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Changing the invoice date of a booked sale

Changing the invoice date of a booked saleHi i wanted to know what the affect is if i change the date on an invoice from November to May of this year by request of a customer? Can this be done and is this a correct accounting practice?

Thank you

Answers

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

When was the service rendered or the product sold? If in November, no. If the company's tax return has been filed, no. Maybe it could be if the original invoice was sent in November for a service that was to be performed in May, still I would not advise doing this. Since this crosses tax years and a span of six months, the implications are too numerous for both companies accounting books. Plus it is not correct according to GAAP.

Two things have to be considered,

First: ASC 605-10-25-1(a): revenues and gains are realized when products...or other assets are exchanged for cash or claims to cash.

Second: ASC 605-10-25-1(b): revenue is not recognized until earned meaning the entity (your company) has "substantially accomplished what it must do to be entitled to the benefits represented by the revenues."

Based on the information above on the ASC, if revenue has been realized or is realizable, then the invoice cannot be changed. If it does get changed due to upper-managements trump card, the implications are differences in the revenue reported to the state and federal agencies. It may not be that big of deal monetarily, but it is still not correct.

Hope this helps, if not maybe someone else can shed some insight.

Andrea Clarke
Title: Bookkeeper - Trainee Accountant ACCA
Company: Private
(Bookkeeper - Trainee Accountant ACCA, Private) |

Thank you very much for your advice. The invoice is for software subscription rendered in November. The customer has used this from the date of signing the quote. I did think that it was incorrect to do so i was not sure of the impact. I greatly appreciate the response.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

It's fundamental to internal control that the date of a transaction cannot be altered after it is posted. Should the original posting date be erroneous, I would submit you should (a) reverse the transaction (the invoice date and the posting date can be different) and (b) re-issue the invoice on the correct date and in the correct posting period.

If the real intention is to change the due date of the invoice, then I submit that you should alter the due date, but not the invoice date. Chris raised great issues around revenue recognition, but altering invoice dates can also indicate fraud (e.g. I can make all my 120+ day receivables look current:).

Topic Expert
Barrett Peterson
Title: Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis
Company: TTX
(Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis, TTX) |

A date should not be revised. If the product was shipped to the customer when originally recorded, a customer request to change the date is grossly inappropriate and should not be considered, as you may facilitate a fraud on their part, for at least financial reporting failures. You can, as Len suggested, modify your due date, but six months inactivity suggests your prospects of being paid are poor, which may require a bad debt provision. Chris set forth the fundamental accounting requirements.

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