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Prevent invoices from being changed



Once an invoice has been "issued" accounting practice in some countries does not allow for the invoice to be modified.

I know from a technical perspective that it's almost always possible to change a invoice as long as it's stored electronically, however lawmakers are not technical people and certain leeway is generally accepted in the implementation of this law. Usually the legal system accepts as a good enough solution a system that does not facilitate the change, even if it does not make it completely impossible.

Today's implementation of invoicing in WHMCS however does not just facilitate the changing of sent invoices, it actually makes it itself. Client data needs to be stored with the invoice data, today the invoice data just points to the client ID, if the client data is changed then so is the invoice data for historical invoices. This is not ok.

The usual implementation is system is to have a "invoice sent to client flag" and once that is set the invoice is saved in it's total and can not be changed easily though the system. Some system enables you to "uncheck" the flag and then change the invoice.

I know there are some workaround for this by saving the PDFs of the invoices in a 3rd place or by using the fixed PDF data plugin available as a addon, but they are workarounds and does not solve the basic problem in the system.
Merged Ideas
    Be able to disable buttons "Cancel", "Delete" or "Edit" Orders and Invoices when an EU invoice is "Paid".
    In EU Invoices Paid and sent, cant be later deleted, cancel or edit becauseits iligal.In WHMCS we can delete, cancel, or edit even if an Invoice is "Paid", but legaly cannot have that option to Delete, cancel or edit.
    Manage Invoice-View Invoice
    Replacement of Manage Invoice permission to Edit Invoice and add View Invoice permission.Currently the Manage Invoice permission is associated with View Invoice also and it's impossible to allow permission to view only invoices.
    Invoices Should Follow Standard Accounting Procedures
    Invoices once published should not be changed, ever! Late fees should be on a new invoice with a reference to the original invoice.
Tags
  invoices,eu,law,edit

22 Comments

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This situation of invoices being altered automatically is doing my head in. I agree with Michael that automatically creating a credit note would be a good solution to this, but even just leaving the invoice as-is would be better, we can handle creating credit notes manually but these undetectable removals of line items opens us up to potential legal trouble.
There is possibly a VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION. Because only real invoices are affected, WHMCS could implement a new setting: "Don´t touch invoices?"
If set, invoice items will no longer be deleted from invoices, instead a credit note is issued.

Bamm - that easy.

Then it could work like this (no proforma invoicing):

Invoice created with several items
##
Client cancel one of the products just invoiced.
##
Client get credit note (new invoice with status refund) for the cancelled item automatically.

This is easy to do - but only for WHMCS devs.

3rd party hook/module would fail, as we can´t detect nor prevent invoiceitem deletion.

Another solution I´am testing right now is much more radical:
We do not need any prepaid invoicing at all, so we just could remove the automation settings from the invoiceitems completely at the time an invoice has been created (not the first invoice, only subsequent invoices). At this time, we manually set nextduedate and nextinvoicedate at the tblhosting table according to the products to prevent reinvoicing. This would have the effect, that on product cancellation it is not possible for WHMCS to delete the invoiceitem any longer as it is no longer bound to a product ID and thus can´t be found. Therefore the invoice remains untouched, while the product can still be cancelled whenever the client wants to.

This is maybe only possible, if you do not need automation (action when an invoice is paid). Most would need this at least for domain renewal. We have a reverse contract (our domains always renew until cancelled, so we do not need to care about this)

I do not recommend to do so to anybody as this is really a radical cut which can bring some unwanted results.

So please WHMCS.... do the simple thing and don´t touch invoices anymore.
I made a short investigation about this with a friend at PWC and even in England this behaviour isn´t legal. If you need to change an invoice you need to issue debt notes or credit notes, the regulations are nearly the same as in Germany. So you simply can´t just delete invoice items. In England you need to add the original invoice number to the credit note and the date of the original invoice. Nearly the same as in Germany, but we also need to declare for which item the credit note ("correction invoice") is issued.

