SINGAPORE: Singapore will become the first Asian country to implement an electronic invoicing standard based on a similar process used in Europe.
The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be implementing the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, or PEPPOL, which will allow businesses to speed up transactions, lower operating costs and minimise errors.
Announced at this year’s Budget, further details of the system were announced by Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran at the inaugural Singapore Digital (SG:D) Industry Day held at the Suntec City Convention Centre on Monday (May 21).
“Through this interoperable and low-cost standard, Singapore companies can more easily adopt e-invoicing on a large scale. In addition, this will help our companies transact internationally, with businesses from many other countries that are also in the PEPPOL network,” said Mr Iswaran.
"We carefully reviewed the various e-invoicing standards around the world, including the option of whether we should design our own Singapore standard, (but) we decided the best way forward that would help companies plug into international global marketplace is adopting a global standard, and PEPPOL has a proper standard," said IMDA Chief Executive Tan Kiat How.
IMDA will be working with government agencies, trade associations and chambers such as Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation to implement the e-invoicing standard, and collectively drive adoption of a common framework for businesses.
Over 40 companies have expressed interest to be part of the e-invoicing system. They include Sheng Siong Group, StarHub and United Overseas Bank.
“We will also work with our customers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in their adoption of e-invoicing so that they can improve their cash flow management, productivity and see greater connectivity across their supply chain," said Mr Mervyn Koh, Managing Director and Country Head of Business Banking Singapore, United Overseas Bank.
The push for e-invoicing is part of efforts to help companies go digital but recognising that this can be daunting, authorities say they are ramping up measures to help them.
These include enhancing the SMEs Go Digital programme with the introduction of an initiative called Digital Project Management Services, where professionals, managers and executives will be trained to be in-house digital project consultants to help small- and medium-sized companies execute their digital plans.
There is also the Open Innovation Platform - a virtual crowd-sourcing platform that will match solution providers with firms that are facing challenges in their business. The platform will be launched in June.