Tyoma's Invoicing

Tyoma's Invoicing is a very simple invoicing program for freelance translators. In most cases, invoicing is done by editing of older invoices prepared earlier for the same or a similar client. This approach works, in fact, very well if your number of invoices is relatively small, something like one per week or so, AND if your clients pay accurately. When it is not the case, you have to monitor the status of your issued, but unpaid invoices, send appropriate reminders with copies of invoices, etc.

Another feature of Tyoma's invoicing is a simple interface for monitoring of your own efforts on the project. When you see that some categories of translations/clients give you a better income per hour worked, you can consider this indicator to be more reliable than the officially negotiated rate.

The last but not the least is multi-language invoicing. Most of freelance translators work for clients in various countries, and must or should prepare invoice in the client's primary language. Tyoma's invoicing is language independent; invoice can be printed in any program registered language.

Using Tyoma's Invoicing.

To start using Tyoma's Invoicing, unzip the archive somewhere on your hard drive. You need to have MS Access installed. We recommend using Windows XP and Office XP, since the program has not been tested under Windows 2000. Double click on Tyoma's Invoicing icon, it should start MS Access and open the program's main menu - not beautiful, but practical.

Click on Invoice button to get to the data entry screen.

Invoice - primary data entry screen.

The primary data entry screen is a combined form that includes most of the data entry operations. It looks rather elaborate for the beginning, but it actually consists of four vertically organized sections.

Invoice form, top section.

Freelance translators do not always bill clients for each work done, but often combine multiple orders into a single invoice. It is rather typical to bill a regular, but low-volume client, say, on a monthly basis. The information common for all translations is combined in the top section:

Invoice - middle part

The middle part of the data entry form is dedicated to the actual description of the work done. Work on several documents, possibly based on different purchase orders, can be placed here.

In order to add a next document to the same invoice, click on the left arrow in the navigation control after the next section, not on the left arrow in the form's last line. When you are finished, you can jump directly to previewing of the invoice.

Data entry form - efforts section

The section with grey background is described in section "Timer".

Data entry form - result section.

Result section consists of two buttons. Click on the buttons with the picture of an accounting book to generate the invoice preview.

Invoice preview is read only. Sometimes the preview is scaled to fit the page, which makes the text hardly readable. Use report tool bar and select appropriate resolution for the page, typically 100%. There are three possible outcomes.

  1. You are satisfied with the results of the preview. You can print the invoice by clicking on the printer icon from the Access tool bar, or save as a PDF file, if PDF driver is installed, or export the invoice in some other format, like MS Word (more). Please note that Microsoft does not guarantee the exact and accurate conversion even between MS Office applications, so you will probably have to do some manual adjustments in the exported file.
  2. You see some mistakes in the data you entered. Close the preview and adjust the data.
  3. You see something that you have not entered. Most probably, it is related to the unfinished initial setting.


You must enter some basic information about your client before invoicing him. Click on the Client button in the main menu to open Client form. Use the navigation controls to find an existing client, click on the left arrow with the >* to add a new client.

Do not delete an existing client from the Client table, even if you are not going to work with this client any more, because it would clear all history related to this client. Of course, you should remove the test clients that were supplied to you in the distribution as a sample.

Adding a new language for invoicing.

If you have added a new language for invoicing purposes, you have to register it in the Dictionary. Open the Main database window, select Tables tab in the left navigation and click once on the Dict icon, after that double click on the icon second from the right in Main window's tool bar - with the sign of pen and triangle and labeled "Design".

You will see a small table with the columns labeled "Field Name", "Data Type" and "Description". Click on the first empty line in the Field Name and type in a new language identifier, exactly as it was added in the Client's language drop down menu. Move the mouse to the Data Type and accept the default type, which is Text. Finally, move to the property area in the lower part of the screen and change Field Size from the default value to 100. Save the table and close it, or close it and agree to save the changes.

Now you have to add translations of the key phrases. Double click on Dict icon to open table for editing. You will find the column for new invoice languages in the rightmost position. Type your translations into the new column: The second column is the phrase in English, the third column is in German. If you are sure that this particular line is irrelevant in your case, you can skip it for the beginning. In order to test the invoice in the newly added language, it is recommended to create the invoice in the default language (English) first, open it in the preview mode and print it. After that change the client's invoice language and re-open it in the new language. Check the differences, missing phrases, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to do several iterations, modifying key phrases in the Dictionary.


The program has an additional module for calculating internal cost of the projects, i.e. tracking the time spent on the project. This activity is split into two stages. First, you would simply note the time spent working, and later, at the end of the day or at the end of a particular project, you would link the efforts to the client.

The main menu is also called Timer and it's not a co-incident. Start is a well-visible button in the upper left corner. Click on it whenever you start doing any work for a client. When you pause or finish, click on the large Stop button, which stops the timer. Basically, that is all for the first step.

Do not close the program while the timer is running. Although it will not damage the program, your time log will be incorrect. It is OK to minimize the MS Access window. Alternatively, you may find it convenient to decrease the window size, so that only Start/Stop buttons remain visible. You can move the window into some corner of your screen, so that the button would still be reminding you about its existence.

In order to get an idea about the compensation you have got for your work, you should associate the log book records with a particular invoice. Click on the Invoice button from the main menu and navigate to the invoice created for this project. Efforts are associated not with an invoice in general, but with the particular translation. Using the navigation buttons located between the third and fourth sections of the Invoice form takes you to the Document with which you would like to associate the logged efforts. Of course, if this invoice is for a single translation, then it is already displayed in the form's middle section.

