Singapore adopts national e-invoice system

The national e-invoice system will help companies here speed up business transactions while minimising disputes, errors and operating costs.
The national e-invoice system will help companies here speed up business transactions while minimising disputes, errors and operating costs. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has adopted a national e-invoice system based on a widely used European standard, as the Government continues to equip local businesses with capabilities for the digital economy.

The authorities will use the Pan European Public Procurement On-Line system, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran announced yesterday.

It will help companies speed up business transactions while minimising disputes, errors and operating costs.

It was first announced during the Budget debate in March that Singapore would implement a nationwide e-invoice system, but details were revealed only yesterday.

E-invoicing is the automated creation, exchange and processing of request for payments between suppliers and buyers using a standardised digital format. It does away with existing digitised invoices, such as computer printouts, PDF documents or scanned invoices which require some level of human input to process.

Singapore will be the first country outside Europe to adopt the Pan European Public Procurement On-Line system, which is already being used by 10 countries such as Britain, Germany and Norway.

The system is interoperable, which lets any company on the network talk to others without any compatibility issues, including those overseas.

"Ultimately, the benefit of e-invoicing lies in the scale of the network, and the breadth and depth of its adoption. Hence, it is important that all companies participate in and benefit from e-invoicing," said Mr Iswaran.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority, which will oversee the system's adoption, has received expression of interest from 45 organisations, including government agencies, private-sector entities, associations and technology solution providers.

Companies can join the network by using accounting software integrated with it, or by signing up with a provider that grants access. The cost is dependent on which method they use.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore adopts national e-invoice system'. Print Edition | Subscribe