Another unbalanced balance sheet

Neil Williams linux at
Tue Jan 25 17:22:36 EST 2005

On Tuesday 25 January 2005 9:59 pm, you wrote:
> >On Tuesday 25 January 2005 7:35 pm, Robert Locke wrote:
> >They start off with an opening balance, 0 hopefully, and a series of
> > invoices and payments. The final balance clearly indicates the amount
> > outstanding. If that happens to coincide with a specific invoice, fine.
> >
> >> When a customer pays an amount that obviously belongs to a later
> >> invoice, then that invoice should be marked paid and the older invoice
> >> should be left open.

Not at all - you set the dates of the report and that will include invoices 
that are paid as well as those outstanding. It's a FULL statement, exactly 
like a bank.

> Actually Lowe's, a major building supplier in U.S., just implemented
> exactly such an online system for their business customers. The customer
> checks off the invoices he is paying and the credits he is recognizing.
> Then he makes his payment.

The exception that proves the rule?

> I think you are speaking for yourself not the customer.

No, as a customer, all I need to see is how much is still outstanding. It's up 
to you to set up your customer details so that the customer only gets the 
specific invoices that relate to his account.

> You seem to be assuming that there is no returnable merchandise or
> possibility of dispute of a particular item.

Of course that's considered - I've been doing this every day with twice daily 
orders in excess of £3,000 each for 12 years! It works. We're returning 1% of 
all orders every day. Damaged goods, missing goods, goods not invoiced - 
easy. You issue credits for those, they appear on the statement and reduce 
the total amount to be paid.

You DON'T change the INVOICE - that still remains at the original cost. You 
CREDIT the customer and show that on a statement. That's the business method.

Once an invoice is posted, it STAYS posted.

> >No. Don't you reconcile bank statements? You tick off each one and the
> > test of whether it has worked is the FINAL balance, not any particular
> > point along the way.
> Would it not be impossible to know what was happening if you were balancing
> your checkbook and you went through your
> checks and just marked enough to cover the total amount that was disbursed
> from your account without regard to which checks had actually been paid?
> That is exactly what you are advocating.

Rubbish. The statement shows which ones have been cashed (or paid in reverse) 
and you check those off. What matters is that the final balance matches, NOT 
whether you've matched every payment to a single invoice.


Neil Williams

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