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    Invoices and Payments


    How are invoices created in Alma?

    In Alma, an invoice can be created in several ways:
    1. Electronic data interchange (EDI) with a vendor
    2. Creating an invoice from the PO
    3. Creating an invoice manually or
    4. Loading invoices from an Excel file.
    The invoice workflow in Alma
    Receiving and invoicing can be done together or separately, depending on the library’s workflows.  Alma uses library-defined rules to automatically process an invoice to determine whether there are elements that require special attention.  If there are issues that require attention, the invoice is surfaced via the task list for review by a staff user.
    The diagram below illustrates a typical workflow for invoicing materials.


    EDI Invoices:
    When invoices are placed at an FTP location by an EDI-enabled vendor, Alma will automatically load and parse the invoices.
    Creating an invoice from the PO (Purchase Order):
    Alma supports the creation of an invoice automatically from a PO. Once the PO is selected Alma will automatically create invoice lines based on the PO details; the invoice line fields are automatically populated and are displayed in the Summary tab, where they can be edited as needed:


    Manual creation of an invoice:
    Alma also supports the completely manual creation of an invoice using the following form:
    When saving an invoice Alma checks whether the invoice foreign currency is different than the invoice line fund. If there is a difference, Alma calculates the expenditure price based on the foreign currency, according to the currency repository for the invoice date.
    Alma also supports defining an explicit ratio per invoice. In this case, Alma calculates the expenditure based on the explicit ratio and does not consult the currency repository.

    How are invoices accessed, searched?

    Invoices can be searched from the Persistent Search Box, accessible from all parts of Alma:
    They can also be accessed from the Alma menu:
    The invoice tab on the vendor record lists all invoices linked to the vendor (with options to edit open invoices from this page).

    The history tab on the invoice record tracks all changes made to an invoice.

    When paying an invoice is it possible to manually enter a specific exchange rate?

    This may be done in Alma by using the the “explicit ratio”. That is a ratio by which to convert the invoice currency to the specified foreign currency. For example:
    • Invoice currency is USD
    • Foreign currency is KZT
    • Explicit ratio is 2.5
    If you add an invoice line of 100 USD but attach it to a KZT fund, the fund displays a transaction of 100 x 2.5 = 250 KZT.
    See also:

    How does Alma handle duplicate invoices? 

    The invoice in Alma is unique per vendor. If a duplicate invoice is loaded Alma will prevent it from loading and will present the following error:


    Can an invoice be deleted?

    Staff users with the role 'invoice operator extended' can delete an invoice.

    Does Alma create an audit trail of changes made to an invoice?

    Alma tracks all changes made to an invoice in the History tab of the invoice record:
    Changes either to the invoice or the the invoice lines can be viewed as show in the the screen capture above.

    How does Alma handle invoices linked to over-expended budgets? 

    When creating an invoice that causes a budget over expenditure Alma will check if the fund permits an over expenditure (configurable) - if not it will not allow the loading of the invoice:


    Can an invoice be partially paid?

    When you create an invoice line in Alma you can indicate that that the PO Line is, or is not Fully invoiced:

    Can a price note be added to the invoice?

    A  Price Note, is available on the invoice line. The note appears on the Invoice Line Details page, in the Invoice Line List, and when the invoice lines are exported to a spreadsheet. The column is hidden by default in the Invoice Line List and can be added using the Manage Column Display button. The Price Note may also be imported when loading an invoice from an Excel file or by the RESTful API.

    Invoice Line Details Price Note.png


    Integration with campus financial systems

    How does Alma integrate payment of invoices with the campus financial system?

    Alma may integrate with the institution’s financial system for payment for the following functions:

    • Export Payment Requests - report to the ERP System on future purchases from the order state
    • Import Payment Confirmations
    • Export Orders
    • Synchronize fund adjustments – this is the “reconciliation” process with the ERP system – load the fund allocations as they were created in ERP System

    In general, the export and import processes between Alma and the financial system are performed using XML files that are placed at a predefined FTP location. These XML files can be fetched by the financial system (in the case of invoice or PO export) or by Alma (in the case of invoice import). Note that the fund allocation loader process is different because the format is an Excel or CSV file. This is illustrated in the following diagram:


    After an invoice has been approved, it reaches the payment stage, in which the invoice awaits payment processing either through Alma or through the institution’s Enterprise Resource Planning system.

    Alma’s default configuration assumes that the institution will export invoices to its ERP system. In order to support this workflow, it is necessary to configure a Finance Integration profile, as demonstrated in the screenshot below:



    All the invoice stages follow the same workflow:

    • In Review – initial step in the workflow
    • In Approval – if Approval rules exist in the institution
    • Ready to be paid – this is the state where all the invoices wait for the Export job to send them to ERP System
    • Sent to ERP (Waiting for payment) – after the invoice is sent to the ERP system it is waiting for payment confirmation
    • Closed – Invoice is paid and closed

    Invoices may not follow ALL the above stations in the workflow. This is dependent on the invoice itself and the institutional configuration:

    • Some institutions do not use ERP integration
    • A specific invoice may not be sent to an ERP
    • Some institutions may not handle payment in the libraries

    Invoices that have been closed or sent to the ERP can be sent back to the Review stage, to enable for editing the invoice after it was rejected by the ERP. Invoices rejected by the ERP are sent to the review stage automatically.

    Can payment terms be included in the export of invoices to the institution’s financial system?

