Accounts receivable, invoicing and payment (Teams and Collaborations)

Applicable to:  Other persons concerned, Members of the personnel

General

CERN issues two types of invoices : regular monthly invoices (FC) and requests for funds (RFF) depending on the type of Team Account. It is not permitted to transfer funds to a Team Account without an invoice.

Procedure

1. Invoicing

1.1. Monthly invoices

a) For Visiting Research Team Accounts

FC invoices summarise the expenses paid by CERN on behalf of the funding agency. Normally invoices are created every month, provided that expenditure since the last invoice has reached a certain level. Team accounts with few transactions might therefore receive invoices less often.
To allow CERN to continue providing this service, it is important that the amounts due are paid by the funding agencies in a timely manner, within 30 days.

b) Sending out and archiving invoices

The Team Account Manager and, if one is registered, the Invoice Administrator, will receive a notification by e-mail when a new FC invoice is issued, including the invoice(s) as an attachment.
It is not necessary for invoice administrators to have an active CERN Computing Account if they only receive the invoice to pay. To modify the people/e-mail addresses receiving the invoice notifications, refer to the procedures for registration and access rights.
Invoices are also published and archived on AIS Media: https://aismedia.cern.ch/aismedia/AisMedia?node_id=3

The payment status of invoices is published on AIS Media on a regular basis under the “Statement of account” heading. The payment status of monthly invoices can also be monitored on a daily basis using the CERN Expenditure Tracking (CET) tool in the Cashflow transactions table. AIS Media can be accessed by the Team Account Manager. Please note that the webpage containing the invoices is accessible even if an e-mail has not been received. It can happen that e-mail messages are not delivered due to a full mail box/spam filter, etc.

To consult the invoice archives, click on "Invoices" to see the list of electronic invoices for the current year. Invoices from previous years can be found under "Archive", as shown in the image below:

Click on the invoice number to see the electronic invoice in .pdf format:

The invoices can also be accessed from within the CET application by clicking on the green "money" icon (not the blue hyperlink).

c) Details of amounts invoiced

The invoices summarise the expenditure that has taken place on the Team Account since the last invoice was sent out. The Team Account Manager has access to the details of the re-invoiced amounts via various financial applications:

In some cases, the original invoices received from external suppliers can be consulted directly in CET. An orange symbol will then appear in the "Document number" column (see screen shot below). Clicking on the orange icon will link to the supplier invoice.

If the "Document number" column does not appear in CET, make sure the relevant check box is ticked under the "Columns" button (see top right-hand corner in the screenshot below).

 

If the supplier invoice cannot be found, or for further clarification on invoices that CERN has received from external suppliers you should contact accounts-payable@cern.ch.
It is the responsibility of the Team Account Manager to supply the funding agency with these details in the event of questions regarding the invoices sent out by CERN.

1.2 Requests for funds

General information about request for external funds can be found in the procedure "Revenue from the sale of goods and services by CERN (external request for funds – RFF)".
See this technical documentation to initiate RFF. 

The paragraphs below describe the different cases when requests for external funds are used at CERN:

a) Collaborations (Team Accounts)

Requests for funds are mainly used for Research Collaborations funded from several sources. The amounts due should be defined in the official documents of the collaborations such as Memorandum of Understanding and/or Research Review Board protocols. It is the responsibility of the Resource Coordinator of the Collaboration to initiate the request for funds.

b) Advance payments for special funds and agreements (Team Accounts)

In some cases, requests for funds can be used to pay "funds in advance" before the expenditure has taken place. This is particularly relevant if CERN agrees or requests that an initial sum be placed on a Team Account upon its opening. If the monthly invoices are then paid on a regular basis, this amount is kept as a "security buffer". Special invoicing intervals or conditions may also be defined in separate Agreements or Protocols. Requests for funds are in this case normally initiated by the Team Account Manager or the CERN contact person defined in the Agreement. Agreed advance payments should normally not exceed the estimated annual spending.
Please note that Team Accounts opened as Visiting Research Team Accounts are set up to function with monthly FC invoices and should not normally use RFF invoices.

c) Advance payments for Visiting Research Team Accounts

Team Accounts opened as Visiting Research Team Accounts are set up to function with monthly FC invoices (see 1.1.a) and should normally not use requests for funds (RFF). However, RFF might be authorised in order to transfer funds in advance on a Visiting Research Team Account as long as the positive cash balance resulting from the advance payment does not exceed the estimated spending of the on-going year (i.e. annual budget). In that case, FC invoices detailing the expenses actually incurred on the Team Account would continue to be sent but are considered to be paid with the advanced payment.

It is not permitted to accumulate funds on a Visiting Research Team Account. CERN reserves the right to return funds to the funding agency when the cash balance exceeds the foreseen amount of annual spending.

d) CERN sales (CERN budget codes)

The request for funds (see procedure) is initiated by the General Accounting service according to the sales order/contract or by the CERN person responsible for the contract follow-up.

e) Fund recovery by CERN departments (CERN budget codes)

The request for funds is initiated by the DPO of the CERN department concerned, by the CERN technical contact for service contracts or by the General Accounting section. These RFFs are mainly used to recover funds from firms working on the CERN site.

2. Reminders and late payments

2.1 Monthly invoices

Every month the Team Accounts are invoiced for the expenses accrued. The Team Account Manager and Invoice Administrator will receive an e-mail containing the invoice in .pdf format. The invoices can also be found in AISMedia (https://aismedia.cern.ch/aismedia/AisMedia?node_id=3) along with the possibility of printing or saving the invoice in .pdf format, see "Invoicing" above. The invoices are normally to be paid within 30 days.

An analysis of the situation of unpaid invoices on the Team Accounts is carried out on a regular basis. The Team Account Manager and Invoice Administrator will receive an electronic letter that highlights the outstanding invoices.

In certain cases where invoices are unpaid for a long period of time, the Team Account Manager and Invoice Administrator will be notified and the Team Account will be suspended temporarily until payment has been made.  As an immediate consequence of the account being suspended, onsite services will no longer function, e.g. making external telephone calls, placing orders, etc.

2.2 Requests for funds

Reminders are sent out at the request of the entity who has initiated the RFF.

3. Bank transfers and cheque payments

3.1 General

Invoices shall be paid within 30 days in Swiss francs or in the currency indicated on the invoice.
Payments should be grouped where possible to avoid bank charges.
Always quote the invoice reference number(s) and the Team Account number in all correspondence and payments.

3.2 VAT exemption

For more information concerning the CERN VAT:

3.3 Bank transfers / payment by cheque

The use of bank transfers is strongly recommended.
Cheque payments should as far as possible be avoided since the processing time is long and the handling complicated and very sensitive. It is not certain that CERN will continue to accept cheque payments in the future.

3.4 CERN bank details

All bank details are indicated on the invoice. Since CERN has several bank accounts in different currencies, it is very important to pay in the invoice currency and to the bank account indicated. Paying in Swiss francs to a Euro account or in US dollars to a Swiss francs account may lead to high exchange losses or bank charges.
Any payment to CERN must correspond to an invoice (FC or RFF) issued by the CERN Finance and Administrative Processes department.

Revisions 

No revision Modifications Approved
1 Technical description to initiate the RFF moved to the procedure "Revenue from the sale of goods and services by CERN (external request for funds – RFF)".  20.06.2016
2 Clarification General and new 1.2. c) Advance payments for Visiting Research Team Accounts. 18.05.2017
3 Update 3.2 VAT exemption 06.10.2017