Edit paid invoices

Idea suggested by John Fouracre 13 years ago

Why can one not amend these entries – it’s not as though you’re changing the amount paid? There are occasions (unfortunately) when mistakes are made and the time to correct them is at VAT period end. That’s when these are caught – so why not allow users to amend those fields? VAT on purchases and sales should (only) be set in stone in the system once you’ve posted the VAT return surely?

43 Replies

Suggested 2 years ago and had plenty of likes, any update on if and when we might get this?

Maybe it would be illegal to edit the VAT amount of an invoice after it has been paid, in doing so you are effectively changing the terms of a contract after the transaction has taken place?


I could send you an invoice for £100 of my polished brass monkeys +20% VAT. TOTAL £120
So you pay me £120
I then change it to 0%VAT and pocket £120 instead of £100.
I have just increased the value of my profit by 20%

You being Vat registered, and having a VAT receipt will claim 20% VAT back off the government.

HMRC has just been swindled out of £20, by you, and I have made an extra £20 profit, but I made you do it.

Im not sure if this is how it works?

(Though, with this said, you can edit an already paid invoice, you just delete payment, edit it, and then reallocate the payment)

All the accounting softwares I've used enable you to edit paid invoices except Clear Books, this idea should really be considered

We are currently looking into this, and hopefully it will be easy enough to implement within a few weeks or so.

But we have to account for a multitude of scenarios and legal requirements (eg, see Novacrylics Engineering comment).

What would really help is you guys sharing:

a) Why would you like change invoice in the first place after it has been paid?
b) What would you like to edit?
c) Any scenario you can think of that has legal implications.


Sometimes mistakes are made. I've made mistakes about VAT treatment and only realised when doing a VAT return and had to void things because I cannot edit them.
Also sometimes I might get the date wrong on something or some other details which need correcting.

I suppose voiding is probably the best way though so you have a proper record of it.

Hi - as mentioned above the usual reason to want to edit the original invoice (or bill) is to correct simple mistakes, the most common, for me, being the date. I too have made VAT errors by not spotting that the invoice or bill had the incorrect VAT rate but, because I entered the gross amount, the total sum paid off was right.

I'd add that one area in which I would almost always want to edit a bill date is where someone has generated it via the bank screen, ie a PAY document generated by the system when entering a bank payment. In many cases there is a bill in existence, or one arrives late and these can be scanned & attached to the PAY doc but what you can not do (unless you know it at the time of the payment) is to enter/edit the actual bill date, which would, I suggest be non-compliant with VAT legislation.

The alternative to voiding and starting again with an invoice (telling the customer to trash it) is to issue a credit note and then issue a fresh invoice but that's daft if all you want to do is correct a simple mistake.

With regard to the legalities it was far easier to correct a paper invoices when a mistake was made, and I can remember tippexing out numbers and hand writing over them! So, as John says, as long as the VAT return has not been submitted I'd like the ability to edit anything on a document, but with perhaps the only exception being the system generated invoice number?

Finally, what seems a bit silly is that one of the fields you can edit after payment is "VAT treatment" ie I can create an invoice with 20% VAT then, even if paid, I can edit the VAT treatment and show it outside the scope and not to appear on the VAT return. The invoice is updated with the 20% VAT still fixed on it. I dread to think what then happens when the VAT return is prepared.


Thanks James and Paul - very useful.

Although I haven't thought this through, your paper example has triggered an idea and perhaps you guys can give some preliminary feedback:

Perhaps introducing versioning into invoices (and similar documents) is the way to go. So either at any point, or after an invoice has been paid, we allow full editing, but the invoice will clearly show that there are previous versions. (Similar functionality to the versions on Google Docs, but tidier).

The VAT return will be associated with the invoice version at the time of the VAT return creation. Later version are innocent corrections. HMRC can still see both versions and that the changes in the corrected invoice are 'cosmetic'.

Given the de-facto voiding mechanism, this could be a nonsense idea. But would be good to know that it is nonsense as well.

Another point to consider relates to what Novacrylics Engineering has written.

I wonder how much is it the system responsibility to stop what is essentially fraud. We should definitely put guards in place in the form of un-ignorable warnings whenever a user perform an action the results of which may be illegal.

But at the end of the day, anyone who intentionally wishes to commit fraud, will. And if Clearbooks would stop one from doing so, that, one will not use Clearbooks.

In other words, we should do all we can to inform users that what they do might be legally problematic. But not police our users, especially as we can never really stop those with fraudulent intentions.

