Invoicing laws
Thread poster: Tina Colquhoun

Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:24
Member (2005)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sep 7, 2008

There was recently a thread about invoicing practices - invoicing for various clients with different invoicing 'requirements' and the inconvenience of it all - but are there any actual EU regulations in place stipulating how often you are allowed to invoice?

I understand that for practical purposes, it may be a good idea to put a bunch of small jobs that you do regularly for one client on one invoice that you send once a month, but does the client have the right by law to stipulate that you can only invoice, say, twice a month - whatever the amount? I'm getting increasingly annoyed that companies seem to be of the opinion that they can dictate that I only invoice them a certain amount of times per month max to fit in conveniently with their 'procedures'. This simply means that I am providing them with more credit for some of the jobs than I am really willing to give.



Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:24
Italian to English
UK requirements Sep 7, 2008

Hi Tina

These are the UK requiremets:

A sole trader must have the following information on invoices:
· Any business name being used if the surname of the sole trader is not being used.
· If you are using a business name you must also supply an address where any legal documents can be delivered to you.
If you are registered for VAT, whether the business is a limited company or a sole trader, you must also put the following information on your invoices:
· VAT registration number
· date of the supply to the customer
· customer’s name and address
· your business’s name and address
· type of supply
· amount owed without VAT added


Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:24
Member (2005)
Danish to English
+ ...
Not the invoice itself, but the amount of invoices Sep 8, 2008

Russell Jones wrote:

These are the UK requiremets:


I wasn't so much interested in what goes on the invoice as in any restriction as to how many invoices can be submitted within a given period. Would there, for example, be anything - legally - to prevent me from submitting 20 different invoices to one client within a calendar month? Can outsourcers really dictate how many invoices they wish to receive per month?



Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:24
English to German
+ ...
I hear you. Sep 8, 2008

Whenever I think I do clients a favor - be it by bundling my invoices or writing my invoices late - some of them still insist on their 30 or even 45 days until payment after receipt of the invoice.

I feel like a credit institute and I am not amused.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The agency's convenience Sep 8, 2008

I don't think there can be any law about how many invoices you can send your client per month. It's usually a question of the agency's convenience. Most of them have their established rules (which are not laws) to suit their accounts department (which is sometimes "antipático") - some want the invoice with the work, others at the end of the month.
I suppose it's best to try to comply with their requirements for the sake of peaceful relations, but I doubt that an agency could legally refuse to pay a validly written invoice containing all the relevant information just because it was sent on a date they didn't like. They still owe you the money for the job if it was done and sent according to the purchase order.
Best of luck,


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:24
French to English
+ ...
Works the other way too Sep 8, 2008

I'm quite happy to submit my invoices at the end of the month in general terms. It makes my accounting procedures easier and cuts down on exchange costs from clients overseas, as well as the time I actually spend on admin. The thought of drawing up and sending 15-20 separate invoices for the same client, checking that they've all been paid at the appropriate time, chasing them if they haven't.... far easier, in my view to send one at the end of the month. Once you're into the swing, cashflow isn't a problem, although I suppose it might be an issue when you first start out. I agree that it can be a pain for large jobs that you finish on the 1st of the month, but I'd rather have a streamlined system that I can monitor easily.

[Edited at 2008-09-08 11:41]


Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:24
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Cashflow Sep 8, 2008

Claire Cox wrote:

far easier, in my view to send one at the end of the month. Once you're into the swing, cashflow isn't a problem, although I suppose it might be an issue when you first start out.

[Edited at 2008-09-08 11:41]

I agree with Claire,

I think freelancers have 2 choices:

1) either to be permanently fustrated with client payment terms and try to overcome them by invoicing after the completion of each job mid-month

2) build up a good cashflow so that invoicing at the end of the month can be done in one go and not take up too much time.

I think a lot of translator colleagues think of their income as a type of salary and get annoyed when issues arise with payment terms.

[Edited at 2008-09-08 14:13]


Anne Seerup
Local time: 08:24
English to Danish
+ ...
Has to do with the way agencies perceive freelancers Sep 8, 2008

I find that invoicing at the end of the month is easier, if it is a regular client, and I have no problems with that at all,since it is a mutual agreeement. But then there are also those clients where I only do the odd job now and again, and where I have to accept their ridiculous invoicing/payment terms, and then it gets annoying.

I think the problem lies the fact that freelancers are often not perceived or even perceive themselves as small businesses/suppliers, who sell a valuable service and with whom the client (agency) has a mutual business relationship, but rather some kind of "throw away" contractor that can be replaced with another anytime.

Something that really gets to me lately is, that a particular longstanding client, suddenly has started disrespecting the rates we agreed on originally, and is now offering USD rates at their convenience and often far below my minimum rate to begin with. I have told them politely time and time again that I do not wish to be contacted about jobs, that are below the agreed rate but to no avail.

Many agencies are frankly taking the mick, particularly under the excuse of poor conversion rates etc.... I simply do not believe that the end client is not prepared to pay 15 USD more to get a small rush translation done.

I am starting to think that marketing oneself as a freelancer with a CV etc., is not such a good idea anymore as it gives the clients the wrong idea. So I am working on marketing myself differently as business with my own payment terms and contracts in place.



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