To take a good start this week, as promised, here is the new episode of my useful tools for translators. After the whys and hows of a translation quote, here’s everything you want to know about invoices. If the why is pretty clear, the how is more mysterious.
Don’t forget that everything here relates to the French market only.
The Chamber of commerce from Lyon offers a very helpful and extensive document on invoices, which are defined as an accounting document established by the commercial society stating the terms of sale and purchase of products, wares, goods or services ».
The list of mandatory indications is pretty long, so I will let you check the said document.
There is something I care about: the payment period. According to the French law (August 4th, 2008), the payment period is limited to 45 days end of month or 60 days from the issue date. But you may reduce this period in your terms of service, to 30 days for example.
Short note on terminology: the phrase "30 days end of month" means that you count 30 days and then jump to the end of the month (i.e.: for a bill dated on June 10th, add 30 days (July 10th) and jump to the end of the month: the bill is to paid by July 31st at the latest). The expression "60 days from the issue date" means simply 60 calendar days: a bill issued on June 10th is to be paid on August 10th.
For my part, I added on my bill that late payments were subject to a 15% penalty. The law cited above indicates that "the minimum rate for late payment penalties will be of 3 times the legal interest rate".
The “autoentrepreneurs”, which are not subject to VAT, have two other compulsory indications:
- Next to the total amount payable: VAT not applicable, Art.293-B (French general tax code)
- Next to your SIRET number and APE code: Exempted from registration according to Article L123-1-1 of French trade code or according to Section V, Article 10, law n°96-603, 5 July 1996 related to trade and craft development
And since I'm a oh-so-sweet Care Bear, here is a template invoice that you can adapt and use at your convenience. FYI, I use an Excel spreadsheet to avoid bothering with calculations, but it works just as well with Word. And by the way: save your invoices in PDF format before sending, it will avoid potential trouble.