Peppol E-invoicing and E-procurement in the Netherlands

Peppol Netherlands

Within the European Union, the directive on e-invoicing is increasing digital uptake. The Netherlands, however, is ahead of the curve, having adopted e-invoicing at a national level over the past 10 years. 

Peppol is modelled on EN14931, the e-invoicing standard laid out in Directive 2014/55/EU, which requires all public contracting authorities in the European Union to use e-invoicing. This article will outline the state of e-invoicing in the Netherlands, how Peppol works alongside national operations, and the Dutch process for Access Point accreditation.

The Netherlands and e-invoicing

E-invoicing had greater penetration in the Netherlands before many other countries, with 40% of businesses already transacting digitally in 2011. 

Regulations around B2G transactions spurred greater adoption, with the Dutch government mandating Directive 2014/55/EU into Dutch law on July 1st 2016 (long before the April 2020 date set out for the rest of the EU) as part of the National Procurement Act. 

This directive required the Dutch Central Administration and its related services to only invoice electronically, and as a result, many services that work with government organizations send invoices in this way, gaining many of the benefits we have spoken about in previous blog posts.

The push to e-invoicing is related to a wider EU drive to increase efficiency and savings in the public sector, with e-procurement systems (of which Peppol is one) creating a more level playing field between suppliers and fostering competition, bringing more value for money.

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Dutch e-invoicing standards

Like France and Germany, the Netherlands is one of the few countries who haven’t adopted Peppol as the national CIUS; rather, the Peppol standard is interoperable and runs alongside the country-specific specifications currently in place.

In the Netherlands, there are three main standards worth discussing:

1. NLCIUS – This standard is a subset of the European Standards for alignment with the Dutch system. Consolidating and/or replacing earlier models (UBL-OHNL and SI-UBLT), services which deal with governing bodies are expected to use this standard.

2. Peppol BIS 3.0 – This is a subset of the European Union standard EN16931 for e-invoicing, helping create a uniform standard across not only EU nations, but others such as Australia, Singapore and the UK. 

3. SETU (HR – XML) – This is an XML standard designed for hiring temporary staff, and purchasing services. It is a popular e-invoicing standard in the Netherlands.

If you are a business sending an e-invoice to a non-central body, the NLCIUS and Peppol can both be used for efficiency; however, there is also the option to send an invoice by email, if the accounting software that is being used can create XML-invoices which can be sent as an attachment. Then there are online portals, which involves manually inputting information.

Peppol in the Netherlands

Peppol is not mandatory, but it is recommended for use by the Dutch government as  a way to meet all domestic standards and those of trading partners abroad. These standards are listed in Annex 5 of the Peppol Transport Infrastructure Agreement, which must be signed by businesses wishing to operate their own Access Point.

Peppol is a connect once, reach all network, due to the connection of all service providers. By connecting with a Peppol service provider, any business can send automatic structured e-invoices with ease, reducing human error and costs drastically.

With Peppol, international invoicing becomes considerably easier. Otherwise, businesses have to adopt different standards for all invoicing. Additionally, e-procurement is made considerably easier as outlined above, by opening up opportunities for suppliers and contacts.

What is the difference between Peppol and SimplerInvoicing?

SimplerInvoicing is a term that you may have come across. It was a private sector initiative to help people work with Peppol standards that is now defunct in its previous incarnation, but has been acquired as part of the Netherlands Peppol Authority, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (NPA). 

Simplerinvoicing

Dutch Peppol Authority


The Dutch created their Peppol Authority in 2020, responsible for maintaining Peppol standards throughout the country. The overall goal is to ensure that all businesses use e-messaging and e-invoicing to:

  • Raise the efficiency of administration within organizations.
  • Reduce the digitalization gap between the small enterprises and large corporations.
  • Increase the sustainability of the processes in the procurement chain.
  • Promote choice in services or software suppliers.

Roadmap for wider Peppol integration

While other nations have expanded regulations to cover not just B2G but B2B industries, the Netherlands is not currently planning any further rollouts or changes. 

In the near future, Peppol e-invoicing may become the one standard, considering how heavily it is promoted by the government.

Dutch requirements for Access Point accreditation

SMEs using accounting software such as SAP or Xero can access Peppol without any additional software development; however, for large enterprises with their own ERP systems or the ERP providers themselves, they need to gain Access Point accreditation in order to integrate the network into their software.

Becoming accredited with your own Access Point involves the following steps:

1. Become an OpenPeppol member – this requires a subscription

2. Sign a Peppol Transport Infrastructure Agreement (TIA)

3. Due diligence checks – this ensures your business complies with all laws, and that you are solvent and legitimate.

4. Demonstrate technical competence – this checks your capacity to adhere to technical and security standards, including Peppol BIS Billing 3.0
Note: Peppol Netherlands standards vary from most other nations, with an additional requirement to obtain the ISO27001 Information Security Management Certification.

5. Request Public Key Infrastructure certification – this proves you are accredited and trustworthy.

6. Maintenance and Support – As you are your own Access Point provider, you have to provide support to clients, stay up to date on changes, and are responsible for all maintenance.

Overall, this is a long, costly process, which is why going with a Peppol service provider is in most cases seen as the sensible and cost-effective choice.

Peppol Netherlands

Tickstar as your trusted Peppol infrastructure provider

Access Point as a service is the alternative to operating your own Access Point. Rather than undertaking the steps above, you can utilize an established Peppol Access Point Provider’s services to utilize the Peppol network (or provide access to your clients). 

Tickstar is a Peppol infrastructure service provided by the Swedish company Tickstar, recently acquired by the accounting software Xero, which uses Tickstar for its Peppol connectivity.

We make Peppol simple, with easy onboarding and the provision of all the necessary documentation needed to make sure that you get the most out of the network. Setting up your own access point can take months, but with Tickstar, it takes around a couple of weeks. 

With Tickstar you can access all the benefits of Peppol without the responsibility of setting up your own access point, and trusting us to ensure that you are taken care of when using Peppol standards. We are also completely compliant with all standards and stay on top of any changes to legislation that may affect us, so any business in the Netherlands can use our system to access the benefits of Peppol. 

We are experienced with a range of businesses, from medium-sized businesses to large corporations, meaning we know your needs and requirements, and offer subscriptions that vary depending on your volume of business transactions.

Connect to Peppol with Tickstar today

If you are intending to adhere to Peppol standards in the Netherlands, to save yourself time, stress and money, you can use Tickstar as an Access Point to the Peppol network. This not only ensures you stick to the recommended standards of e-invoicing, but you have the potential to work with a range of other service providers around the world who adhere to the same standards. Head to our website to learn more about our services or contact us directly.