Click on the second large button in the lower section with the messy picture of a device with a recognizable small clock. It will open a new window with the log records that are NOT associated with any translation yet. To associate the log record with the current translation, you should click on the empty category cell and select the type of the efforts from the drop down menu:

You can add more categories to the list. From the main database window in the left navigation select Forms, click once on the Effort form and double click on the second button in the main window tool bar, which looks like a triangle with a pen and word Design. Right click on the category drop down menu and select Property from the menu. In the Data Tab adjust Row Source line, appending new category, separated by semicolon.

Once you have selected the category in the "non-allocated" window, the efforts become immediately allocated and move to the third section of the Invoice form. This data is still editable, you can adjust start and end time as needed or even change the allocation category. Due to historical reasons, it is not a drop down menu; the sequential number of the category is shown instead of the category itself. It is not possible to delete an allocated log record, but it is possible to adjust the start time, so that is becomes equal to the end time, which nullifies the time spent.

It is not untypical, though, that some time was spent without proper logging, i.e. without using start button at the beginning and stop button in the end. If you forgot to do it earlier, you can still do it now: let the timer run for a few seconds. Re-open the non-allocated form and adjust the start and end for the newly created log record to reasonable values, after which allocate it to the translation.

Internal reports.

The information saved can be used for generating various reports. Three of them can be called up by buttons in the right part of the main form.


Outstanding shows the summary of outstanding invoices, i.e. invoices not paid within designated period. Do not be misled by cells that might be empty in some invoices; minimal charge invoices do not show their amounts (which needs to be improved). To see details of the outstanding invoices, you have to open the Invoice form.


Rate is a read-only query showing the actual hourly rate while working on a particular document. Netto is the rate calculated per billable hours only. Brutto is the rate calculated taking into account all time spent on the document. Of course, price per unit and hourly rate are given in the invoice currency.


History is the same form as the Invoice, but it shows all invoices, including paid ones. The records are still editable, but changing history is not a good idea.

Sending invoices to customers.

There are three methods of sending invoices to clients: by mail, by fax and by e-mail. To send an invoice by mail, simply print it on your printer using the print button. An invoice sent by fax is also normally printed first, and then put into a fax machine and finally filed with the tax authorities, who still insist on getting paper copies of invoices. If you do not need a paper copy and your computer is connected to the telephone line, either analog or ISDN, you may use some fax software for faxing directly from the program. In most cases a simple Microsoft Fax, which is a part of Windows installation, is sufficient. ISDN cards often come with proprietary fax software as well.

If you would like to send an invoice by e-mail, you have to agree with your client on the file type. The most typical standard today is pdf file, it is even accepted as "an original document" by some tax authorities. We recommend to download and install Free PDF driver from http://freepdfxp.de/fpxp.htm. This would add one more virtual printer to your computer. To save a file in PDF format, simply print it with this virtual printer. You can select the destination for the resulting PDF file: either save it on the hard drive, or send directly to the mailer.

If your client does not care about nice looking invoices, you can get away with saving the invoice in MS Word (RTF format). The graphical quality of RTF files is noticeably lower compare to PDF.

Initial Setup

The invoice template was adjusted for translator Asya Sokirko. Since you want to bill your client for yourself, not for Asya, you have to adjust the invoice template. No programming experience is required, but template adjusting can be somewhat tricky. In the main database menu select Reports from the left navigation and click once on the Invoice Report. In the main database window select the button second from the right with the sign of triangle and pen labeled "Design" and double click on it. Maximize all MS Access windows and Invoice Report window - you will need all available screen room.

First, delete Asya's logo: click on it and press delete button on the keyboard. If you have your own logo, you can include it by selecting Insert>Picture from the MS Access menu and finishing the dialogue.

Now you would like to replace Asya Sokirko's name with your own name or with the name of your company. It consists of two components: language invariant "Asya Sokirko" and component depending on the language of the Invoice, i.e "Translation". You should type in the language invariant part right into the design box, overwriting the words "Asya Sokirko". It is very important do edit only text within quotes, and not to touch any symbols outside, such as equal sign, ampersand or quotes themselves. It is rather tricky to have double quotes in your name, so we recommend using a couple of single quotes instead. In order to change the language dependent part, one should edit the translation line in the Dict table.

Asya Sokirko shows her source and target languages in the single line in the invoice header. As you might already suspect, it is possible to adjust the list of languages by simply overwriting the language symbol en in the construction:

Language symbol has to be defined as a key in the Dict table. You can also shorten the list by deleting token in the form
          & ", " & DLookUp([lang],"Dict","[key]='de'")

The token starts with an ampersand ("&") and ends with a closing bracket (")"). You can also add the token to the line, if there is enough room on the line.

There is no need to adjust the body of the invoice, it should be Ok as is. In the footer one can see three column cells. It is easy to edit the left and right cells; click on the editing control and carefully overwrite the existing info with your information. Remember not to touch anything outside the double quotes! Line separation is important, do not add any unneeded lines or expect program to auto insert CR into the line when needed.

The middle cell looks rather messy, because it consists of two overlapping areas, click twice (two single clicks) somewhere in the top right quadrant to get to the editable field with the telephone contacts. If you get into a wrong control, click somewhere outside the middle cell and then try again.

If you made a mistake and are unable to troubleshoot it quickly, you might wish to start the report adjustment from the very beginning. Save the original distribution copy elsewhere on your hard drive, do not overwrite your database. Rename you work on the report from Invoice to something like Invoice_damaged. Select File>Get External Data> Import from the main MS Access menu. The last line in the newly opened dialogue should read "Microsoft Access (*.mdb). Navigate to the distribution copy of the database and click on the Import button. In the new dialogue, select Reports Tab, click once on the Invoice report and OK. The old version of the report is now restored.