Currently if an invoice is cancelled, we use a hook to detect that and when the invoice is unpaid, we automatically issue a refund/credit note/correction invoice. That´s ok for us. But if we have more than 1 item and the item in question is simply deleted, we have no chance to be aware of it, right? Or does anybody know a possibility to detect and correct?

Invoicing the way it is, may be ok for proforma invoicing, but we need to get a FAST solution if used with real invoicing.

As a developer I have an imagination what that means for the dev team. Sleepless nights. This will not be an easy task and means to say goodbye to product/automation/invoice linking and go straight to credit/debit notes handling with even more work to invest into automation handling.

I´m willing to contribute a workaround module to the community, if we at least get a chance to catch the deleted items when deletion occurs. Currently investigating how this can be done in detail.

But please consider this request and take it as serious as it is.
To all of you who are upvoting this request, please note that issued invoices are changed also by enabling or disabling auto renew for domains. This is far more dangerous because it is not easy to detect.
What happens if you have 2 items on an invoice issued to a client and one item is a domain renewal? Now, client disables auto renew. WHCMS kills (deletes) the line item in the already issued invoice. That is totally illegal (in my jurisdiction)

If there is only one line item for the domain renewal, the invoice will only be marked cancelled but NOT deleted. This is ok, we use invoice status only for information and issue automatic correction invoices (which are refunds) in that case. No problem with that so far.

But silently killing single line items (with no possibility at all to catch them before deletion) is worse.

As a workaround I disabled the auto renewal settings for the client in our template and replaced this with a message, that client should contact support to cancel a domain.

Writing that, I now fear what will happen if there are 2 products invoiced and client cancel one of those before due date. I will need to check and try that, but I think the same bad thing happens and one line item will be deleted.

So I would highly appreciate an option that prevents invoice manipulation post issued.
Please consider it for inclusion in the next update or at least within a reasonable time. The reason can be found on https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32006L0112
(look for Article 246 and then especially look at "In respect of the
invoices referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 233(1), the
details they contain may not be altered and must remain legible
throughout the storage period."). Is there a full list available of all
situations where WHMCS alters invoices without an admin doing it?
this wont happen eher in whmcs.

resons is, whmcs is badly structured, to a point where we face a dead end.
problem is that everythign relys on altering invoices in the past.

for example, transaction fees, or domains that wiont be renewed and expire (domains will then be deleted from invoices)

even worse for the dependence on invoices - prodcuts and renew cycles are actually linked to the invoice !!!
thats pure insanity, sorry dev team but it is what it is.

normaly, you would track everything related to a service within the service record.
but for some reason someone decided to instead track it within the invoices., at least some things related to autorenew domains on payment

to change all that would mean a huge rewrite of large junks of the program. very large junks.
but then a lot of addon devolper would scream cause aloen that invocie mess is subject to a dozent addons.

whmcs is the only programm that has an audit addon to track changes and lsot invoices, thats pure insity for a billing program. seriously... you had one job......

no whmcs is an automation tool, its a selling tool, its not a billing tool.

and peopel scream for changes over at least 4 years (what ive seen in the forums)
so i gave up on that

right now im evoluating other options cause i cant work like this ever
yes profroma invocies ARE NO fiscal document. repeat after me 50 times, a proforma invoice is not an invoice.


its more of an estimate and not a proper way to request any kind of money.
the only within the EU (and US at least bigger comapnys do it the same way) legal way is
-invocies are final
-onyl invocies are a proepr way to request payment
-wrong invoices (to be corrected) or canceling invoices are to be corrects via
- first a credit invoice to cancel old one out (or part of it)
- new invoice
orginal
1x ssl for 500€
__credit invoice would be ___
-1x ssl for -500€
__new invoice___
1xssl for 400€
also invocies should not be marked as unpaid or paid.
you CAN add transactions and stuff, thats nice for the customer and perfectly legal addon but not required
transaction /payment reciets are complete different thing
an invocie can combine both but dont have too. a payment reciet is made by the payment provider / bankstatement whatever
together with the invoice it will create a valid document for tax deduction
transactions on a invoice is just a nice infromation for the customer but not elgally valid for that reason
so the customer need anyway alawys the statement of payment in soem form togehter with the invoice
Reading up on this I don't agree that proforma invoices are to be considered fiscal documents. It's description of 'asking to pay' is spot on but your legal grounds to chase a customer are limited and sometimes non-existent. Proforma invoices are not final. They are often used when dealing with customs.