    This information can be recorded in Alma in the Notes tab of the invoice, and can be then exported to finance:
    The XML output of the export:

    Accrual accounting

    How does Alma support accrual accounting?

    In accrual accounting expenses are recorded at the time in which the transaction occurs rather than when payment is made. This means that if the institution uses accrual accounting it may accumulate expenditures across multiple fiscal years.

    When accrual accounting is enabled in Alma, invoice amounts are spread out over all active fiscal periods, beginning with the fiscal period in which the ‘Subscription from date’ (of the invoice line) is contained. For example, where the institution has two active fiscal periods:

    1. 2018.  The start and end dates for this fiscal year are Jan. 1 2018 – Dec. 31 2018.
    2. 2019.  The start and end dates for this fiscal year are Jan. 1 2019 – Dec. 31 2019.

    The library orders a journal and receives an invoice of $3,500 USD (or other unit of currency such as AUD or EUR). The invoice covers the journal subscription for the period from June 1, 2018 – May 31, 2019. The Subscription from date and Subscription to date fields will be entered in the invoice line.

    This means that:

    • 58.79% of the invoice is for fiscal period 2018 (7/12)
    • 41.21% of the invoice is for fiscal period 2019 (5/12)

    If Accrual Mode is enabled: The invoice’s charges are distributed proportionally between ‘fiscal period 2018 and fiscal period 2019:

    • $2,057.65 of the invoice is for ‘fiscal period 2018’ (58% of the 1000 total)
    • $1,442.35 of the invoice is for ‘fiscal period 2019’ (42% of the 1000 total)



    VAT, extra charges

    How does Alma handle payment of taxes, VAT? 

    Alma treats various taxes as an additional charge on the invoice.  Taxes can be distributed between one or more line items on an invoice, or lumped together as a single charge in the “header” of an invoice.  Libraries have an option of pro-rating taxes as part of the invoice line items and charging them to various funds, or to charge the taxes to a special “tax” fund if necessary.  Alma will allow the library to pay taxes at different tax rates based on where an invoice for an item is paid. 
    The following table presents how Alma handles VAT payments based on three key configurations:
    • Whether the (non governmental) vendor has an associated governmental vendor
    • Whether the vendor is noted as Liable for VAT
    • Whether the VAT is reported for the invoice (either by selecting Report VAT or by manually entering the VAT amount)
    VAT Reported in Invoice
    Governmental Vendor
    Vendor Liable for VAT
    VAT Reported in Invoice
    No No No No special handling
    No No Yes Before saving the invoice, Alma prompts you to confirm that VAT is included in the invoice amount, even though VAT is not required for the vendor.
    No Yes No Before saving the invoice, Alma prompts you to confirm that VAT is not included in the invoice amount, even though VAT is required for the vendor.
    No Yes Yes No special handling
    Yes No No No special handling
    Yes No Yes Before saving the invoice, Alma prompts you to confirm that VAT is included in the invoice amount, even though VAT is not required for the vendor.
    Yes Yes No Before saving the invoice, Alma prompts you to confirm that VAT is not included in the invoice amount, even though VAT is required for the vendor. If you select to report VAT, the configured VAT amount for the governmental vendor is automatically added to the invoice and a separate invoice is generated for this amount to the governmental vendor. If you select to not report VAT, the invoice is saved without VAT.
    Yes Yes Yes Either the configured VAT for the governmental vendor (if you selected Report Tax), or the amount of VAT that you manually entered, is added to the invoice and a separate invoice is generated for this amount to the governmental vendor.
    VAT (GST) charges are part of the standard invoice fields that can be populated/activated where relevant. VAT may be charged on the whole invoice or on the PO Line level.
    The following screen capture illustrates these points. Note the Inclusive checkbox indicating whether VAT (GST) is on the entire invoice – if not checked, then VAT (GST) may be defined on the line item:

    Can VAT be charged at the invoice or line item level?

    On the invoice level the following VAT fields can be populated:
    • Invoice Line VAT Code
      • The invoice line VAT code.
    • Invoice Line VAT Code Description
      • The invoice line VAT code description
    • Invoice Line VAT Code %
      • The invoice line VAT code percent
    • Invoice Line VAT Note Data
      • The invoice line VAT amount
    • Invoice – Expended From Fund
      • Indicates if the VAT is expended from the invoice line?s funds. If it not, a new adjustment invoice line is added to the invoice which includes invoice VAT amounts
    • Invoice – Report Tax
      • Indicates if an invoice needs to report state tax.
    • Invoice – VAT per invoice line
      • Indicates if the VAT is calculated at the invoice or invoice line level
    • Invoice – VAT Amount
      • The total VAT amount
    • Invoice – VAT Type
      • Indicates if VAT Exclusive or Inclusive in invoice total amount
    • Invoice – VAT Code
      • The invoice VAT code
    • Invoice – VAT Code Description
      • The invoice Vat code description
    • Invoice – VAT Code %
      • The invoice VAT Code percent
    For other charges than VAT (Shipment, Insurance, Overhead, Discount) the user has two option:
    • If you select Use pro rata, the above amounts are not displayed individually on the invoice, and their values are distributed among the invoice lines.
    • If you do not select Use pro rata, each additional charge is displayed as an individual invoice line.

    What additional charges can be added to the invoice?

    Alma supports the following options as part of the invoice record:
    • Shipment amount
    • Insurance amount
    • Overhead amount
    • Discount amount
    Five additional fields can be defined be the library.

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