Invoice numbering

Etibusisweni Farm stocksi at
Mon Sep 22 04:57:33 EDT 2008

When Maf talks about "the new bill creation area" there is potential for
confusion.  Under New Bill for Vendors, there are two possible data entry
fields for ID data:  one, labelled Invoice ID, automatically generates a
number if left blank; the other, labelled Billing ID, remains empty unless
data is entered.

It would seem to me that the Billing ID field is intended for the number
appearing on the Vendor's invoice.  The Invoice ID corresponds to what, in
paper book keeping, might be called a Purchase Note number, which would be
generated by the recipient of the goods or services.  Both numbers appear on
the summary under View Vendor's Bills, but only the Invoice ID on the
default Vendor Report.

Apart from that, it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference which field you
use if you want to generate your own reference numbers and, yes, it would be
more convenient to have separate counters for the Invoice ID for Vendors and
Customers to allow for an uninterrupted sequence of Customer invoice numbers
if none is entered.


Message: 5
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 09:15:51 +0100
From: "Maf. King" <maf at>
Subject: Re: Invoice numbering
To: gnucash-user at
Message-ID: <200809200915.52254.maf at>
Content-Type: text/plain;  charset="iso-8859-1"

Hi Shane,

As a counterpoint for your comment, this is maybe more of a user/operational
thing than code tweaks.

By the same token that each of your invoices should have a unique and
monotonically increasing reference, so should all the invoices (bills) which
are sent to you.  Now, those numbers are obviously not from the same
sequence, as each supplier will have their own way of creating the reference
number - to this extent I agree that there should be 2 counters in GC, one
for bills & one for invoices - I thought there were, but it is a long time
since I did my playing around and setting up, and many changes have happened
to the code since then!.

I make a point of always entering the vendor's ref. in the new bill creation
area, so that I can run a report and see their ref. nos - has come in handy
few times for the "why haven't you paid bill x?" "what bill x - you haven't
sent me a bill x" sort of conversation.

If a bill doesn't have a uniquie ref. no., then I make one up from the date
use yymmdd format - sort of monotonic for each vendor!).


On Saturday 20 Sep 2008, Shane Litherland wrote:
> Hi again,
> while i'm at it, another thing i noted with invoice/bill numbering:
> as per gnucash user info, figured out how leaving invoice ID (for AP)
> blank generates auto-number, and if one wants to change starting number,
> can edit the counter in the code.
> I'd started a new gnucash file once most of my learning was done, and
> entered last year's stuff to check things were working for me :-)
> Entered my early outgoing invoices, letting them autonumber. then,
> I had happily ploughed on through entering a lot of my bills (aka
> oncoming invoices in AR), many without a bill ID then went back to
> produce my next outgoing invoice, to find the number not incremented
> from my last invoice... looked into it, realised the same counter got
> used to number both incoming and outgoing invoices ('invoice' and 'bill'
> are terms shown on most gnucash screens).
> most places i expect would want to have outgoing invoices numbered
> consecutively surely?
> Once aware of it, decided best way for me now was to ensure i enter some
> form of id for every bill (incoming invoice), to keep my outgoing
> invoices numbering consecutively. But, i can see room for design
> improvement here too - because with larger or multi users, leaves room
> for user error.
> My suggestions - a separate counter for incoming/outgoing (i.e.
> 'invoice' and 'bill' counters) might work? provided one or both had some
> prefix to identify "invoice 55" as different from "bill 55". My
> experience, had a setup for producing invoices, or quotes. each had
> their own 'counting' process, and data stored in different d/b tables
> too, but e.g. the quote number was given a prefix. Or, the field already
> in gnucash that identifies 'invoice' or 'bill' might serve well enough
> to separate them without a prefix needed.
> Discussion welcome - i can't write the solution, but happy to share bit
> of brainpower to figure something :-)
> Shane.
> PS - I haven't looked elsewhere e.g. -devel about such a topic, if i
> should be discussing this in e.g. -devel just let me know ;-)


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