Learn about Invoice Number Formats

Learn about the invoice number format for invoices entered into the ARC System at Columbia University. 

You need to use the invoice number format for all invoices entered into ARC.  Following this protocol will make it much easier and quicker to enter invoices and help prevent duplicate payments.  It will also make it possible for the University and vendors to track invoices.  If a vendor does not provide an invoice number, voucher initiators must follow a specific invoice number format as defined by the Accounts Payable department. 

Invoice Number (When Invoice Number is on the Invoice)
Enter the invoice number into the Invoice Number field in ARC as it appears on the vendor’s bill, with all letters and zeros before and after the number.

For example “000000A989L” or 00-0454845

Please Note: Some vendors refer to an invoice number as a “Billing” or “Reference” number.

Date of Billing and Total Gross Amount of Invoice (Use when Invoice Number is not on the Invoice) For payments to vendors who issue a document requesting payment with only a total gross amount and a date, but with no invoice number- enter the “Date of Billing and the total Gross Amount of the Invoice” into the Invoice Number Field in ARC.

For Example: If the date of the invoice is June 7th 2012 and the amount is $325.50, enter the “date of billing and total amount” into the Invoice Number Field in ARC as follows: 2 digit month +2 digit billing day+ last 2 digits of the year+ gross amount.

For example “06071232550”

Check Request Form (Use when Invoice Number and Date of Billing is not on the Invoice)If an Invoice Number and the Date of Billing is not on the Invoice then a Check Request form must be used in order to generate an Invoice Number.  Enter the “R” + 6 digits generated from the Check Request form into the Invoice Number field in ARC.

For example “R445334”

Please Note: Do not enter dashes, dots, hyphens, and symbols into the Invoice Number Field(s) in ARC when following the “Date of Billing or Check Request” Invoice Number format.

Account Number for Utility Bills, Pitney Bowes and Unitex

Utility bills are usually submitted without an invoice number or date, showing Columbia University as the billing address, an account number, and a description of services or goods provided.  The “Account Number” invoice number consists of:

• Position 1 = last  2 digits of billing year (e.g., 13 for 2013, etc)

• Position 2 = alpha conversion of the billing month

• Position 3 = the account number on the invoice













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