Distinction between Bill and Invoice (was: Re: Customer Summary Report - Expenses all zeros)

Rosi Dimova rosi.dimova at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 06:31:50 EDT 2013

Good afternoon everybody,

2013/6/25 Geert Janssens <janssens-geert at telenet.be>

> On Tuesday 25 June 2013 11:19:25 Derek Atkins wrote:
> > Robert Smits <bob at rsmits.ca> writes:
> > > Derek, why do we have both Vendor "Bills" and Vendor "Invoices"? In
> > > my mind they seem like the  same thing, but obviously they aren't
> > > since we have both of them in Gnucash.
> >
> > Where do you see "Vendor Invoices"?
> >
> > We have Customer Invoices, Vendor Bills, and Employee Expense
> > Vouchers. I needed to come up with different words in English because
> > other languages definitely separate a "bill" you receive that you
> > need to pay versus a bill (invoice) that you send out for someone
> > else to pay you. In English the words are effectively synonymous so
> > only context gives you direction, but other languages have different
> > words to express the direction.
> >
> Slightly off-topic for the original question, but...
> I'm actually still looking for an example where this really is the case.
> In Belgium (Dutch/French)
> it is not. A customer receives a "Faktuur" (invoice) and a vendor sends a
> "Faktuur" (invoice) as
> well.
> I have seen users expressing the desire to differentiate the names to make
> it easier to know if
> the invoice is from a vendor or a bill at all times. So the Dutch
> translation have become
> "Verkoopfaktuur" (sales invoice) and "Aankoopfaktuur" (purchase invoice).
> But this is certainly
> no a legal requirement. Legally, only "Faktuur" exists.

So does Bulgarian and this "invoice and bill" stuff turned my translation
into a nightmare. I started and stopped few times during the years because
of it and because of imbalanced and orphan accounts (which is a different

We have invoices and bills but the difference between them has nothing to
do with issuing them to customers or receiving them from vendors. There is
only one word for sales invoices and purchase invoices --> фактура
[fak`tura]. We also have "tax invoice" and "simplified invoice", but it's
not a good idea to get that deep :)

You can issue an invoice and you can receive it for payment and the only
thing that matters is if you are allowed to reclaim VAT, resp. obligated to
charge VAT by the legislation. And nothing else. :-) Bills are much more
like receipts for purchased and sold goods/services and generally used as
evidence for immediate payment (restaurant, tickets, shopping, Internet,
etc.)  They cannot be used for any VAT-related issues.
In other words, invoices only matter if you want to refund VAT and bills
are not VAT-reclaimable.

So, I decided the category "Customer invoices" refers to issued
bills&invoices to the existing customers. And "Vendor bills" must be
received bills, receipts, and invoices, no matter if already paid or still
waiting payment. Since I use GnuCash for housekeeping only and not for
business, I still have no idea if I'm right or totally wrong. Nor do all 5
users of the Bulgarian translation. :-)


[1] Just for the record: we don't have either accounts in our legislation,
the concept is just missing. All the accountants I asked were screwed-up by
the explanation. There is no way to transfer amount and not to appoint
where it comes from and where it goes to. And no option to delete the
parent account and not to specify what happens with the child accounts and
records within. Luckily, a friend of mine working for a foreign company
gave me the correct names.

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