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Invoicing in euros, payment in GBP
Thread poster: Helene Greffard

Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
May 8, 2006

I've been working with this UK agency for some time now, invoicing them in GBP, getting paid by cheque on my UK account (That's when I was a freelancer in the UK).

Now that I'm set up in France, I need to invoice them in euros but would like to keep getting paid in GBP. (Since they only pay by cheques, I'm not too keen on receiving a cheque in euros that would involve high charges.)

What is the best thing to do? Should my invoices state a fixed rate in euros that is equivalent to my usual GBP rate/1000 words? Are they supposed to send me POs in euros as well? Can they simply do a conversion in GBP on receipt of my invoices?... I wish I could just keep invoicing them in GBP but that's not an option apparently.

Many thanks for your input, I'm useless with those accounting issues...


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:19
English to German
+ ...
Why not continue invoicing in sterling? May 8, 2006

Hi Helene,
I wish I could just keep invoicing them in GBP but that's not an option apparently.

Why? Given that you're happy with receving pounds, the easiest way to proceed would seem to keep invoicing them in pounds. Of course you would need to convert your sterling inflows into euros for accounting and tax purposes, but that shouldn't be a big deal.

Can you explain why you think you have to switch to euro invoices?

Best, Ralf


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Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting... May 8, 2006

Hi Ralf,

Thanks for your prompt reply.
Sure I can explain -> My accountant simply told me that it wasn't legal to send invoices in other currencies than euros... Now I'm wondering why... She suggested the agency should convert the amount in GBP on receipt of my invoices in euros.
Obviously I'd rather keep things as they are and I guess I will.

Thanks again Ralf, but just out of curiosity, do other translators invoice in euros and get paid in GBP?


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Ingo Dierkschnieder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:19
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Invoicing in different currencies May 8, 2006

I actually write invoices in GBP, Euros and USD and so far have never had a problem with the tax authorities because of that as I simply convert the Euro or USD amount into GBP according to the current rate once the payment has arrived and put this GBP figure into my books. I don't know if it is really illegal in France to invoice in anything else but Euros but I doubt it as I also understand it as a service to the customer to invoice in the respective currency of his country.

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Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Service to the customer May 8, 2006

Thanks for your input, Ingo.
I totally agree with your last comment, that's why I wasn't too keen on suddenly changing my invoicing system either. It always worked like this and I don't want to start being annoying. I have a good relationship with them.

Well it seems I'll need to have a word with my accountant... How can I convince her without simply saying that "Ralf and Ingo told me"? Just in case she sticks to her opinion...


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Invoice in GBP and indicate amount in Euros May 8, 2006

Hello Helene,

I think you can invoice in GBP and convert that amount to EUR using the conversion rate of the day of the invoice (Bank of France should have it on their website).

Then, you just need to have both values on the invoice and add a note saying you have used the conversion rate of the day of the invoice. That should do the trick. It is the legal way of doing it in Portugal... and we are the EU champions in bureacracy

All the best
Mónica


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Nicola Bigwood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:19
German to English
+ ...
Terms of payment May 8, 2006

Hi Helene,

What you can do is issue an invoice in euros but state your "preferred method of payment" as being by cheque in GBP as part of your terms of payment (I've done this myself before upon agreement with the client concerned). Seeing as you already know this agency, you could either agree a conversion rate with them (or state it on your invoice) or leave it up to whatever rate is current at the time of invoicing. As far as I know, an invoice issued in euros should be paid in euros unless you request them to do otherwise on the invoice itself.

Or you could simply do as Ingo suggests: invoice in GBP but record the payment in euros, just as you'll have to do anyway if you're receiving payment in GBP regardless.

Just one question: if you're living in France, wouldn't it be cheaper for you to receive cheques in euros rather than in GBP? (Unless you're still using your UK account of course!)

Good luck!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
French to English
Ask the French forum? May 8, 2006

Maybe you could ask the French forum here whether it's true that all invoices drawn up in France have to be in EUR?

When I was based in France, I used to invoice UK clients in GBP and receive payment into my UK bank account. Once I'd built up a healthy amount, I'd transfer it over to my French bank account in a large-ish lump sum, which is more cost-effective in bank charges (which I paid, obviously!).

At year-end, I'd simply declare all the UK/GBP income (whether transferred to France or not) in EUR using the exchange rate that the tax people told me to use.

All that said, I never used an accountant - I did it all myself.

One thing that does occur to me, is that perhaps you have to indicate somewhere on the invoice what the amount in EUR would be, IF the invoice had been drawn up in EUR? A bit like the way that adverts that use English words have to provide a translation somewhere. Otherwise, my immediate reaction is that it sounds a bit unlikely that this "EUR-only" rule is valid in this day and age.


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Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Cheapest solution May 8, 2006

Hi Nicola,

Thanks for your comments.
I think Ingo's suggestion is the best. I'll keep things as they are (invoice and payment in GBP) and of course, will convert my inflows as appropriate.

To answer your question, I still have my UK account. I pay £10 per transfer from my UK to my French account, which is not too bad when the amount is high enough (and I always wait until I reach £2,000 or so). Receiving a cheque in euros from a UK agency would cost me much more.

Anyway, thanks again for your input!


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Nicola Bigwood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:19
German to English
+ ...
Thanks Helene May 8, 2006

No problem!

To answer your question, I still have my UK account.
ceiving a cheque in euros from a UK agency would cost me much more.
[/quote]

What I meant was, if you have a French account, could they not issue you a euro cheque to pay into that, rather than into your UK account. I can understand that you'd rather leave things as they stand though (and don't blame you!).

If only banks didn't charge us for currency conversion...


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Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I'll do that (ask the French forum) May 8, 2006

Hi Charlie,

I have no idea why my accountant assured me I couldn't send invoices in GBP, cause up till now, I always did like you and didn't think it would be a problem, provided every amount is converted into the appropriate rate.

I'll let you know what French people say. I just need to find the French forum, didn't find it earlier....... (doh!)


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Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Receiving a cheque in euros May 8, 2006

Hi again Nicola,

Sorry I didn't express myself properly. I understood your question, but from what I heard, receiving a cheque in euros from a UK agency into my French account would cost me more than what I do now... That's what my banker told me the other day, but if she's as reliable as my accountant...


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 01:19
English to French
+ ...
Checks in euros May 8, 2006

Unfortunately, I have to confirm what Hélène's banker told her: as far as French banks are concerned, a check drawn on a foreign bank is a foreign check even if it is in euros, and they will charge you to process it.

Welcome to Euroland and its complexities.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
French to English
Addendum May 8, 2006

Might be worth having a look at the code de commerce on www.legifrance.gouv.fr.

When I set up France, I got a book about what to do. I've just had a look, and it *does* say that invoices must be drawn up in EUR.

However, at the time, they'd just switched from FFR, and I assumed they were simply pointing out that you had to use euros now.

Furthermore (in this book, anyway), it doesn't say you have to make out invoices in EUR ONLY Maybe you can do both currencies (as I hinted earlier, in the comment about adverts).

Failing that, it must surely be an infringement of your human rights to invoice in any legal EU currency you see fit, so if you fancy taking a test case to Strasbourg or wherever it is they decide this nonsense, I'll chip in a tenner (or 15 euros!) into your legal fund


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