Invoice numbering

Maf. King maf at
Tue Sep 23 10:29:34 EDT 2008

On Tuesday 23 Sep 2008, Derek Atkins wrote:
> Hi,
> "Maf. King" <maf at> writes:
> > Hi Derek,
> >

> Ahh, but see, what happens when you have bill #123 from vendor A and then
> bill #123 from vendor B?  If you're just looking for bill #123 you need
> more information to uniquely identify the bill.

Ah,  I can't really see a real world example where you are looking for a bill 
with "their ref. no" as the _only_ info which you know.  Even if that is the 
case, and you get several returns to a query in the find bill dialog, the 
company name is shown as part of the result too.

You (and others) have suggested that the Bill_ID is some sort of unique ref. 
to me (possibly a PO number, from some external system), and the Billing_ID 
is their number.

 Suppose VendorA phones up and asks why they don't see payment for bill #123. 
You can either go Business -> Find Bill -> Search [Bill_ID | Billing_ID | 
{others}] (in which case your example is moot, as you already know extra info 
(you're on the phone to them), and my point is also moot, as you can look for 
either field)

Or, you can run a vendor report (a quick click from Payables Ageing - which I 
always have open) which ONLY shows Bill_ID. You can't distinguish their bill 
123, from 456 etc. What do you say to the person on the phone? - "Sorry, 
could you cross reference that invoice number to my arbitrary number on my 
accounts system" - doesn't seem that clever to me! 

As another example, when picking through an account to see why something 
doesn't balance, then I contend that the _more_ useful info to be able to see 
is what is unique about the bills on that company's account, which is their 
number - your ref. no probably doesn't even feature on the paper copies, and 
certainly not on any copies that are held by the vendor in the event that you 
need to get a duplicate or something.

Anyway, it isn't worth getting worked up about.  What I do works for me, even 
if I have swapped the use of the fields from the design intentions, which 
obviously work well for you!

> GnuCash has no real support for creating Purchase Orders.  That work
> was started (GncOrder) but never completed.  Vendor Bills are not
> Purchase Orders and should not be treated as such (even if I suppose
> you could force it if you want).

No, I'm certainly not trying that - I only brought up POs as I thought another 
poster had mentioned them.


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