July 7, 2020

The public e-invoicing sector in Estonia is celebrating its first anniversary

1 July marks one year since the state of Estonia started accepting only e-invoices. This move made the state a pioneer in the transition to modern settlement solutions in Estonia; in one year, state agencies have received 370,000 e-invoices from their cooperation partners. Financial technology company Fitek, the operator of e-invoices for state agencies, estimates that the share of e-invoices received by the public sector has more than tripled, reaching 98%.

Marek Ilves, Head of the Business Software Development Department of the State Shared Service Centre: “the State Shared Service Centre serves 163 public sector institutions, and the transition to e-invoicing has increased the quality of data for our customers while reducing the state’s invoice processing costs. The fully automated e-invoicing process eliminates errors that can occur due to manual entry, the delivery of invoices is guaranteed, and duplicate invoices are not processed. Costs for invoice processing services have been reduced by about 45% due to the fact that it is no longer necessary to pay for invoice digitisation services.”

Andrus Kaarelson, CEO of Fitek, believes that the country’s decision to fully switch to e-invoicing from July 2019 is very positive in view of global trends. Many countries are planning or have already taken the same step. Estonia’s advantage is technological readiness, the multiplicity of sending and receiving solutions.

“We are moving towards universal e-invoicing in Estonia. The state’s example is gradually reaching the private sector, where the share of e-invoices has grown to 38 percent over the year. We will probably see more growth by the beginning of 2021. We have experience from the corona pandemic during the spring when the need for teleworking solutions increased by leaps and bounds,” says Kaarelson.

According to Kaarelson, the bold decision of the state can be visualised numerically: In the first month, e-invoicing reached 98%; the rest is represented by cross-border PDF invoices. Fitek sees that foreign countries are also interested in sending e-invoices to the Estonian public sector through special solutions and the standard international PEPPOL connection. “For our part, we also expect other service providers to pay more attention to the PEPPOL network and e-invoices,” he added.

Andres Lilleste, Fitek business manager: “Fitek has created a solution for companies to send e-invoices to the state. Last May, we launched a new arved.ee service to make sending e-invoices more convenient from business to the public sector (B2G), business to business (B2B) and business to private persons (B2C). Over the year, the service has been used by more than 13,000 institutions and companies, and more than 100,000 invoices have been sent, 87% of which have been e-invoices. The rest are PDF invoices sent by e-mail. Three-quarters of e-invoices were sent from companies to the state.”

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