When a business decides not to use the order management as per the previous chapter it may find itself in need to manually enter invoices. But even if it does use order management, it may be necessary to enter an invoice directly.
When creating a transaction to record that the company owes another entity (a vendor invoice) or that it has outstanding receivables, LedgerSMB offers two options:
Transactions have very limited functionality: they allow a user to enter a debt owed or owned into the AR and AP subsystems. They also require the user to think how the other side of the transaction should be registered; i.e. which cost account the AP transaction should be posted against, or which income account the AR transaction should be posted against. If there are sales taxes applicable, the user is required to manually calculate and enter them.
Invoices offer a much more clever set of functionalities. First of all, it allows the user to create a document to be sent to the vendor or customer. Second, invoices take advantage of parts and services to automate calculation of sales taxes. Third, invoices update inventory for items held in stock (parts, assemblies). Transactions offer none of this.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, invoices can perform automatic sales tax calculations, maintain inventory and post income (or expense) to the correct GL accounts.
Transactions serve an important purpose not handled by invoices: payroll calculations are often too difficult to fit in the simple “amount times price” model offered by invoices. In order to still be able to track which “vendor” was paid which amount such payment obligations can be recorded in the AP subsystem with a transaction.
Likewise it’s often more hassle than it’s worth to create the parts and services required to correctly calculate the utility bill. In such cases the transaction (possibly with a linked document as supporting evidence) offers good per-vendor traceable history records.