If you have an Online Store and POS on Shopify you will have noticed by now that each of these 'locations' numbers their orders separately (POS with a '#1-' prefix). So far so good, as it allows you to track orders coming from each location. And for book-keeping issues it is not a problem as (at least in the UK) you can keep invoice 'series' as long as each one is numbered sequentially. The problem arises with the Online Store order numbering. After the POS is installed, the order numbers (and subsequent invoice) for the online store are no longer sequential.
Let's imagine the latest order number in the online store is #1000. We now had two (2) sales on the POS. The next online sale will now appear with the number #1003 instead of #1001, which would be the logical numbering sequence for the Online Store. The system seems to be taking into account the number of previous POS sales and adding them to the Online Store order numbering. The POS order numbers are correctly sequential.
By law in the UK (and as far as i know throughout Europe) all invoices need to be sequentially numbered from day one of a company issuing them. Which is logical. If you're audited by the tax authorities they want to follow the trail of the sales you've made and will enquire for the whereabouts of missing invoice numbers. Which aren't really missing as they never existed! And it's a long shot to hope a tax inspector will be knowledgeable of programming intricacies to forgive something that's written into the LAW as a book-keeping obligation. A fine and possible prosecution will surely ensue.
So, can Shopify elaborate on how they intend to solve the issue and save merchants endless hours of manually numbering invoices and/or investing in third-party accountancy software that generates invoices independent of the shopify orders?
Hey TILT Makeup,
Trey here from Shopify!
Shopify doesn't necessarily treat the orders and order numbers on Shopify as invoices. The orders/order numbers in your Shopify Admin and invoices would be separate things from each other, hence why it also may not follow a specific/sequential (and in this case, required) numbering pattern.
I can bring this up with our team to see what at all can be done moving forward, as a solution that's built into the platform, but at this point in time, a third-party solution or app would be the best here for immediate results.
You may consider checking out an app like Sufio - Automatic Invoices which gives you the ability to create sequentially numbered invoices for your orders which I also have on my shop as well, you can find that here: https://apps.shopify.com/sufio. There are also some related apps visible here: https://apps.shopify.com/search/query?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=invoice
Lastly, like you also mentioned, a third-party accounting solution which specializes with UK law and invoice numbering may be another route to go with as well.
I may get a bit technical here but if you take a look at the shopify order api, you can that there are see 3 different "numbers" attached to any order.
So even though the 'name' may not (always) be sequential, the 'number' and 'order_number' are sequential across your web store and all your POS locations.
Now the problem is that the number and order_number are not displayed anywhere in Shopify (at least as far as I know) so you can only 'see' the name (e.g. "#1001" or "#1-1001" for POS). If you need to view or export those numbers you will need an app.
Better Reports is able to show you the list of all your reports and can show you those 3 fields, which in case of an audit, should satisfy the auditors that there are no missing orders!
I attach a screeshot of how it looks in the app.
I hope that helps.
ps: I own the Better Reports app.
Has anyone heard if Shopify is doing anything about this? Quite a serious issue (as TILT mentioned, in UK missing orders cause a big problem if audited), and we don't want to try Shopify POS until we know this is resolved. Not going to pay a 3rd party app a monthly subscription charge for something which should be native to the Shopify system (no offense intended Clement, but I am sure you understand). It's a simple thing and there is no reason why order numbers should be skipping.
I have spoken to someone in customer service who has requested it as a feature, but they are just trying to push the Sufio app on us, an app we don't want to pay for. I feel like a lot of businesses are using Shopify's POS system, unaware that this will be a serious problem if audited (in the UK at least).
Would appreciate a response from anyone aware of whether this is something that will be implemented soon.
Does each invoice need to have the sequential number on it? Or do you just need to be able to prove that all sequential numbers were invoiced in the case of an audit?
If it's the former, then I see your problem.
If it's the latter, isn't it enough to know that the sequential numbers do actually exist and that you can get to them in the unlikely event of an audit?
Maybe I'm missing something...
Our workaround has been to edit the invoice templates' html by replacing the 'name' code line that shows the ORDER number and that is non-sequential for online orders when the POS is (prefix '# - ' for the online shop and '#1 - ' for the POS). Instead of the 'name' code line to number the invoice, use 'order_number' and that will give you a sequential number (starting at 1000) regardless if it is a POS or web-shop order. It might be a good idea to have the invoice number and the order number in the invoices as the only way you will have to know what order a client is referring to is by the order number (prefix '# - ' for the online shop and '#1 - ' for the POS). Note that we are still using the 'Print with Order Printer' free Shopify app for printing the invoices. We've been testing what i described above and so far it doen't seem to have created any problems. The only problem is of course that the past numbering of all your invoices is wrong and for safety they might all have to be printed again. If only Shopify had been helpful pointing to this quick fix ever since i started asking them about it almost a year ago...
Note that we haven't yet tested this fix in the receipts handed to the client's, coming out of the printer connected to the POS in-store.
Hope this is of some help
Our application solves this: https://apps.shopify.com/invoice-browse.
With Invoice Browse you can define accounting information for each location so it keeps sequential numbering for each POS location.
Give it a try,
Hope it helps!