Peppol e-invoicing in France

While most countries are introducing regulations around e-invoicing when dealing with the public sector, France is going further, with a push to make e-invoicing mandatory for all businesses by 2025. This will not only keep them in line with Directive 2014/55/EU but will bring the country cost savings and greater competitiveness in international markets.

If you’re wondering about the state of e-invoicing in France, what Factur-X and Chorus Pro are, and how Peppol e-invoicing fits into the whole system, then you are not alone. This blog post will address many of the most common questions, and show you how you can easily become Peppol-enabled as an enterprise, or even a Peppol service provider for public and private sector entities not just in France, but for any business throughout the world hoping to transact on the Peppol network.

Public sector invoicing in France

Much like Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Croatia, France have their own national invoicing standard (Factur-X) and platform (ChorusPro) through which electronic invoices can be sent. While other countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark also had their own national e-invoice format(s), most have either merged with or been replaced by the Peppol standard, which allows for easy e-document interoperability across borders.

As mentioned above, ChorusPro is the national invoicing portal, through which all public sector contractors and their suppliers must send structured electronic invoices. Through Chorus Pro you can:

  • Create and send invoices manually via the platform — for businesses that don’t have the ability to send EN 16931 compliant invoices themselves. EN 16931 is the European standard for e-invoicing, with which both Factur-X and Peppol comply.
  • Download PDF or XML invoices from the portal.
  • Connect an API, for example from a Peppol service provider, and send invoices automatically.

E-invoicing by the numbers

ChorusPro has seen a huge increase in usage over a relatively short period of time. As reported on the European Commission’s website:

In 2019, there were 547,000 suppliers invoicing 166,000 public contractors using ChorusPro.

These numbers are extremely encouraging and show the benefits of e-invoicing, which include:

  • Reduced administrative burden
  • Lower invoice costs
  • Easier monitoring
  • Fewer errors due to a reduction in manual handling
  • Reduced risk of fraud

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France’s shift to mandatory B2B e-invoicing in 2023

In accordance with Directive 2014/55/EU, public sector contracting authorities are required to be able to receive and process invoices sent by private sector suppliers. Europe-wide, this relates to 300,000 public administrations! As we have seen with the example of Germany’s system of federated states, some smaller regional public authorities are not yet required by law to work with e-invoices, which has led to an uneven rollout; but nonetheless, B2G e-invoicing has quickly become the norm.

As referenced at the start of this blog post, France has implemented its own ambitious timetable with Finance Law No. 2019 – 1479, which will hopefully see all businesses in the B2G and B2B markets using e-invoices in the near future. The law states that:

  • All French businesses, regardless of size, must be able to receive e-invoices by 2023.
  • B2B e-invoicing must be used for all domestic transactions;
    • Large businesses by 2023.
    • Medium-sized businesses by 2024.
    • Small businesses by 2025.

This is an ambitious but realistic target that will see businesses of all sizes and sectors benefit from the e-invoicing advantages listed above.

What is Factur-X?

Factur-X is the French invoice format mandated for use by the government. It has equivalent specifications to ZUGFerd 2.1, the hybrid PDF/XML German invoice format. As a UN/CEFACT Cross Industry Invoice XML message, Factur-X, is one of the two acceptable message types that fall under the European standard. The other type is UBL 2.1, which is used as part of Peppol BIS (Business Interoperability Specifications) 3.0.

Why connect to Peppol in France?

As France has its own standards for e-invoicing, you may be wondering whether Peppol is needed and if it is the best option.

If you are a small business sending very few invoices domestically, putting manual information into ChorusPro can be suitable; however, for bigger businesses sending many e-invoices, and conglomerates that are transacting internationally, Peppol is undoubtedly the best choice for the following reasons:

  • You can automate the sending of e-invoices through ChorusPro with Peppol as part of your e-invoicing system. This means only one system is needed to create, receive, and process invoices.
  • The Peppol BIS supports the Factur-X UN/CEFACT XML Cross Industry Invoice. This means that invoice receivers can register in their SMPs to receive these XML invoices alongside the UBL Peppol (2.1) version.
  • Peppol facilitates cross-border exchange of electronic business documents, not just those within France. By sending a Peppol invoice, you only need to work within one framework, no matter where in the world your business counterpart is based.
  • Beyond e-invoicing, Peppol supports most B2B procurement processes by its Peppol Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) Library, with all commonly exchanged business documents, such as product catalogues, order & order confirmations, and more.

Work with Tickstar – Peppol infrastructure provider

If you are a small- to medium-sized business in France, you have the option of working in ChorusPro or through your ERP system if it offers an API connection. If you fall into one of the following three categories, you will need to get Peppol Access Point accreditation to be able to connect to the network and provide Peppol to your employees or clients:

  • A large organization with your own ERP system
  • A service provider or VAN operator
  • An ERP vendor

With accreditation, you can essentially become a Peppol Access Point provider, with the ability to create Peppol IDs for those who wish to join the network.

Tickstar is a Peppol infrastructure provider through its Galaxy Gateway Services (SaaS), with experience in offering easy Peppol implementation to clients around the world for almost 10 years. We have seen the network grow and know the unique challenges that public and private sector entities face when connecting. We can fast-track your Peppol accreditation, handling development, hosting, and maintenance, so the only thing you need to concentrate on is growing your business.

We offer the following Peppol Components as a Service in the cloud:

  • Peppol Service Metadata Provider (SMP) – with advanced UI and management API, which is in use by most of our customers, as well as Peppol Authorities operating Central SMP implementations for their members.

And popular additional features like:

  • User-friendly Participant Lookup API
  • Peppol document validation
  • IP whitelisting (for even stronger security when integrating our service from your backend environments)
  • Encryption at Rest
  • Extensive documentation
  • Outstanding support

Peppol is central to the EU’s e-invoicing strategy, as well as those of Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. The amount of Peppol Authorities and Access Points are increasing, and there are currently OpenPeppol members in 38 countries. By providing your business or clients Peppol access, they then become part of a connect once, reach all network, gaining a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

Contact Tickstar about the SMP, shared instance, or white-label Access Point accreditation, or check out our new video, where you can get an overview of why partnering with an infrastructure provider is the smart way to interact with Peppol.