Invoicing British client from France

Hi everyone!

I have recently posted some questions on Micro-entrepreneur status and im so grateful for your advices! Though I still have one thing that I am struggling with - I need to start invoicing my client from London as an Micro-entrepreneur and I have got all the other stuff done in my invoice ( all the legal stuff and everything in both english and french ) but I still like to keep the currency in pounds which is what I have always been doing for years when I was living in other countries working for this same client. Alternatively, If I include the conversion to euros ( eg. using XE converter - lets say - 1000 GBP = 1115 euros ) - would it be confusing? since the final amount that I received in my french bank account might not be converted using the same rate?

Thanks in advance and really appreciate anyone’s helpful advice here :slight_smile:

so, to be clear - you are invoicing in sterling but receiving payment in euro?

I assume so - because the bank account is in euros?

Basically - if you’re issuing an invoice as a French business it has to be in euros. You can mention a conversion rate if you like but the invoice has to be in French with all the correct mentions légales, and it has to show the price in euros.
I believe if you use the MyAE invoicing tool, and probably other invoicing tools are the same, you can use different currencies and it deals with it all for you in the correct manner.

However, what I used to do with my one solitary left-over UK client was: Send the client an invoice in English and in sterling, outside my ME invoicing system, and at the same time set up an invoice in my ME invoicing system, so that it was numbered in the correct chronological sequence with all my other invoices, but without showing an amount. When the client paid the invoice I converted it at the rate on the day I received the payment, put that figure on the French invoice and marked it as paid on my ME system. So in fact the client never saw the French invoice, that was purely for my records. It’s probably not the proper way to do it, but it worked - the client didn’t have to worry about funny money (I don’t think they even realised I was no longer UK based) and my ME records were correct.

Also make sure you put your intercommunity TVA number on the French invoice if not on the English one, and do your declarations to the douanes.

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Thanks Anna, once again! :slight_smile:

Hi Anna,

I have a question that is not entirely related to the topic and I hope you can kindly help me with this - Since I have started ME officially in July and I have also gotten the Siret number from Insee I would like to create an account on the urssaf website so I can start declaring my monthly income etc online. But I don’t have a social security number yet which is required to open the account. As I am new in france so I have only applied to CPAM a month ago for Carte Vitale - no news yet on anything. So what do I do now? and without social security number/usrssaf online account - how do i declare or update my income, upload the invoice and pay the contributions in monthly manner?

Thanks again…!

In this day and age, there shouldn’t be an issue with an invoice in Euros given the fact that there are any number of low cost ways of getting the payment to you (even the banks are often competitive these days but there’s Transferwise amongst others which are perfectly handy for small one-off payments).

Unless, that is, you
a) just like the client enough to make their life easier OR
b) you really, really, don’t want to lose the client and think that an invoice in € might cause that to happen.

If you’ve started a business you shouldn’t be making a separate application to CPAM . Your social security number and healthcare entitlement will be set up automatically via your business registration. Expect something by post soon.
I don’t think you need to start worrying about declaring income just yet. If you declare quarterly you won’t make your first declaration until October at the earliest and maybe no even then. Not sure how it works if you declare monthly but if you didn’t start trading until July they won’t want a declaration until after your first complete month of trading at the very earliest. You’ll have plenty of time to set up your online account after you’ve got your sécu number and chosen your caisse etc.

Re currencies - there are various solutions but if you do want to receive payments in various currencies, you may find Transferwise’s Borderless account works well for you. I understand that there may be reasons why you may prefer to continue invoicing a UK client in sterling - in my case for instance I just felt it would be inappropriate for a British freelancer who had been providing a UK client with English language editorial services for donkey’s years at an agreed monthly fee in sterling, to suddenly renegotiate the fee in euros and expose the client to the ups and downs of the exchange rate.

Thanks! Yeah, one of the reasons is to make it easier for the client to pay in sterling. I work for this client almost every month - is Transferwise worth considering?

yes, but for a different reason. I’d go with the solution posed by @Anna on invoicing viz:

‘same meat, different gravy’ :wink:

Anna, thanks for your insightful advices!

So it seems that I’ll just have to wait for urssaf to send me my social security number. What if CPAM send me something as well - will I have two numbers and i just use the one from urssaf?

I remember when I was registering for ME I chose the option to pay monthly - does it matter? or can I change to pay quarterly as the time goes.