Thanks Roey

On your first point, I think versioning would be an overkill for something that only happens occasionally plus, although I haven't checked, the Audit log report should perhaps show any changes made.

I (and I strongly guess HMRC) would not be happy with a system that allowed the editing of a VAT document once it had been associated with a VAT return. In such a case, the way to correct it would be to issue a credit notes and/or additional invoice.

On the second point, yes, the quality of bookkeeping and the chances of detecting error are greatly increased by using software but it's purpose can not be fraud prevention.

I had voted for this idea, but when asked 'what do you want to edit' I can't actually think of a single thing which would be legal.

If the VAT rate is wrong, or the date is wrong, the invoice would need to be re-issued to the customer - I think it's good perhaps that you can't just edit it as this helps enforce that a new copy is sent out.

Perhaps a better feature would be a 'void and copy' button that effectively allowed you to edit the invoice, whilst maintaining full records for HMRC and the customer.

I think the main need is to change purchases, where data has been entered incorrectly (most often but not exclusively the date).
Also, where Clearbooks is not used to generate sales invoices and the record is created from the bank statement, for example.

In any event, if a transaction cannot be changed, why should voiding the payment make any difference? Why is voiding the payment possible if changing the transaction details is not?

Finally, if there are situations where it is not possible to change certain details, this should be explained in a pop-up (including the reason for the restriction).

Hi James

With regard to legalities, if an invoice has been issued to a customer and then s/he or you spot an error, voiding & copying (or rather copying & voiding!), with adjustments, is no different to tweeking the original, re-PDFing and sending that to the customer. Both require the scrapping, by you & the customer, of the original.

The only "legal" way to maintain a proper record of events is to issue a credit note for the original and then create a new invoice but for minor errors, which I think make the original invalid, I'd prefer to be able to edit.

Having said that, there have been times when the invoice is so wrong that I've resorted to "copy & void" because it's a lot quicker than editing individual elements and so a combined button for this would, I agree, be a good feature.

Hi Alex - I agree.

Just one addition, when the bank entries are used to generate system invoices (or bills) the transaction screen does have an invoice date (bill date) only it's not labelled as such and, because it defaults to the bank date I used to think it was just that. The problem however with bills is that, quite often you don't actually know the bill date when the bank entry is imported and so, as you say, this is still where I would most value an edit facility.


This is my scenario and why I liked this post over a year ago. I own a small building company and from time to time our invoices can have a payments allocated to them for a long period of time. So for instance I create an invoice for say £60k in month 1 and take a deposit payment for £20K, I now allocate this deposit payment to the invoice. In month two I receive a staged payment of £20k and allocate it to the same invoice. Month three I receive the final payment of £22k including extras. To allocate and finalise this invoice I now have to delete two allocated payments, edit the invoice and then re add the payments. In my eyes unnecessary hassle for me. Sometimes I just create a second invoice for the extras but some clients like to see one invoice for all the work completed. This way of doing things becomes a real pain when you skip over a VAT period.
If it can't be sorted because of the rules then I will just carry on as I have for over 2 years but this feature would save me so much time.

James, why don't you raise them a quote, put the payments to unallocated cash, and then invoice them at the very end?

I did used to do that and I stopped for some reason? I may do it that way again until the reason I stopped appears again.

I'm sure I've only needed to do this with purchases personally, if an invoice needs changing then it has to be voided, re-generated and sent to your client again like someone mentioned. That's what I tend to do because it's the only way to correctly do it at present

I'm not entirely sure this is necessary though, say you did want to edit an invoices date why should I not be able to do that? providing I send the new invoice to my client but that is my responsibility not clearbooks.
Why should CB care if I do this or not providing they maintain a record of what was changed for us?
It's certainly not CB job to say what we can and cannot do with regards to legality you just provide the tools to aid us to fulfil our own legal responsibilities.

I do think we should be able to edit paid things whether they are invoices or bills and clearbooks should leave some kind of audit trail.

At the end of the day it's a business owners responsibility to maintain accurate records and if we need to do something to make sure the data we have is accurate then clearbooks should help us do that not try to police us by telling us how to run our business.

Put it another way, if someone wants to get creative with their own accounts then clearbooks is not going to stop them doing so so why have a system which is so restrictive?


We are 4 People that work on the same account, I usually double check the transactions every other week, since it's more than one working on it, mistakes have to occur. it's so difficult to amend these mistakes on a paid invoice, were i have to delete payments emend the invoice and post the payments again, which is a hassle.

Excellent - thanks all for your feedback & thoughts.

