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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Posts Tagged ‘electronic invoices’

The curse of getting electronic invoices

Posted by jpluimers on 2015/01/29

I’m getting nuts with all these companies insisting on sending digital invoices or receipts.

The worst is that each and every company has figured a way that works well for them, but is slightly different from all the other vendors. You’d think there are not that many degrees of freedom. There are.

A lot of them aren’t even invoices, as they miss valuable information (for instance Dutch ones lacking chamber of commerce or VAT numbers) or they sent you a ton of stuff where invoice is not called invoice or receipt at all.

Others send you an order confirmation, payment confirmation, shipping estimate, shipping confirmation, rating reminder, pro-forma invoice. But no invoice.

The attachments are horrible. Some send them as PDF, some just HTML mail, like with images that need to be downloaded but are gone after a while. Others even send Word documents, CSV files, or Excel sheets. Of the paged documents, they are often formatted for Letter (hey, there is a whole world out there with A4!).

It gets really painful when you need to go on-line to retrieve the attachment. Sometimes a cookie suffices. Sometimes you need to login. The worst are when during login, they disable auto password entry in a browser.

Some of the attachments (even PDFs!) contain just a bitmap image of the invoice: no OCR, not searchable. is known for this.

Talking about they managed to send me a German order confirmation. With dates in Spanish (as I found out through Google Translate of 26 de enero de 2015):

And many of the invoices lack key information to relate them to bank account or credit card statements: transaction numbers not matching or completely gone.

This used to be so easy in the past when we had paper invoices. Once every month or so, I sat down, ripped open all the envelopes, sorted them into categories (private, company, etc), did payments.
When the statements come in, just put the right ones with the right statements and hand over to the book keeper that does the tax filings. Simple and took an hour or so!

I spent most of today figuring out all the electronic invoices of last quarter (the paper stuff took me like 30 minutes).


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