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Next month purchase order issuance
Thread poster: Frank van Overveld

Frank van Overveld
France
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
interesting Aug 1

Sheila Wilson wrote:

1) Once I've done the work, payment becomes due. l might decide to defer the invoice to the end of the month, but once that arrives, I invoice. If they haven't sorted a PO, that isn't my problem. I have the right to invoice.

2) I agree to wait a bit for the PO before invoicing. But the clock keeps ticking so they have less time to pay.

3) I refuse to work with them again. That's what I did the last time I experienced this type of problem. Nowadays, I don't have a single client who issues POs. We (my clients and I) all know the "rules" of business and we're fair to both sides of the partnership.


That's interesting, every agency I've worked with has issued PO's. The problem is they need the PO number to check if the amounts of the invoice correspond to the amount of the task. Which references do you use on your invoice? Simply the name of the task? Do you calculate the exact amount yourself (with fuzzies etc.)?


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:37
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Frank Aug 1

I had a similar experience some years ago with a British agency: POs were supposed to be provided at the end of the month and were always late and quite often incorrect, so the whole process (invoicing and payment) was also late. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for a while, assuming that they had bit off a little more than they could chew, because I had been working with them occasionally for some time with no problems, their projects were interesting (transcreation), very regular (each wee... See more
I had a similar experience some years ago with a British agency: POs were supposed to be provided at the end of the month and were always late and quite often incorrect, so the whole process (invoicing and payment) was also late. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for a while, assuming that they had bit off a little more than they could chew, because I had been working with them occasionally for some time with no problems, their projects were interesting (transcreation), very regular (each week) and well paid. After one year with almost no change, just when I had decided that enough was enough, the account was sold to another agency and… everything has been fine since.Collapse


 

Frank van Overveld
France
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update Aug 1

So today I received the PO's for last month.

Maybe my complaining has paid off, because the new payment conditions state 30 days EOM from the date of the invoice.

It doesn't explain what 'from the date of the invoice' means, whether it's the issuance date or the reception date, but the 30 days is an improvement.

So in theory, my problem is solved.

In practice, that remains to be seen.

Thanks everybody for your input.


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
huh Aug 1

Frank van Overveld wrote:

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:

Frank van Overveld wrote:

The change consists of issuing PO's only after the end of the month of the rendered service. This means that if I hand in a translation ordered on July 1 the same day on July 1, I will receive the PO on August 1, 2 or 3. I will then issue my invoice, which will be paid 60 days EOM. This means 60 days from the end of August, which is at the end of October. Taking into account bank transfer delays, I receive the money on my bank account during the first days of November.



What do you mean by "ordered", if you don't have a purchase order? Don't do the translation, it hasn't been ordered.
If it has been ordered, and you've completed and delivered it, then you can damn well invoice it, with or without whatever the agency chooses to refer to as a PO.




Most of the work I receive from them is part of ongoing projects they selected me for, one of which started in 2017 for example, so I usually would receive only one PO at the end of the month with all the different tasks. I didn't mind that, it simplifies things. But the PO would be issued at the end of the same month.

You have the same argument as another member mentioned above, I will give that a try. They'll probably say that the PO number is required, but I can answer what you are saying. It probably won't make a difference though, those people are just doing what management is telling them to do. And they didn't want to give me their superior's e-mail address to talk to them directly.


[Edited at 2019-07-31 22:08 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-08-01 07:43 GMT]


That's interesting, and it makes their system sound sort of reasonable. But the bottom line is if that they've ordered the work, you've done it, and they've received it safely, you can invoice it and expect to be paid. The system with "requiring" job numbers, etc., is part of *their* system and you, as the freelancer, shouldn't *have* to be tangled up in it.

Not all my clients issue POs, and not all my clients provide job numbers. For those that don't, yes, I calculate the total myself and I put the filename and number of words in the invoice.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Welcome to the Four Months Club! Aug 1

Frank van Overveld wrote:
This means that if I hand in a translation ordered on July 1 the same day on July 1, I will receive the PO on August 1, 2 or 3. I will then issue my invoice, which will be paid 60 days EOM. This means 60 days from the end of August, which is at the end of October. Taking into account bank transfer delays, I receive the money on my bank account during the first days of November. ... In total, this constitutes a maximum delay of up to four months...


Some of us have gotten used to it a long time ago already. What you need is a good mix of clients who pay within a short period of time to off-set any cash-flow issues that clients who pay after a long period may cause.

