Invoice numbering

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Mon Sep 22 09:56:16 EDT 2008


Incoming Bills and Outgoing Invoices have separate counters.
Keep in mind that the Invoice ID is YOUR number.  The Billing
Reference is the OTHER person's reference.


"Maf. King" <maf at> writes:

> 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 a 
> 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 (I 
> use yymmdd format - sort of monotonic for each vendor!).
> HTH,
> Maf.
> 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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       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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