Sending invoices
Thread poster: Roy Williams

Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Member (2011)
German to English
Mar 12, 2008

A spin-off from my previous post regarding invoices: What is the common practice for sending invoices, electronically or Post? is the latter required by law?


Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:59
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
It differs Mar 12, 2008

The best thing to do is ask your client. Some clients prefer electronic invoices (which, after all, usually get there faster than the post office). I can't comment on the law, which differs from one country to another.


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:59
German to English
+ ...
Usually electronic invoices are fine Mar 12, 2008

I invoice customers in the US and Germany, and my customers all accept electronic invoices now. I create the invoice in Word and then convert to PDF.


Cynthia Plac (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Czech to English
+ ...
Old School vs. New School Mar 12, 2008

Hello Wilroy,

I send my invoices electronically whenever possible. The electronic method is becoming the standard everywhere. However, it is wise to find out from the client what their preference is regarding the matter. Either the law requires hard copy with signatures, or not.

Aside from the law, some clients, as well as freelancers, prefer hard copy for their records. This can be paralleled with the fact that many photographers prefer film over digital. Paper invoices are tangible: they are a "commodity" in themselves.

On the other hand, our beloved electronic invoices, if prepared and sent as a secure PDF document, will fly all the way to the desired country unopened, unchanged, and without postal fees. Once the client receives the invoice, it can be printed and filed, and the existing file sent off to the accountants for prompt payment, hopefullyicon_smile.gif .


JPW (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
paper Versus electronic copy Mar 13, 2008

Surely if you send your client an 'electronic copy' of your invoice, they can PRINT it out themselves???

They'll own a printer won't they!!!???



Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
English to German
+ ...
Authentication Mar 13, 2008

Hi John,
See some past discussions on this issue.

John Paul Weir wrote:

Surely if you send your client an 'electronic copy' of your invoice, they can PRINT it out themselves???

They'll own a printer won't they!!!???


That's not the issue.
Under German tax law, electronic invoices are only eligible for deduction of input tax if they are authenticated using an approved e-signature process. Sure they can print out a PDF - but to avoid problems with the next VAT audit, they would need to delete the message to which the invoice was attached, plus any related correspondence. Strictly speaking, this would breach applicable tax rules.

For invoices including VAT, I accept an electronic copy in advance (to expedite payment, for example), but insist on getting a hardcopy.

Best regards,


Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
French to English
+ ...
Most accept electronic, but not the government Mar 13, 2008

When I started out, I always sent hard copy invoices to my clients. Slowly, a few clients began to mention that electronic invoices were actually faster and easier for them; this was also faster and cheaper for me.

Now when I invoice a new client, I always ask if they accept electronic invoices or if they prefer a hard copy be sent in the post (or both).

From memory, my only clients who require a hard copy (and don't want an e-invoice) are government departments. These are the most bureaucracy-intensive invoices, but once you know what to expect you become accustomed.



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