I’m confused… How can off-invoice be a bill-back?

No, this isn’t a variation of that joke, when is a door not a door?  (Answer at the bottom of this blog)

Before we answer this paradox, let’s review the text book definitions of these two method-of-payments for trade promotions, off-invoice and bill-back.

Off-invoice: Off-invoice, also called on-invoice internationally, is an allowance or discount that is applied at the time of the transaction.

Bill-back: A bill-back is a rebate, allowance and/or discount that is given after the transaction.

Now that we have the definitions, you can also understand the confusion.  Off-invoice discounts appear to be the opposite of bill-backs.

The answer is rooted in the nature of how customers receive off-invoice allowances.  For a customer to receive an off-invoice discount, the ERP must apply and show the off-invoice allowance on the customer’s invoice.  For this to happen, the off-invoice discount must be in the ERP’s pricing and promotion module.  That sounds, simple, so what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, many errors and omissions can happen to a promotion over its life-cycle.  Here are just a few:

  • The promotion wasn’t entered in the ERP.
  • The promotion was created in a third-party TPM solution, but didn’t get synchronized to the ERP.
  • The promotion is in the ERP, but it wasn’t approved in time.
  • The promotion has errors that prevented it from being applied to the invoice.
  • The promotion was missing items that should have been included.
  • The promotion dates do not match the customer’s agreement.
  • Delays caused some product to be shipped or ordered outside the official promotion window.
  • The ERP didn’t apply the promotion to customers that qualified for the discounts.
  • And many more human data entry errors….

When one or more of these errors happen, we still need to get the discounts to the customer.  That’s when an off-invoice becomes a bill-back:

Missed-Off-Invoice:  This is an off-invoice allowance that is valid but wasn’t on the invoice.  This missed off-invoice allowance must be paid after the transaction in the form of a bill-back.

All TPM solutions must be able to process and account for missed off-invoice.  We all make mistakes sometimes.  When our off-invoice allowances don’t make it onto the invoice, we pay our off-invoice discounts as a bill-back and call it Missed Off-Invoice.

If you use NetSuite as your ERP, we invite you to see how iTPM accounts for missed-off-invoice.

Alex Ring


CG Squared, Inc.


Answer: When it’s ajar.