FX Rates and Invoices

Exchange rates (FX) can be a complicated affair. This article's goal is to help you understand where FX rates are set in Projector, when items are FX'd, and the ramifications of FX. For the uninitiated, an FX rate is used to calculate the ratio at which one currency is exchanged for another. This rate is in constant flux depending on the financial markets.

FX Rates on Invoices

On invoices, only expenses are FX'd. Time and milestones are not. Time and milestone currencies must always match the engagement currency - thus no FX is necessary. 

The FX rate is locked in at the moment the expense is approved. The reason is that to keep accurate accounting, the expense must be pushed into Cost WIP. You can force a recalculation of the FX rates if you unapprove/reapprove an expense or transfer it to a project.

Because FX rates are locked in at the time of approval, we typically see organizations update their FX rates twice for each period that they track. For example, if you track your FX rates monthly you would set a spot rate on the first day of the month. Then on the last day you would look at the historical time period and enter a new, averaged rate for the month. Keep in mind that all currently approved expenses won't use this new rate for invoicing. 

When you invoice an expense there are three amounts that come into play. Each is defined below.

  • Base/Incurred - The amount of the expense (as seen on a receipt)
  • Disbursed - What your resource is recompensed (what you reimbursed your employee for)
  • Invoiced - The amount the client is charged

When going between two amounts, an FX occurs. This can lead to a case where clients are unsatisfied with their invoices because they are not paying exactly what was incurred, even though it is in the exact same currency! In simpler terms, the receipt may say $10.05, but they are invoiced $10.10.

This occurs in a special circumstance called a double hop. To learn more about how this situation can arise, please reference the table below. Each row of the table shows the FX that occurs between each of the three amounts. The last column describes the client's perception of the FX situation.

IncurredFX Rates Editor, XE.com, ManualDisbursedFX Rates EditorInvoicedHopsExplanation
USDNoneEveryone is happy because everything occurs in the same currency.
AUDSingleThe employee is happy because he gets reimbursed in full. Your company is happy because they are reimbursed in full. The client is happy because they have reimbursed the company for what its outlay was. 


This is where things get interesting. In this case the company or the client may incur a cost from the conversion process. If the two fx rates do not match the incurred/invoiced amounts won't match, even though both are in AUD! The client often notices this because they get a copy of the receipts with their invoice and the two won't match. The client may question this even though this is a normal accounting practice.

Projector can have the difference go in your company's favor or in the client's favor. Typically the cost is born by the client, but the company can choose to absorb the cost through the account setting Force equivalent FX rates when costs are incurred and invoiced in the same currency. This causes the value of the second fx to always match the first fx. This is a system wide setting, so all clients must be treated the same.

AUDfxUSDfxGBPDoubleThis is very similar to the previous example, but the incurred and invoiced currencies don't match. In this case the client generally doesn't notice a problem because none of the numbers on the receipts match the invoiced amount.

FX Rates, Invoices, and GL Transactions

The previous section talked about how FX rates come into play when including time/cost/milestones on an invoice. When you issue an invoice in a currency that differs from your accounting GL currency, then some FX work must be done. There are five different areas where FX occurs for an invoice.

TimeWhen a time card is approved, we look at the time card's date. We look up that date against the FX rates defined in Projector. Finally, that value is stored in Time WIP.
ExpenseWhen a cost card is approved, we look at the incurred date of the expense.
MilestoneMilestone FX is based on the invoice issue date
TaxesTaxes are FX'd based on the invoice issue date

Applied Prepayments

We use special FX magic to ensure applied prepayments properly balance when used for a later invoice.