I think Transferwise borderless account seems like an easier option - but when it comes to invoicing the UK client - does that mean i’ll have to put the Transferwise borderless GBP account details on my french invoice? and the amount would be in sterling as well - not euros. Here Im talking about using the same invoice for the UK client as well as the ME system.

I would make very very sure you don’t end up with 2 sécu numbers, I seem to recall posts in the past from people who got themselves into this situation and it has turned into a long drawn out nightmare to try and unravel.

Re invoices, I simply have a footer on all my invoices listing the various payment methods - “Règlements en euros xxxxxx”, “Payment in sterling xxxxx”, “Paypal xxxx”, “Par chèque addressé à xxxxx”. So far, clients have always been bright enough to choose the appropriate option for them.

Ahhh… this is not a good sign and its too late now :frowning:

Re Invoices - Are you saying we could include different bank accounts/currency/methods for the client to choose to pay? Like: Pay to ( transferwise GBP account/credit agricole EURO account ( i specially opened this as I thought we needed to have a separate account for ME income) /paypal.

Re Invoices - yes, as I said, that’s what I do. It saves having different templates for different customers according to their preferred payment method, or alteratively entering payment instructions manually on each invoice which would be even more of a hassle. However I normally agree payment terms with each customer in advance and then they use the same method each time, so it’s not so much a case of deciding how they’d like to pay, as choosing the correct set of instructions to follow.

Re the social security number - seriously, if URSSAF are still processing an application from you I would abort it before they finish processing it, I wouldn’t wait until they’ve set up an account that you shouldn’t have. It may be they have realised you’re getting a number via URSSAF and won’t duplicate it, but if not, it’ll be easier to sort out at this stage than it will when you have 2 live accounts in operation with contradictory data.

  • that’s a bit worrying. You don’t really mean “we”, do you? because ME is strictly a one person business.

Haha I mean ’ we ’ as in micro entrepreneurs people in general…

Re invoice - I guess im gonna go for your first suggestion - i’ll send the London client an invoice written both in English/French languages with that credit agricole bank account i opened for ME income and in sterling. Then use the same invoice for ME records later but convert/change the currency to euros ( the actual amount thats actually paid into credit agricole bank account )

Re SS number - how do i abort it? abort the one when applying ME with urssaf or the one with CPAM ( a month before i applied for ME )?

I actually kept the client paying into my UK account, so as far as they were concerned nothing changed. Well the postal address on the invoice changed and I added my siret number and the TVA franchise de base line just to be on the safe side, apart from that the invoice looked just like it always had and they paid just like they always had. That worked out ideal for me because it kept my UK account topped up just enough without ever needing to do any currency transfers.

I’d mirror pretty much Anna has said in her replies. Its pretty much how I run my ME - with Transferwise you can have a Business account and a personal account - all free - all multi currency - makes it clear whats business and whats personal. With Transferwise each currency has bank details - so UK clients see a UK bank and account departments don’t complain and whine.

And as for £ or Euros - most business don’t want the faff for freelancers. - setting an account up can be a pain. However they should send you a paper form - that will also have your assigned Social Security number on it - for the first return - I set my online stuff up with the info I copied from that.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for this! So it is possible that I put a Transferwise Borderless sterling account details on both invoices for the UK client as well as for the ME system? So the UK client will pay to this Transferwise Borderless sterling account and then i’ll transfer the money from here to my credit agricole bank account that is opened for ME? It can work this way?

You’ve lost me.
I think you’re getting far too hung up on the bank account issue. The important thing is to keep an accurate record of your income and ensure that all the income is clearly traceable and that you have a compliant accounting system should anyone ask to see it. Ideally, your bank account will show a series of credits coming in direct from clients with each payment/source exactly matching an invoice and easily identifiable. Of course it doesn’t always work like that in practice but the more you shift the same income around from one account to another, the more confusing the papertrail will get and the more it risks looking dodgy. That’s my gut feeling.

In fact under the most recent raft of changes to the ME scheme, you have 2 years from the point at which your turnover exceeds 10,000€ to set up a dedicated bank account.

So you have plenty of time to figure out a good system that works for you, before you set everything in stone.

Thanks Anna. Yeah im getting a bit lost too. I was firstly hung up on the fact that the income has to be paid into a french bank account and in euros ( ideally ) which all need to be reflected on the invoice for ME system. Thats why i didn’t know if using transferwise would work because it is still a UK back account if being paid in sterling.

But even if the income is paid directly into the credit agricole account opened for ME- I can still transfer the money to my other credit agricole bank account that is for personal use to pay bills and expenses no?