Only letter-format invoices approved
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Aug 7, 2009

I didn't find a better forum for this posting.

Some months ago a US-based agency contacted me with an urgent job. I agreed to deliver in time. The next day the PM send me a PO, where they stated that I have to issue my invoice via their system.
I did not think further about it and delivered the translation in due time and the PM thanked me for it.

I send my invoice as pdf the normal way as an e-mail-attachment at the end of the month (April). The PM did not react.

Yesterday when I noticed no money had arrived yet I sent a reminder. The PM responded immediately and reminded that I had to use their invoicing system.

Ok so far. I went to the link provided and got into the system. Then I was confronted with a very complicated dialogue page, where I had to fill in job-number, PO number, e-mail address of the PM, amount in USD (my invoice is in Euro of course), date of invoice and at the end of it I had to click a row of boxes stating that all information was correct. In the last row it says:

I confirm that the attached Invoice is printable in 8.5"x11" letter format by default and not in any other format like A4.

Because all my invoices are A4 I technically cannot upload my invoice. Catch 22?

I wonder now if I ever will get my money without reformatting my invoice.

Well I cheated and and upload my standard invoice. Hope they will show mercy.

Regards
Heinrich


 

avsie (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
English to French
+ ...
PDF? Aug 7, 2009

I think I know which agency you're talking about - I usually upload my invoices in PDF format, 'printed' in Letter format. All my invoices have been paid so far, a couple even earlier than expected...

 

Burkhard Ziegler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:00
Russian to German
+ ...
Invoice in Letter format rqd - convert file into letter format Aug 7, 2009

Moin!
Take a word or excel file, set the page format to "Letter" and print it into pdf. Maybe, before printing, you have to set up a special print into pdf profile telling your engine to use Letter format for printing into pdf.
However, I understand that the outsourcer wishes to establish a straight through processing for receiving and printing invoices. However, to me they seem to overdo. If I would outsource a job to you and I would be satisfied with your work you shall receive your money even without quoting the PO number as long as all legal / fiscal requirements are met. Although I would shout out something when receiving your invoice without PO #icon_smile.gif.


 

Dejan Škrebić  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 16:00
English to Serbian
+ ...
Why not? Aug 7, 2009

OK, now it is over, but why was it a problem to reformat your invoice? In most applications it is a matter of a click or two. Did you actually want help on how to do that?

[Edited at 2009-08-07 14:16 GMT]


 

William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 16:00
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
Agree... Aug 7, 2009

Marie-Claude Falardeau wrote:

I think I know which agency you're talking about - I usually upload my invoices in PDF format, 'printed' in Letter format. All my invoices have been paid so far, a couple even earlier than expected...


I think this is the neatest solution in order to get your money, Heinrich. Good luck!icon_smile.gif


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:00
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A ridiculous requirement - in my view Aug 7, 2009

I think I know the agency you're talking about, too.
In my view, it's ridiculous to demand that a supplier invoice you in any particular format. As long as the supplier's invoice includes all the necessary information (PO number, date, addresses of both parties, details of the job, rate, total, VAT ref. etc. if any, and so on) it should be perfectly acceptable.
When a contractor does a job for me (installing new window frames springs to mind), it doesn't matter to me what his invoice looks like as long as it's correct.
We translators are much too meek and humble (doubtless securing ourselves a place in heaven, but still ...). We are the suppliers. Can't we equally well set our own terms of business, including our method of invoicing? Personally, I wouldn't work for an agency that insisted on all those fussy and difficult requirements. If I've done the work satisfactorily as ordered and have invoiced efficiently, that should suffice.
Cross but cheerful,
Jenny


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
English to Polish
+ ...
Letter and A4 Aug 7, 2009

Well, it may be that a document formatted to A4 will not fit on letter size paper (which is shorter, but wider than A4).
If they want to print an A4-formatted document on letter, they might end up with the last couple of lines on another page.

