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Invoice number? Please help.
Thread poster: HankHill
HankHill
United States
Local time: 09:56
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jan 22, 2009

I did a small job and was asked to send an invoice for payment, so I sent one through paypal. I am new to actually using paypal for getting paid, so I am confused at my current situation. The client keeps saying they need an invoice number, but I'm unclear on what that is exactly. After a few emails, I was told it's a "consecutive number". I will quote the email exactly:

"The thing that I need is basically a normal invoice – like you would send to other clients regardless of form of payment. Usually our other translators just send the invoice in pdf and write that they want payment via PayPal. The invoice number is necessary for book-keeping reasons. It is just a consecutive number on the invoices that makes it possible to identify each invoice in our system. "

I am really at a loss here. I'm hoping I'm not annoying the client here by going back and forth with emails, but I just do not understand what this is. Even with this info, I'm lost. Consecutive of what exactly? Am I supposed to make a number that's consecutive of the amount of invoices I've sent previously to this client, which means in this case I just put a 1?

I don't want to hold this up any longer so I'm hoping someone here can shed light on this. Thanks.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:56
English to German
+ ...
Sequence number of your invoices Jan 22, 2009

Hi Fredrick,
Don't you use a reference number on your invoices? If you don't, I guess you'd better get started, since a sequential number is a legal requirement in the EU (IIRC - it certainly is in Germany).

Section 14 of the German VAT Act contains a definition:

"(4) An invoice must contain the following details:
1.
2.
3.
4. a sequential number comprising one or several rows of numbers, which the issuer of the invoice has assigned specifically to identify each invoice ("invoice number");
5.
...."

I use a combination of the year (this year, all our invoice numbers start with "09") and a sequence starting with "0001" each year.

HTH, Ralf


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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:56
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
It's up to you Jan 22, 2009

Invoice number can include letters and numbers, e.g. if you provided your services to "Super Translations" company and it is the first time you worked for them, you can use the first two letters of "Super" and "Translations" and numbers 001, so your invoice number will be SUTR001, the next invoice to this company will be SUTR002 and so on.

I do not understand how you could send invoice via Paypal. You can just prepare an invoice for services provided (in a .doc or .pdf file), in which you state the payment method (Paypal) and details (Paypal account details). Then send it to your customer.

Hope this helps.

Good luck!


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I have an 8-digit number Jan 22, 2009

By way of example,

The first two digits of my number are the year, just like Ralf does it: 09

The next three digits are the number that I assign to the client. With your first client this would be: 001

The last three digits just refer to how many invoices I have written in that year: 001, 002, 003, etc.

To give an example:

If the third invoice of the year, in 2009, is sent to client number 73, the number is: 09073003


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HankHill
United States
Local time: 09:56
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 22, 2009

Alright. I really did not have any clue that it is up to me to make it up. I guess that relieves some stress then. The examples help a lot too.

I really appreciate the responses(and so very quick at that). Thanks!


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Verónica Echegaray
Local time: 13:56
English to Spanish
It depends... Jan 23, 2009

It depends on the country's regulations. In Argentina, for example, we can't choose or create a system for our invoices. When you register yourself for tax purposes you must get your invoices printed at an authorized printing company. The first set of invoices goes from number 01 to number 50. When you run out of invoices you must get a new set that will start with number 51, and so on. This functions as a control for tax agencies.

Hope it helps!


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:56
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My invoices Jan 23, 2009

352-128-001-newclient
353-019-056-oldclient
354-019-002-newclient


The first three digits are the general numbers of the invoices. It means that i've sent about 354 invoices until now.
The second three digits are the month and year. It helps me to remind me when I did the job.
The third three digits are in consecutive order for each client. In my example they mean that I've done two jobs for the newclient, and 56 for the oldclient.

I hope it helps

Clarisa Moraña


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:56
Dutch to English
+ ...
Simple system Jan 23, 2009

I do not bother with the actual client. I use the year: 09 followed by 3 digits that is just the current invoice number. So my first invoice would be: 09.001, etc. When the year changes, the 3 digits just continue. When I have reached 999, I will simply revert to 001.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Tell him its "ABC001" Jan 23, 2009

Fredrick Banks wrote:
The client keeps saying they need an invoice number, but I'm unclear on what that is exactly.


An invoice number is like a reference number for your invoice. The idea is that you have a list somewhere of all your past invoices, sorted by this number, and if anyone wants to talk to you about an invoice, they can say the number, and you'd both know which invoice you're talking about.

There are those who claim that it is a legal requirement in my own country for invoice numbers to be consecutive (in other words, the next invoice's number minus this invoice's number must be = 1).


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 19:56
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
How else will you keep track? Jan 23, 2009

We all seem to use a very similar system - for me the first invoice of this year is 2009001 and the next one gets 2009002 and so on.

Also I put down the invoice number on the list of jobs I have done (with the names, sums and so on) and archive the invoices in pdf and xls so that I can immediately look up the invoice for each job. In the invoice I include my bank details just in case and Moneybookers address, through which the payment comes. Usually electronic invoices are fine and I send them in pdf format. Some clients need a signed paper invoice, so then you have to print it, sign it and send in an envelope.

You should look up what are the legal requirements in your country. Here it is required that I put a number on the invoice so that I can produce evidence of what I am being paid for should the authorities want to have a look at it.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
You do not make up the number, but only the system Jan 23, 2009

Fredrick Banks wrote:

Alright. I really did not have any clue that it is up to me to make it up.


It is a legal requirement to put numbers on invoices. Therefore, you have to number them right from the very first one you ever write. You do not make up the invoice numbers, but only the system by which you number them. After that, you have to keep your own rules.

For example, if the invoice you have just written is the fifth invoice, as well as the fifth client, you cannot give it the number 1. You now have to go back and give numbers to the others that you already wrote previously - and, in the event, this one will end up with tne number 5.

It is important to realise that, once you have made up your system, you have no choice any more. Each invoice number decides itself in accordance with that system. These numbers therefore then become "official".


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The client number is useful Jan 23, 2009

Marijke Singer wrote:

I do not bother with the actual client. I use the year: 09 followed by 3 digits that is just the current invoice number. So my first invoice would be: 09.001, etc. When the year changes, the 3 digits just continue. When I have reached 999, I will simply revert to 001.


Used, for example, in TO3000, it helps you to quickly and efficiently compile statistics on how much business you get from each client in a year, as well as forecast future business.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 19:56
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
My system Jan 23, 2009

My invoices have two numbers.

Example

5 / 30.12.2008 - 08116

That means the invoice is the fifth I sent last month (end of december 2008) and it is the 116th of last year.
And the file-name contains also the client name, so I'm sure I send the right invoice to the right client.
Example

TTL08116.pdf


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 19:56
Turkish to English
+ ...
Simple Solution Jan 23, 2009

The simplest way of doing this is to number the first invoice you ever issue "1", the second one "2", and so on. The first invoice that I issued when I started freelancing in Cyprus in 2005 was numbered 1, and I recently issued number 162.
If you haven't been numbering your invoices until now, the simplest solution would be to count how many invoices you have issued so far, and assign this latest invoice the final number in the series. If this is the first invoice you have ever issued, why not just call it "invoice 1"?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
This is my system Jan 23, 2009

I use T-nnnnnn where T=translation (I teach too, but fortunately in France so I can use the French term "F"=formation), followed by the year, then the ordinal day, then a sequence no. 1-9.

So, T-090412 would be the second translating invoice issued on 10th February 2009.


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