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Units of measure, and other irritations

7th May 2016
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Two things have been causing me 'issues' this week - namely sales invoices, and units of measure.

On the invoicing front, I find I am getting more and more requests to re-print sales invoices to match some percieved process at the customer end.

Generally, these revolve around the display of the correct purchase order number on our sales invoice. I understand these are important to help the matching process - but in my view they are only really an aide memoire.

If I received an invoice that had one digit missing from the PO number, then, provided I could actually work out which order it was, I would have no problem posting the invoice.

I have customers who cannot seem to cope with an email confirming the correct PO number - they need it on the invoice.

Funnily enough, when I ask if they have accounting software that allows these details to be amended on an invoice after it has been posted they cannot really tell me.

I have two options here - one is to credit the invoice, raise a new sales order and invoice, and re - send. The other is to print out the PO number on a piece of paper, glue it over the original, and run it back through the scanner. I tend to choose the second option.

I have had further issues with overseas customers. These are not letter of credit sales, where I know everything has to be quite specific, but just normal credit shipments.

We have sent a commercial invoice with the goods, as normal, but then there is often some random request about the invoice itself. In this case, instead of showing 'invoice' the invoice needed to show 'proforma invoice'. With my purchase ledger hat on we are normally chasing the other way around.

I had to hand write "copy of original or original copy" and sign and date the invoice as well.

I am usually happy to do whatever is required to get paid from overseas - it just seems a bit of a faff to no real benefit..

Which brings me to my second issue - and that is units of measure.

Part of my business manufactures chemicals - taking varying formulations of source chemicals, and water, and producing products to sell.

I am trying to put together an access database to process the transactions, to help me deal with stock. Ideally I will use part of Sage 200 to do this - but I need to learn how everything works before I go down that route.

Chemicals are purchased, generally, in kilograms. However, each supplier will describe his sale differently - some sell by the kilo, others by the bag (with a stated number of kg), or others by the IBC - which are standard 1000 litre liquid containers.

The chemicals have different densities, and some of our formulations are specified in litres.

So there is going to be quite a lot of maths required to work out the production chain.

It is this kind of thing that I like doing - but it can be frustrating when you spend a long time on a database, or spreadsheet, only to realise you started from a wholly wrong premise and need to wipe it and re start.

Replies (6)

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By Tom Herbert
07th May 2016 20:38

Fascinating stuff, thanks tom. Do keep us posted on your units of measure conundrum.

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By kevin503
19th May 2016 11:34

We PDF and email all invoices. When trivial change is requested - we use Nitro Pro, a cheap PDF packages (ie. not Adobe!) to add or edit PDF content to suit customer whim.

On tricky UOM - yes, a minefield where different customers want different things, or when there is no "correct" answer. What I've tended to do is have multiple products to reflect customer requirements. For example product A is priced in weight, and identical product B priced in volume, sometimes with additional suffex to identify customer specific variations. Not perfect but workably with smallish product ranges.

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By john hextall
19th May 2016 12:12

I'm struggling with specific gravities at the moment - we buy chemicals by the Kg, mix and sell in 25/200/1000 litre containers so there are lots of SG conversions along the way. All of these are quoted at 20 degrees but, of course, the temperature can be very different when received or dispatched, leading to seemingly random blends. Good luck!

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night blue sky
By JJWong
31st May 2017 01:56

My issues were based on metric and imperial conversion issues between different regions; UK and US and Asia. I literally have to do a look up table approach and an ongoing calculator
Not only are accounting standards disparate, looks like the world can get its measurement standard aligned also.

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By naaz simra
05th Feb 2020 07:01

Thanks for sharing this useful information, for unit measure i personally suggest this site : Unit converter

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By danishgandhi
06th Jun 2019 06:15

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