This is all unlikely, as I presume most of our invoices do not fill the page from top to bottom.
Then, I don't really see a big problem in "printing" the PDF in letter size.

I wouldn't worry, Heinrich. Relax, have a beer. It's Fridayicon_smile.gif

Best,
Pawel Skalinski


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:00
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
This is a large agency, using an automated process that actually works very well Aug 7, 2009

I know this agency, I work for them regularly.
Before they had this system, there were payment delays, lost invoices, missing approvals, etc. This new system seems to work flawlessly. Even though I felt some resistance at the beginning, I see the advantages now, and I think it is actually probably the best way I have seen so far from agencies that deal with a lot of invoices.

I would like to offer a description of my understanding of what they are doing:
First of all, they do not require you to change your invoice in terms of the content. All they ask you is to generate it as a Letter Size document. Is that such a big deal? Come on, we are dealing with much more complicated formatting requirements during our translation work, is that so hard to click one extra button?

The content of the invoice is standard, you include the PO, Job# etc, which is all given to you in the PO in a clear way, you just have to copy-paste. Again, no big deal. This is standard to include these in your invoice anyway.

Yes, you have to enter the same PO# and Job# and the PM's name in the dialog box, and yes, it seems like a duplicated effort, however, I am sure it has a specific purpose. I am guessing it is for routing the invoice, paired up with the PO to the person responsible for approval (very likely the PM - that's why they need the name, so the system could alert the PM that the invoice was submitted, so he/she could confirm the job was actually done). After approval, your vendor ID that you also need to enter on that dialog helps scheduling the payment to you - they can issue payment using the payment method they have on file for you.
If they did not have these pieces of info separately, somebody would have to open your invoice, find the PO#, etc, and manually get approval, send it for payment, etc. There are risks to doing these manually, delays and mistakes can result (as they did in the past).

You are getting a confirmation email after submitting your invoice, and you also get another one when they processed your payment. I see this as a good tracking function, a lot less chance for invoices getting lost, and I am updated on the process automatically.
So, I am actually happy that they have this system, payments are smooth now.

Katalin


 

Tom Ellett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
Swedish to English
+ ...
Life would be so much easier ... Aug 8, 2009

... if North America brought its paper sizes into line with the rest of the world!

 

Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Dutch to German
+ ...
Yes it would... Aug 8, 2009

Tom Ellett wrote:

... if North America brought its paper sizes into line with the rest of the world!


and - referring to this particular agency - if they stopped insisting on (US) cheques and started paying us Europeans in a civilized way*.

*Americans, don't feel offended, but cashing US cheques over here is one of the most cumbersome and inefficient things you can imagine.


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Wrong-size documents cause networked printer logjams Aug 8, 2009

If I may play "devil's advocate" for a moment, it is possible for an incorrectly sized document to cause problems for printing if the paper size is not in the printer. Say that a person receives a letter in A4 format (which is quite difficult for him distinguish from letter size offhand, if he is even aware that there exist different sizes). He sends it to print via the company network. Because there is no A4 in the printer, the printer simply reports an error and waits for instructions that must be entered manually at the printer (to print to letter size instead). Meanwhile, a logjam of unprinted documents is created until the issue is remedied. This problem is exacerbated if the company is large and many people are using a networked printer, which may be in a different room or out-of-the-way location that is not checked frequently. I have seen this happen many times.

That said, any legitimate invoice must be paid, and the need to have it in a particular format should be phrased as a polite request rather than a demand. I'm sure most people would be happy to comply.


 

juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Talking about efficiency... Aug 9, 2009

I don't actually work for them, but my reaction would be:

If they are so BIG and EFFicient, why don't they create an invoice template and send it out to their translators?

I know... we all have our own invoice template, system or program, and we are not willing to change it, but if they are not prepared to accept ours, then we have to accept theirs. So, why don't they make it simpler for us?


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:00
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I work for this agency too Aug 9, 2009

They are huge and their invoicing system is very mature. When you get used to it, it is not hard at all to precisely follow its requirements.

 


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