So Roey I think that's a resounding "Yes" (again) for some extra editing of paid documents.

Great. We'll finalise this on Tuesday meeting.

I reckon this will be deployed with the new invoice re-design. So July-ish.

Thanks everyone again for the input - it has been invaluable.

We have discussed it further, and the following conclusion was reached:

  • Users will be allowed to edit any field on paid invoices, so long the invoice is not in a submitted or confirmed VAT return document.

  • Note that shall the total gross amount change due to such edit, any payments allocated against the invoice will have to be deleted.

While this may seem an easy change, there are some 'under the hood' aspects to be address (eg, audit trail). Currently we are awaiting further investigation and time estimate from our developers. I still believe this won't happen sooner than July.

Thanks again

I just noticed that the same problem arises with transfers between bank accounts. Can I presume this will be sorted at the same time? Thanks

Hi Alex,

Just to be sure, could you provide more details of the problem please?

When I try to change the details of a transfer between bank accounts, I can change the date but not the account. So if the initial entry was for a transfer from current account to savings account and it should have been from current account to credit card, then I need to delete the entire transaction and start again. This is much less frequent than the issue with invoices but I thought I would throw it in.

Hi Alex,

Yes, you will be able to edit the account as well.

Wasn't this supposed to have been sorted by July-ish?

Hi Alex,

This, like quite a few more tasks, had to be postponed due to deadlines related to the launch of Clear Book Netherlands.

But it's been 'next in line' since and should be worked on as soon as effort on the nl site are completed.

Hi, I need to do these changes because of a confusion over BTW payments, but I can't. Have they been implemented now?

Hi Brian, I am afraid that this feature is yet to be implemented. Please keep an eye out and we will let you know just as soon as it is completed.




I've got a problem because I've only recently registered for VAT and I've been putting 'Exempt from VAT return' on all my 0% VAT purchases. My accountant has asked me to go back and change this on all the transactions it applies to. I can't do that because it's locked.

So to correct this I've got to delete every single rail ticket, bus ticket and bank charge? And re-enter them. Is that right?

Also while you can record an alternative VAT profile, for example BTW, you can't run two simultaneously. I've had to register for BTW in the Netherlands for a conference. I have to charge BTW on conference tickets. I allocated this under 'Manual' VAT on invoices because I couldn't see any other way of doing it. But my accountant says that doesn't work because the BTW gets mixed up with my VAT.

Now I have to change the invoices with BTW. But again I'll have to delete them all and recreate them.

So you can see that because VAT is complex, you often have to change invoices retrospectively.

I have to submit my VAT return by 7 November. Reading this thread, the changes were meant to be implemented in July, it's now October.

Can you see how Clearbooks is generating a huge amount of extra work with this lack of flexibility?

I feel your pain

Hi Brian,

I am very sorry and I do understand the inconvenience this causes and the huge workload you have to get through. The system will not retrospectively update the VAT on any previous transactions as, as far as it is concerned, this was correct at the time.

You should not have to delete everything, just the associated payments, this will allow you to update the VAT rate/treatment. Firstly, though, you will have to add an accounting period which takes the previous transactions into account.

If there is anything else, please ask.

Many Thanks


this has taken so long, i'm looking to go to another accounting software.

the time it has took is just unbelievable, it's your job what have you all been doing

can this get sorted please its been "in Process" for 3years now

Any update on this? It's been in development for 3 years!


We still consider this feature to be important and it is still on our Developer's roadmap, however unfortunately I cannot give any updates on its current status at the present time.

Any update on this? This is the second most liked suggestion which hasn't yet been implemented. IT was opened 5 years ago, there were updates from the team that it would be completed 2 years ago in July-ish, then another update a year later to say it's definitely next in line, and then another update to say there might be another update at some point then another update to say actually Clearbooks thinks it's an important feature but there's no actual status for it - so probably Clearbooks have got busy doing something else instead of the suggestions.

I tried to edit a paid Bill with no success either. In my case: Paid £1000;

  • would like to break down in two lines = £500 and £500 Reason: To allocate one line, £500 to one project and £500 to another project.

any other solution?

Hi Marcelo - you can either delete the payment or deallocate the payment from the bill - just click on the Bill ID and scroll down to the payment history table -


Once the bill is unpaid you should be able to edit the details. If you chose to deallocate the payment, you can allocate again on the Money>Unallocated cash menu, or by clicking on the bill ID and hitting the allocate button.

Hi John.

That worked great!

Many thanks \o/

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