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Keywords: EESPA, e-Invoicing Model Interoperability Agreement, electronic invoicing, e-invoicing, einvoicing, European E-invoicing Service Providers Association
Susie West | News | 8 January 2013
At its Annual General Meeting in Brussels on 22 November 2012, EESPA, the European E-invoicing Service Providers Association, annouced the release of their Model Interoperability Agreement (MIA) for use by its members.
EESPA’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of e-invoicing based on services provided by its member community to their customers. With this announcement EESPA has achieved one of its key goals only 14 months after formal creation of the association.
Interoperability between service providers helps invoice senders and receivers who employ the services of different service providers, by facilitating the exchange of invoices through a network of interconnected parties. The MIA provides for a standardized bilateral agreement for use by service providers with their chosen service provider partners. It supports a number of legal compliance frameworks such as digital signatures, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and business controls, and creates a harmonized environment based on standards. The text of the MIA has had the full legal blessing of a team of EESPA members’ legal counsel, and conforms to Belgian law, its default jurisdiction, although other legal jurisdictions are also catered for.
Tim Cole, the EESPA Interoperability Working Group leader, coordinated the efforts of many volunteers from the membership in crafting the MIA. The group also created a very comprehensive companion to assist service providers in implementation. “We started with a form of document from the European Standards organization CEN and worked through it line by line to make it ‘fit for purpose’. In crafting these two documents we took practical input from all our members”, Cole recalled.
EESPA Chair, Esa Tihilä, said “I am so pleased that we have been able to secure such a broad agreement within such a diverse membership. I believe it will accelerate the adoption of e-invoicing, throughout Europe and beyond. Trading partners can be assured that their information will be transmitted promptly, in the right format and with the necessary quality to meet compliance requirements.”
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