Accounts receivable, invoicing and payment (Teams and Collaborations)

Applicable to:  Other persons concerned, Members of the personnel


CERN issues two types of invoices : periodic (automatic) invoices and requests for funds (RFF):

  • Periodic invoices are used for Third-Party Accounts which work on a reimbursement scheme, i.e. CERN advances the funds and the Institution account holder reimburses by paying the invoices. They are generally used for Visiting Research Team Accounts.
  • Request for Funds are invoices generated manually through the RFF form in EDH. They aim at providing funds in advance to a Third-Party Account, and are generally used for Collaboration Accounts.

It is not authorized to transfer funds to a Third-Party Account without an invoice. Payment must be done by bank transfer and mention the invoice reference(s).


1. Invoicing

1.1. Periodic invoices

Periodic invoices aim at recovering funds advanced by CERN on a Third-Party Account. They summarise the expenses paid by CERN on behalf of the Institution. Though they are mostly used for Visiting Research Team Accounts, they may apply to some Collaboration and Special Fund accounts when agreed with the Teams & Collaborations Section (FAP-EF-TC).

a) Issuance and reminders

Periodic invoices are created automatically and sent after each month's book closing, except in the following cases:

  • the cumulated expenses since the last invoice are lower than 500 CHF (January to November);
  • the balance of the Third-Party Account is positive due to advance funding (see RFF on Visiting Research Team Accounts below).

All expenses incurred during the year will be invoiced with the periodic invoice of December at the latest even when the cumulated amount is lower than 500 CHF (or negative, with the insurance of a credit note).

In the event of unpaid invoices, the Third-Party Account Manager and the Accounts Payable service would receive a notification that highlights the outstanding invoices from the Teams & Collaborations Section.

To allow CERN to continue providing this service, it is important that the amounts due are paid by the Institutions within 30 days. If the Third-Party Account remains negative and periodic invoices are not paid on time, expenditure requests may be blocked. CERN reserves the right to suspend or close a Third-Party Account for which invoices are unpaid.

N.B.: in exceptional circumstances, it might happen that the invoices are paid directly by a governmental body. This shall be justified in writing, along with evidence that the funds are secured (e.g. agreement between the funding body and the Institution). This does not waive the responsibility of control and reporting of the Institution, Account Manager and signatories.
The Institution remains the sole legal debtor until the invoices addressed to a governmental body are paid. 

b) Sending out and archiving invoices

The Third-Party Account Manager and the Accounts Payable service receive a notification by e-mail when a new periodic invoice is issued along with the periodic invoice and the balance of the Third-Party Account. Invoices are also published and archived on AISMedia, accessible by the Third-Party Account Manager;

It is not necessary for Accounts Payable service to have an active CERN Computing Account in order to receive the invoice(s). More information on access rights available on the procedure for Roles, access and signature rights (Teams and Collaborations).

The payment status of monthly invoices can also be monitored on a daily basis by the Third-Party Account Manager using the CERN Expenditure Tracking (CET) tool in the Cashflow transactions table.  

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 CET by clicking on the green "money" icon (not the blue hyperlink).

c) Details of amounts invoiced

The periodic invoice summarises the expenses incurred on the Third-Party Account since the last one. The Third-Party Account Manager has access to the details of the 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
It is the responsibility of the Third-Party Account Manager to provide supporting documents (EDH requests, supplier invoices etc.) if requested by the Institution.

1.2 Requests for funds

Requests for Funds aim at providing funds in advance to a Third-Party Account. They are created manually through EDH and are approved by the Teams & Collaborations Section (FAP-EF-TC).

See this technical documentation to initiate RFF. 

The use of RFF is subject to different rules depending on the type of Third-Party Account, described in the following paragraphs:

a) On Collaboration 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 (Memorandum of Understanding and/or financial plans approved in Research Review Board / Finance Review Committee).

It is the responsibility of the Resource Coordinator of the Collaboration to initiate the request for funds and to contact the debtor in case of late payment.

FAP-EF-TC can help to send out reminders if so requested by the collaboration.

b) On Special Fund Accounts

The Agreement that sets up the Special Fund Account might define specific invoicing conditions, for which the use of periodic invoices (reimbursement of costs incurred) is not appropriate. It might be, for instance, that CERN requests that the Special Fund Account would be always positive (advance payments), or more generally that the spending profile and the invoicing schedule are disconnected.