To be honest I don't have much problems with the fact that you can change invoices. It would be better if you can't, but training can do a lot here. Being able to send proper credit notes would be a welcome addition but my main concern is WHMCS changing invoices without our intervention. This should be changed first. WHMCS shouldn't be allowed to make changes unless you allow it to.

Companies in the US wouldn't treat WHMCS the same as companies from Europe. A toggle to switch this on and off would therefore be useful. If an invoice is changed we need a full audit trail, what happened, when and why. European law requires a reliable audit trail and I think that this would be useful for anyone, either way.
I totally agree. There really should be a way to make WHMCS NOT change an invoice after it has been created. This is a major problem even if it is possible to write custom addons that tries to stop this. It would be so much easier if WHMCS had a policy NOT to change invoices. 95% of our customers does not pay with cards and they must also follow european law. They find themselves in a total mess sometimes when their invoices are changed or even cancelled from our system. Our customer support would be so much relieved if this was prevented.
Even though it looks like this is planned they did exactly they introduced new functionality with the redemption/grace fees that still makes changes to invoices.
The redemption invoices are changed on the presumption that people pay online. If so, they would see that their invoice was changed and pay that amount. We still see a lot of customer who pay via bank transfer. As much as I would like to see this change it's the current reality we have to deal with. This means a customer either pays too much or too little depending on how you configure WHMCS. In our case we had domains removed from invoices and we had to manually go back through invoice e-mails to find the domains affected and renew them manually. That wasn't fun.
In my opinion a third option should be added to General Settings > Domains. It should create a new invoice with just the grace or redemption fee, link it to the domain and e-mail an explanation to the customer (a new invoice was created because the domain expired, etc, etc.). If the original invoice is paid and there is still a linked invoice open, don't renew the domain but notify the customer via e-mail or their account (if they pay online) that there is another invoice due. If both invoices are paid the domain can be renewed.
I had the same problem, and as i searching on WHMCS marketplace i found an add-on module named Invoice Data Updater. Can help you easily generate invoice snapshots for old invoices, change client details, custom fields and save the snapshot again to prevent any change.
This ideia will be possible in future? I saw that there is a addon...Cached invoices WHMCS addon module, that maybe help with our needs, bu never tested it, and anyways this fature better should be offered by WHMCS even if in a paid module...third part addon created by some one do not guarante us continuity to has these future for something soo important...

And if third part has know howhow to do that, WHMCS team also too...

Really expect to these futures comes available soo, if not free, could be paid, but let is make it possible.

Editing invoice after we add a payment transition is not allowed is most country, because, possibility to fraud Tax managment.

best regards
Hi,
We want to use WHMCS to issue invoices - but there are several problems with the way WHMCS is working now that are not inline with the law in our case.

In general there are several types of invoices and guidelines that we should implement in order to work legally:

  1. pro forma invoice: that is actually a way to "ask" customers to pay us. This invoice should have a clear indication that this is the original invoice document and a digital signature to prove this is the original invoice. also there should be no way to change such a invoice after it was issued. when trying to send the same invoice to a customer again - this invoice should have a clear indication that this is a certified copy of the original invoice.

  2. Invoice + receipt: you issue such an invoice if the customer already paid the invoice automatically so you send him the Invoice + receipt in one document. The serial number of this invoice should be different from the pro forma invoice number.This invoice should have a clear indication that this is the original invoice document and a digital signature to prove this is the original invoice. also there should be no way to change such a invoice after it was issued. when trying to send the same invoice to a customer again - this invoice should have a clear indication that this is a certified copy of the original invoice.

