from a public sector organisation imposed on them that they supply all their documentation electronically through the Peppol network. To do so they need a Peppol Access Point. Once they have this Access Point, they can reach anyone on the network, regardless of country, sector, or their counterpart’s Access Point provider.
Knowing that the Access Point is the Peppol gateway, businesses face three choices:
- Set up an Access Point themselves;
- Work with a Peppol Access Point provider to utilize an already accredited Access Point;
- Work with a Peppol infrastructure provider to obtain white-label services.
We’ll take a look at each option and show you why utilizing the services of a product such as Galaxy Gateway is the most efficient and economical way to access and send documents through the Peppol network.
Becoming an Access Point Yourself
While smaller businesses wouldn’t generally entertain the idea, there are three groups that often looking into setting up Access Points themselves:
- Big businesses with a large number of e-invoice or e-procurement related transactions;
- VAN operators/Service providers;
- ERP vendors looking to connect their software package to the Peppol network.
Indeed, becoming an Access Point yourself is a great option, but quickly it becomes apparent that accreditation is not simply registration, but development, maintenance, and hosting. In some regions there are also national accreditations, which can differ depending on the requirements from the Peppol Authority in the country you are offering your services in.
If you were to set up your own Access Point, you would have to undertake the following general steps:
1. Become an OpenPeppol member
This is a mandatory step for anyone offering Access Point services within the Peppol network. OpenPeppol membership involves an annual subscription fee to further the activities of the association.
2. Sign a Peppol Transport Infrastructure Agreement (TIA)
The TIA sets out the minimum requirements that are to be consistently applied throughout the Peppol eDelivery Network. Signing the TIA agreement is an acknowledgment of the roles and responsibilities shared by the Access Point Provider and Peppol authority, and requires a thorough understanding of all the principles of Peppol Transport Infrastructure and its operation.
3. Due diligence checks
We’ve included this point as it adds to the overall time it takes to get Peppol certified. The Peppol Authority you have registered with conducts due diligence to prove that your organization is solvent, legitimate and its senior staff comply with all laws. It involves reviewing various business documentation and running a criminal record check.
4. Demonstrate technical and security competency through testing
Once agreements have been signed, you move on to interoperability testing and Peppol acceptance testing, , which all require adherence to certain technical and security standards, as well as that of Peppol BIS Billing 3.0 electronic business documentation. Some of the standards used to demonstrate competency can vary depending on the Peppol Authority in question. For example, the Netherlands and Australian authorities mandate the ISO27001 Information Security Management Certification or corresponding , which is not a requirement of other Peppol authorities at present.
5. Request of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Certificate
Lastly, there is the accreditation, whereupon you must request your Production PKI Certificate, which proves you are a trusted network participant.
This process to set up an Access Point and become certified and accredited (only needed in some regions) process usually takes a couple of months if you have access to experienced resources, and only after can you begin to transact on the Peppol network.
6. Maintenance and Support
As mentioned above, once you set up an Access Point, you will then have to take on all the maintenance tasks, provide support to clients, and also keep up to date with any changes in requirements demanded by the OpenPeppol and the Peppol authority you have registered with.
A further note to ERP vendors
If you are an ERP vendor, meeting the technical specifications of an Access Point does not automatically mean you will have a great service that satisfies the needs of a growing list of clients. Hosting, scalablility, and user-friendliness are other elements that need to be tackled to satisfy the demands of a broad base of international customers.
Benefits of collaboration with an accredited Peppol service provider
People choose to partner with certified businesses that operate exclusively with Peppol, as they have the expertise to provide quality Access Point as a service, and sometimes white-label solutions.
The Access Point as a service option simply involves using the Peppol provider’s Access Point to transact on the network. Certifications, standards, maintenance, and hosting are all handled by the Access Point provider, meaning your business just needs to connect, bypassing almost all of the accreditation steps listed in the section above.
The white-label solution is very similar, but with a crucial difference: instead of using the PKI certificate of your service provider you get your own certificate through your membership in OpenPeppol. One often appreciated advantage of the white labelled option is that you will be listed as a certified access point provider on OpenPeppol webpage, peppol.eu..
Working with a Peppol service provider brings clear benefits from day one:
- For businesses in a hurry – You don’t have to jump through all the regulatory hoops to access the Peppol network. By signing up with a Peppol service provider, you can be up and running in a week .
- For big businesses – Forget setting up individual integrations to match the systems of your partners. Here you can connect once and connect to all without the back-end difficulties. With all-in-one business packages, a Peppol infrastructure service provider not only makes things easier, but ensures transactions on the network become more cost-effective in the long run.
- For ERP vendors – Peppol as part of your ERP system can distinguish it from others in a crowded field, especially as the market for the network increases. With a Peppol Access Point provider’s API, you can connect your ERP directly to the network, without worrying about maintenance or troubleshooting.
- For service providers – You can focus on growing your customer base without worrying about any of the regulatory or technical hurdles that come with operating Peppol infrastructure.
For businesses using a SAP Peppol Access Point – The Peppol network can be accessed through certain versions of SAP, but it is just one module within a wider system. As opposed to a service provider, Peppol is not SAP’s core business. Working with a Peppol infrastructure provider ensures that the configuration necessary to generate and exchange e-documents is smooth and functional, leading to fewer seller and customer difficulties. Furthermore, timely and targeted support is guaranteed.
How to set up your own Peppol Access Point with Galaxy Gateway as your certified Access Point provider
Galaxy Gateway is brought to you by our company Tickstar, a Xero subsidiary, which has been involved in Peppol since 2012. We are active participants in the OpenPeppol community, meaning we are at the forefront of every innovation and new regulation that is introduced.
Here are some of the reasons why Tickstar should be your certified Access Point provider:
Experience with everyone from medium sized businesses to large corporations – We work with all types of businesses, offering special low subscription costs for businesses with small volumes, and providing extra features and support for the big companies and governmental bodies we service.
Scalability – Our solution undergoes constant testing and upgrades in order to meet the needs of diverse businesses around the world. We can easily scale to meet customers’ requirements.
Certifications – We are fully compliant with every Peppol regulation in the world! As a European, Australian/ New Zealand, and Singapore accredited Peppol access point provider, we can give any private company or public sector organization the ability to transfer documents to any Peppol entity in the world without restrictions.
Hosting, accessibility and security – We take the pain of hosting and maintenance out of your hands while retaining full accessibility and meeting all the by Peppol required service levels. Tickstar also adheres to stringent security standards, which you can read about here.
Onboarding and documentation – We demystify the world of Peppol for you, with clear and concise onboarding, and all the documentation you need to operate our user-friendly platform.
Add-ons – We go beyond out-of-the-box software to provide add-ons that make using the Peppol network more efficient and comfortable. Read more about these add-ons on our page.
The final word
The need for a secure way to transfer electronic business documents without friction is becoming more apparent, which is why the Peppol network is growing so quickly. Tickstar as your Access Point provider is here to help you navigate the network, making your documentation transfer with public and private sector companies easier, more efficient, and secure. Go to our website to see what our service can do for you, or contact us directly to ask any questions or request a demonstration.