When the Agreement sets a flexible invoicing schedule (e.g. it defines that the Special Fund must be positive over time without stipulating when the invoices shall be issued), the Requests for funds are created by the Third-Party Account Manager or the CERN contact person defined in the Agreement. When the Agreement has a fixed invoicing schedule and is registered in Accounting under a specific contract number, the invoices might be initiated by the Teams & Collaborations Section.

FAP-EF-TC can help to send out reminders if so requested by the Third-Party Account manager or the CERN contact person defined in the Agreement.

All invoices from a Special Fund Account must be issued against a party of the Agreement and foreseen in the Agreement. No sales of equipment/material/services are allowed on a Special Fund Account.

Special Fund Accounts without CERN funds follow the same financial regulation as Visiting Research Team Accounts.

Special Fund Accounts with CERN funds follow the same financial regulation as CERN budget codes. Accordingly, agreements set up a Special Fund Team Account with CERN funds cannot oppose to CERN's rules and regulations.

c) On Visiting Research Team Accounts

Third-Party Accountsopened as Visiting Research Team Accounts are set up to function with monthly periodic invoices (see 1.1.a) and should normally not use requests for funds (RFF). However, some Institutions might wish to transfer funds in advance and decrease the number of payments per year.

RFF are authorised in order to transfer funds in advance on a Visiting Research Team Account as long as the positive cash balance does not exceed one year of spending (i.e. the estimated budget of the on-going year).

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

Reminders are in general not sent out for RFFs on Visiting Research Team Accounts.

N.B.: no periodic invoice is sent from January to November when an advance payment has been done for the year and no credit note has been issued. No payment is expected when the cash balance of the Visiting Research Team Account is positive.

Third-Party Accounts cannot be used to bypass national or international Financial Regulations, especially EU Tax and Anti Money Laundering Regulations. Consequently:

  • All invoices from a Visiting Research Team Account must be issued to the Institution which opened the Account (more details on 1.1.a);
  • Only payments from the Institution which opened the Account can be allocated to a Visiting Research Team Account;
  • Institutions cannot issue invoices in their name (i.e. with the institute’s header) which stipulates that the payment should be done on a Visiting Research Team Account;
  • Institutions cannot issue invoices in their name (i.e. with the institute’s header) with a CERN bank account as recipient of the payment;
  • No sales are allowed from a Visiting Research Team Account. In the event of a sale of equipment/material purchased on a Visiting Research Team Account, the Third-Party Account Manager should contact the Teams & Collaborations Section;
  • No financial transactions (including TIDs) are allowed between Visiting Research Team Accounts of different Institutions, unless they aim at correcting a mistake in the account used for a former transaction. N.B.: Transfers between two Visiting Research Team Accounts of the same Institution are authorized if the transaction is approved by the Third-Party Account Manager(s);
  • No CERN funds can be transferred to a Visiting Research Team Account, with or without an invoice. 
d) On CERN budget codes

 Rules for request for funds on CERN budget codes are set up in the procedure Revenue from the sale of goods and services by CERN (external request for funds – RFF).

2. Settlement of invoices

2.1 Bank transfer

Any payment to CERN must correspond to an invoice.

Invoices shall be paid within 30 days in Swiss francs or in the currency indicated on the invoice via bank transfer. Cheque payments must be avoided.

It is recommended to group payments to avoid bank charges.

The invoice number(s) must be stated in the bank transfer reference and shall be used in every correspondence with CERN.

2.2 CERN bank details and currency

Bank details are indicated on the invoice. CERN has several bank accounts in different currencies, and the Institutions are required to pay attention to the invoice currency and related bank account. Paying in another currency than the one of the bank account may result in exchange losses or additional bank charges for the payer.

Swiss franc is the official currency of CERN. Consequently, all amounts are reported in Swiss francs.

Periodic invoices are issued in Swiss francs. RFF can be issued in other currencies, provided that the payments received are in the same currency as the RFF. In the event of payments in other currency than the invoice, the amount converted in Swiss franc according to CERN's accounting rules is the one that prevails. The exchange rate risk is born solely by the institutes/funding agencies.

3. VAT exemption

For more information concerning the CERN VAT:



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
4 Complete revision 17.01.2018
5 Introduction of Third-Party Account instead of Team Account  01.10.2019