https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/330358-different_invoice_numbers_for_every_clients_is_possible.html

Different invoice numbers for every clients? is possible?
Thread poster: ArelTranslation

ArelTranslation
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
English to Italian
Nov 12, 2018

Hi everybody!

I looked at other posts in the forum but, unfortunately, I was not able to find something that could answer my question.
I live and work in the Netherlands and I am working as a freelance translator for Dutch companies.
My issue is due to the fact that one of my clients decided to switch to an automatic invoicing system. They just told me that the invoice will not be editable, meaning that I will not be able to add my invoice number, as it should be. This
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Hi everybody!

I looked at other posts in the forum but, unfortunately, I was not able to find something that could answer my question.
I live and work in the Netherlands and I am working as a freelance translator for Dutch companies.
My issue is due to the fact that one of my clients decided to switch to an automatic invoicing system. They just told me that the invoice will not be editable, meaning that I will not be able to add my invoice number, as it should be. This is quite strange to me and it means that I will end up having different kinds of invoices and numeral series for different clients. I would like to know if any of you had the same issue with clients of agencies and how to deal with it. I do not even know if this is entirely legal.

Thank you in advance to whom can give me any kind of feedback.

Bye!
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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
A workaround, if I understand you correctly Nov 12, 2018

If I understand you correctly, it sounds like your client is saying they will issue you what is essentially a credit note, rather than you issuing them an invoice. This means that in your own system, you no longer have a consistent numbering system if you use their "invoices" (credit notes) instead of your own.

Right?

If so, then I think it is legal. At least, I have clients who do this and it seems to be totally above board, legally speaking. What I do to get around th
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If I understand you correctly, it sounds like your client is saying they will issue you what is essentially a credit note, rather than you issuing them an invoice. This means that in your own system, you no longer have a consistent numbering system if you use their "invoices" (credit notes) instead of your own.

Right?

If so, then I think it is legal. At least, I have clients who do this and it seems to be totally above board, legally speaking. What I do to get around the invoice numbering issue is that I still issue my own invoice on my system, I just don't send it to those clients. Then when my clients send me the credit notes, I just check that their credit note for the month matches my invoice for the month (same final figures etc.) and mark my invoices as paid when the money is received. I save their credit notes separately so I still have a record of my own invoices and of their credit notes. So for one client I have a folder called "Invoices" where I save all the invoices I've created for them on my system, and another folder called "Credit Notes" where I save all of the credit notes they send me.

This way I still have my own records and my own consistent invoice numbers, and they are still able to use their own system and I still get paid.
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Henriette Saffron
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Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Member
English to French
+ ...
Another workaround Nov 12, 2018

At least in France, an invoice is not considered valid if it has not been sent to the customer. This can get tricky in case of a tax control.

So, this is my take:

Use their system to issue their invoice as requested, plus send yours by email to their accounting department, explaining that you are legally required to do so.

Make sure the specifics match the internal invoice (amounts, payment deadline). You can also include a reference to the internal invoici
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At least in France, an invoice is not considered valid if it has not been sent to the customer. This can get tricky in case of a tax control.

So, this is my take:

Use their system to issue their invoice as requested, plus send yours by email to their accounting department, explaining that you are legally required to do so.

Make sure the specifics match the internal invoice (amounts, payment deadline). You can also include a reference to the internal invoicing number somewhere in the notes of your own invoice.

Download and store both invoices, and you're good to go.

Jean
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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Valid or not? Nov 12, 2018

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

At least in France, an invoice is not considered valid if it has not been sent to the customer. This can get tricky in case of a tax control.


According to which law?

If you send an invoice by letter, you get no receipt. How is anyone going to check this in real life? And why should the fiscal services dispute income when the invoice matches what goes into the bank account? The more income declared, the better for them.

Perhaps this 'rule' is related to claiming payment in the sense that you cannot formally make any claims until you have sent the invoice. That would make more sense.


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Member
English to French
+ ...
Code de commerce - Article L441-3 Nov 12, 2018

La facture doit être rédigée en double exemplaire. Le vendeur et l'acheteur doivent en conserver chacun un exemplaire.

I don't know how the tax authorities are supposed to verify this, but as I said it is a legal requirement, at least in France.

Jean


 

ArelTranslation
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Nice workaround, but I am not yet sure they are talking about credit notes Nov 12, 2018

Hi Angela,

Thank you so much for your nice and helpful reply.
They haven't called it credit note. They said that the system will "automatically issue an invoice" every time I check one of my tasks as "completed" on their system.
As far as they told me, the system does not allow to add my own invoice number and my company details on this "invoice", and they will not be sending notes or invoices to me. I will only be receiving their payment on my account.
I am still
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Hi Angela,

Thank you so much for your nice and helpful reply.
They haven't called it credit note. They said that the system will "automatically issue an invoice" every time I check one of my tasks as "completed" on their system.
As far as they told me, the system does not allow to add my own invoice number and my company details on this "invoice", and they will not be sending notes or invoices to me. I will only be receiving their payment on my account.
I am still waiting for a call from them to talk about their new system. I will let you know!


I think I have understood your method, just one thing is not yet clear to me. When you say:

"I just check that their credit note for the month matches my invoice for the month (same final figures etc.) "

How do you make your numbering match with the ones issued by your clients without having issues with your numbering system?