I wonder if it is legal.


In which country?

Anyway, in my country of residence, by law I have to demand payment with 30 days of the invoice, and I can legally send an invoice at any time (even before the job is done), with no need for an official PO, and if an agency pays later than those 30 days, I can legally demand late-payment interest at rates that are set by law. But: if I were to do all of that, I'd just lose the client.

In addition, in my country of residence, if the client says "1. you must only send an invoice after you've received a PO, 2. you will be issued a PO after two months only, and 3. we will pay the invoice three months later" and I say "okay" and continue to work for them under those terms, then it's legal.

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:
Frank van Overveld wrote:
The change consists of issuing PO's only after the end of the month of the rendered service.

What do you mean by "ordered", if you don't have a purchase order? Don't do the translation, it hasn't been ordered.


It is quite common for agencies to issue something that in our industry is commonly referred to as a "PO" only after the job was done. The "PO" isn't always what you'd think it is. In most cases, the "PO" is just an official confirmation of all the facts of the job, and the "PO" isn't the document that orders the purchase (despite being a "purchase order"). The "PO" contains a number or or set of numbers that you must mention on the invoice, and without those numbers, agencies who issue such "PO"s reject the invoice.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Once I've done the work, payment becomes due. l might decide to defer the invoice to the end of the month, but once that arrives, I invoice. If they haven't sorted a PO, that isn't my problem. I have the right to invoice.


If this is so important to you, then of course you should whittle away any clients who refuse to conform to your idea of proper invoicing behaviour. You (any translator) should decide just how important it is to get paid after 30 days and no later. In my view, if an agency consistently pays, even though they consistently pay after 4 months, then they are dependable. But that is because getting paid after 30 days isn't a deal-breaking issue for me personally. Each translator should decide what is important to him.


[Edited at 2019-08-01 08:26 GMT]


 

Frank van Overveld
France
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
France Aug 1

Samuel Murray wrote:

Frank van Overveld wrote:
This means that if I hand in a translation ordered on July 1 the same day on July 1, I will receive the PO on August 1, 2 or 3. I will then issue my invoice, which will be paid 60 days EOM. This means 60 days from the end of August, which is at the end of October. Taking into account bank transfer delays, I receive the money on my bank account during the first days of November. ... In total, this constitutes a maximum delay of up to four months...


Some of us have gotten used to it a long time ago already. What you need is a good mix of clients who pay within a short period of time to off-set any cash-flow issues that clients who pay after a long period may cause.



What kind of agencies are these? Europen or other?


I wonder if it is legal.



In which country?

Anyway, in my country of residence, by law I have to demand payment with 30 days of the invoice, and I can legally send an invoice at any time (even before the job is done), with no need for an official PO, and if an agency pays later than those 30 days, I can legally demand late-payment interest at rates that are set by law. But: if I were to do all of that, I'd just lose the client.

In addition, in my country of residence, if the client says "1. you must only send an invoice after you've received a PO, 2. you will be issued a PO after two months only, and 3. we will pay the invoice three months later" and I say "okay" and continue to work for them under those terms, then it's legal.


In France.

The thing is they changed the policies, but I have to check if I have actually agreed to those or not.

But as I mentioned, the new PO's for last month state 30 days EOM now, so that should solve the problem.


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
bad faith Aug 1

Samuel Murray wrote:

It is quite common for agencies to issue something that in our industry is commonly referred to as a "PO" only after the job was done. The "PO" isn't always what you'd think it is. In most cases, the "PO" is just an official confirmation of all the facts of the job, and the "PO" isn't the document that orders the purchase (despite being a "purchase order"). The "PO" contains a number or or set of numbers that you must mention on the invoice, and without those numbers, agencies who issue such "PO"s reject the invoice.


Of course. I work with agencies who issue POs, or who issue a Job Number (under some name) in a confirmatory email. I sometimes work on projects where the client emails "Please go ahead, I'll send the PO shortly", and treat that as an order (to date, the PO has never not been issued "shortly", so I don't have Frank's problem). I always include the job number on my invoice, where I have it.

However, I don't believe that failure to issue a PO should prevent the translator from invoicing. If I hire someone to do some work for me, then I expect them to send me a bill and I'll pay it. I might ask them to include a specific reference number on their invoice in order to help me with my records/accounting, but if they fail to do so, or I mess up my internal administrative procedures and don't give them the number, that certainly doesn't mean they don't have a right to timely payment for the work done.


