Invoice numbering

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Wed Sep 24 10:07:40 EDT 2008

"Maf. King" <maf at> writes:

> 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.

Well, not a PO number per se -- you could have multiple bills associated
with a single PO.

>  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! 

Well, we could change the report to add a new column.

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Maf.


       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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