Thank you again!
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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Thanks Nov 12, 2018

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

La facture doit être rédigée en double exemplaire. Le vendeur et l'acheteur doivent en conserver chacun un exemplaire.

I don't know how the tax authorities are supposed to verify this, but as I said it is a legal requirement, at least in France.


Thanks. Yes, it’s correct. But as it’s in the Code de commerce, not in the Code général des impôts, it really has nothing to do with tax. If anyone gets into trouble with this, it’s likely to be the client, as they use their own internal notes instead of the actual invoices. They are the ones who claim tax deductions.

In real life, it would seem to make little difference for the translator to email the actual invoices if they just annoy the client and the client deletes them. If anyone complains, you can always say the invoice was sent by post, as it's impossible to prove whether that was actually done or not. Or you could say they were emailed, as there is no obligation to keep any evidence that the invoice was sent, and a normal email leaves no trace outside various server logs.

It could also be argued that since the client has asked not to receive the actual invoices, as they use what they claim to be self-generated invoices, then in practice the obligation that each party keep a copy can be considered met.

Usually Hecteur l'Inspecteur is more interested in finding undeclared revenue than engaging in pedantic exercises like this (disclaimer: I’m not calling you pedantic, but it would be pedantic for any authority to make a fuss of this in the translator’s end).


ArelTranslation
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Notes or invoices Nov 12, 2018

ArelTranslation wrote:

How do you make your numbering match with the ones issued by your clients without having issues with your numbering system?


I obviously don’t know what Angela does, but I would just store their so-called invoices, if they sent them, without recording their number series, as I don’t consider myself responsible for whatever internal paperwork they decide to produce, just as my accountant would not be responsible if I were to create my own internal versions of his invoices. For me, such ‘invoices’ are nothing more than the client’s internal notes.

I only treat the invoices I produce myself as valid for my own accounting purposes. If the client doesn’t want them, it's their problem.

I don’t have any clients that make it impossible for me to insert my own invoice numbers, though.


ArelTranslation
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It happens Nov 12, 2018

I've had two clients who've insisted on doing this, in slightly different ways.

One provided a "notes" field, where I entered my invoice number and a couple of other things required at my end before confirming my acceptance of the "invoice" (which it wasn't really as it makes no sense at all for the client to produce that!). I then printed/downloaded the file so that I had a copy for my files. That worked fine.

The other one allowed no input from me at all, not even t
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I've had two clients who've insisted on doing this, in slightly different ways.

One provided a "notes" field, where I entered my invoice number and a couple of other things required at my end before confirming my acceptance of the "invoice" (which it wasn't really as it makes no sense at all for the client to produce that!). I then printed/downloaded the file so that I had a copy for my files. That worked fine.

The other one allowed no input from me at all, not even to print it in any sensible way.They said nothing was needed from me other than confirmation. I disagreed! Each month, they received from me a one-line invoice that simply referred to their own number and the total amount. I sent it with "For your records" in the title. I neither know nor care what they did with it as all I wanted was to keep my own records in order.
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ArelTranslation
 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
To answer your question... Nov 12, 2018

ArelTranslation wrote:

They haven't called it credit note. They said that the system will "automatically issue an invoice" every time I check one of my tasks as "completed" on their system.
As far as they told me, the system does not allow to add my own invoice number and my company details on this "invoice", and they will not be sending notes or invoices to me. I will only be receiving their payment on my account.


That sounds like a lot of admin hassle!



I think I have understood your method, just one thing is not yet clear to me. When you say:

"I just check that their credit note for the month matches my invoice for the month (same final figures etc.) "

How do you make your numbering match with the ones issued by your clients without having issues with your numbering system?


I mean that I check that the payment amount that they say they owe me is the same as the payment amount I have on my own invoice -- so we have no discrepancies or disagreements about what amount is owed.

I don't even try to match my own numbering with my clients'. I simply save their credit notes under the correct date (so for example, their credit note for May 2018 is saved as "201805 - [client's file name]" in my folder structure -- that way if we have any questions later about May, I can just go to that folder and find their credit note easily) and I save my own invoices the way I always do. So I have two copies of essentially the same information, just one is their credit note and one is my invoice.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
estimating collision and dispersion Nov 12, 2018

Once I had a similar issue getting random PO numbers from my client. He explained that numbers were obfuscated to prevent corporate espionage (for example when a "secret buyer" makes an order on Monday and Friday, counting the difference in check/PO numbers to extrapolate the rival's performance)

[Edited at 2018-11-13 04:31 GMT]


 

ArelTranslation
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you!! Nov 13, 2018

Angela Rimmer wrote:

I mean that I check that the payment amount that they say they owe me is the same as the payment amount I have on my own invoice -- so we have no discrepancies or disagreements about what amount is owed.

I don't even try to match my own numbering with my clients'. I simply save their credit notes under the correct date (so for example, their credit note for May 2018 is saved as "201805 - [client's file name]" in my folder structure -- that way if we have any questions later about May, I can just go to that folder and find their credit note easily) and I save my own invoices the way I always do. So I have two copies of essentially the same information, just one is their credit note and one is my invoice.


Thank you so much for the thorough explanation!


 

ArelTranslation
Netherlands
Local time: 11:00
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Nice workarounds! Nov 13, 2018

Thank you all of you for the replies and explanations!

Now I have a clear idea of how to deal with this client. It is the first time that one of my clients wants to employ this system and obviously, my main concern is to keep my records in order and not to have problems with the tax office!


 


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