Christel Zipfel
Oleksandr Ivanov
Sheila Wilson
Philip Lees
Georgi Kovachev
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:37
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
purchase order issuance Aug 1

Delaying purchase orders is yet another way of delaying payment for months on end. My policy: no purchase order, no work.
Dump these people ASAP.


Oleksandr Ivanov
Zeineb Nalouti
 

Frank van Overveld
France
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Long term Aug 1

Michael Newton wrote:

Delaying purchase orders is yet another way of delaying payment for months on end. My policy: no purchase order, no work.
Dump these people ASAP.


Do you also apply this for long term projects, where you receive multiple assignments during the month which are part of the same project?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Some responses Aug 1

Frank van Overveld wrote:
The problem is they need the PO number to check if the amounts of the invoice correspond to the amount of the task.

I don't work with the behemoths that have a different department for every process -- I work with human beings who can look in an email or have other records to check things against. I did have one outsourcer send me an estimate just yesterday of the figures he expected to see on my invoice. But I'd have sent the invoice anyway, had I not received it. Anyway, why can't your client send out the PO when they initiate the order, or immediately on delivery? No, they're just stalling and need to be brought to order.

Which references do you use on your invoice? Simply the name of the task? Do you calculate the exact amount yourself (with fuzzies etc.)?

It varies enormously. Some clients put all the important info in the email subject: job number and/or file/job name plus number of words. I like that best as it's a record in itself. And I use whatever reference seems most appropriate in the invoice. One of my clients leaves me to quote the wordcount on the invoice. He knows roughly what it will be from the MS-Word statistics. And I translate marketing texts so although I do use a CAT tool I don't offer standard grid discounts. I usually go out of my way to avoid repeating myself!

Regarding your later post:
It doesn't explain what 'from the date of the invoice' means, whether it's the issuance date or the reception date, but the 30 days is an improvement.

But doesn't your invoice display the "invoice date"? I'm sure it should by law in many jurisdictions - that's certainly the case in both France and Spain. How can you sue a client for late payment if you don't know when the payment became overdue? And how, in the digital era, can the two dates differ? My own invoices contain both the invoice date and the payment due date - and both are labelled in three languages!


 

Frank van Overveld
France
Local time: 21:37
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
PO's, invoices... Aug 1

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Frank van Overveld wrote:
The problem is they need the PO number to check if the amounts of the invoice correspond to the amount of the task.

I don't work with the behemoths that have a different department for every process -- I work with human beings who can look in an email or have other records to check things against. I did have one outsourcer send me an estimate just yesterday of the figures he expected to see on my invoice. But I'd have sent the invoice anyway, had I not received it. Anyway, why can't your client send out the PO when they initiate the order, or immediately on delivery? No, they're just stalling and need to be brought to order.


I do not know why. All I know (observe) is that there are numerous project managers working with fairly large projects, and it's not them making the decisions when to issue the PO. The people who do decide are unreachable. But like I mentioned, they have since this month changed the payment conditions, it is 30 days EOM instead of 60 days EOM, which means the situation has returned to normal.

Which references do you use on your invoice? Simply the name of the task? Do you calculate the exact amount yourself (with fuzzies etc.)?

It varies enormously. Some clients put all the important info in the email subject: job number and/or file/job name plus number of words. I like that best as it's a record in itself. And I use whatever reference seems most appropriate in the invoice. One of my clients leaves me to quote the wordcount on the invoice. He knows roughly what it will be from the MS-Word statistics. And I translate marketing texts so although I do use a CAT tool I don't offer standard grid discounts. I usually go out of my way to avoid repeating myself![/quote]

OK, I see.


It doesn't explain what 'from the date of the invoice' means, whether it's the issuance date or the reception date, but the 30 days is an improvement.

But doesn't your invoice display the "invoice date"? I'm sure it should by law in many jurisdictions - that's certainly the case in both France and Spain. How can you sue a client for late payment if you don't know when the payment became overdue? And how, in the digital era, can the two dates differ? My own invoices contain both the invoice date and the payment due date - and both are labelled in three languages! [/quote]

It matters in the sense that they could take into account the date that is on the invoice (the emission date), or the date they received the invoice. I tried to send an invoice with an emission date of June 30 for example, even though I was only able to create it on July 1 because the PO's hadn't arrived yet. By putting an earlier date, it could have been possible calculte 60 days EOM from the emission date instead of the reception date. But they informed me that this wasn't possible either.


 
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