  3. Refund invoice: you issue such an invoice if there is a mistake in the Invoice + receipt document or if the deal was cancelled and you have to refund the amount the customer paid you already. since there shouldn't be a way to change the original Invoice + receipt document - the only way to set things right is to issue a refund invoice. The serial number of this refund invoice should be different from the pro forma invoice number and from the Invoice + receipt document.This refund invoice should have a clear indication that this is the original refund invoice document and a digital signature to prove this is the original refund invoice. also there should be no way to change such a refund invoice after it was issued. when trying to send the same refund invoice to a customer again - this refund invoice should have a clear indication that this is a certified copy of the original refund invoice.
As you can see there are things in the list above that works differently now in WHMCS.

  • WHMCS supports all three of these types of invoicing, which apart from Proforma ones are all based around the original invoice identification and each new status / invoice will replace the original document so when a client checks via their client area they will see in the invoice presented in whichever state it's currently in, so if in a "paid" state, that is the only invoice they will see however they will be emailed a copy each time the invoice is updated - but he relevant invoices will not be present in WHMCS.

  • As mentioned above "paid" and "refunded" invoices will share the same sequential number and will be actually the same document.

  • There is no way (out of the box) to add a digital signature to each type on invoices so it will prove this is the original document.

  • There is no way to prevent us (in the admin side) to change such an invoice (all 3 types) after we issued it.

  • There is no way (out of the box) to add an indication when sending to a customer the same invoice again - that this is not the original invoice but a certified copy of the original.

There are several feature request regarding the issues above:

  • This feature request is about removing the ability to edit an invoice from the admin side after such an invoice was issued.

  • This feature request is about having a different numbering for invoice and refund invoice.

  • This feature request is about separating the 3 types of invoices to be actual 3 different documents (or maybe i'm wrong).

  • This feature request is about adding PGP Support to sign outgoing Mails - I hope this deals with invoice digital signature

    So the only things left out (if the above feature requests really do handles the relevant issues I mentioned) are:

  1. To make sure that the 3 types of invoices are 3 different documents that we (and the customer) can see at all times.

  2. Making sure that the is only one "original" invoice document - and that every time we resend an invoice it will be marked with a clear indication that this is a certified copy of the original.


So to sum it all up:
We need a way to make sure that each type on invoice is a standalone document with different sequential number and have a digital signature to make sure that this is the only original document and prevent us from changing it after issuing it and with the relevant labeling as original document or a certified copy of the original.

Thanks!
Ram
I too looking for same.
Hi,
Thanks for the feedback. At present the invoice contact details can be locked using the Store Client Data Snapshot feature implemented in 6.0.
I understand that the desire for further restrictions on changes published invoices. In 6.2 we added the concept of Draft invoices, and building upon this we are considering implementing a new administrator role permission which would prevent users from being able to edit an invoice in a status other than Draft.
Please do let us know your thoughts on that proposal here in the comments or by up-voting this idea.
To change the invoice details once generated is not legal in all Europe and maybe in all countries. This feature must be included on the WHMCS.

As John says you can edit a pro forma because is not a legal payment document is just an invoice pendant to be accepted. But.. once the invoice become final invoice this can not be edited.

Also... WHMCS needs to allow create a different Prefix and sequential numbering for rectification invoices, that is needed to on a lot of European countries.

For Example:

A2017/00001
hosting service = 10€
VAT 21% = 2.1€
Total = 12,1€

And you need to edit or refund this invoice, we need to create a negative invoice with different prefix and sequential numbering, for example

R2017/00003 (correction of invoice A2017/00001)

hosting service = -10€
VAT 21% = -2.1€
Total = -12,1€
+1 for support for negative invoicing as the issue above is also a problem in Norway. We are not allowed to change invoices once generated, we can not do proforma invoicing, and once we need to cancel an invoice we have to create a new (credit) invoice with negative amount. From version 7.2 this is not supported anymore. In earlier versions the negative invoice did not cause any issues.

So please revert that change and make negative invoicing possible again, and implement the future for locking invoices once published.

Thanks,
Haavard
+1, Simple but important feature.