Guidelines to paper invoices in North America & Europe

If you have an agreed exception that allows you to submit paper invoices, you must ensure that your invoice is compliant with our general guidelines, and all country specific requirements. A clear and complete invoice will help avoid inefficiencies and ensure timely payments.

Any invoice not complying with requirements will be returned to suppliers, who will need to cancel the non-compliant invoice and issue a new invoice. This will reset the payment due date.

Please refer to this sample invoice (PDF | 2MB) and the following guidelines, to ensure that your invoice contains all relevant information required for processing. Please note, this invoice is for most countries, but there are exceptions which are also listed below.

Invoicing guidelines and country specifications

Please do not commence your work until you have received a Purchase Order (PO)/Direct Order (DO) number.

Invoices must not be submitted until goods or services have been delivered.

You must include the following in your invoice which can be found on the PO:

  • PO number (or schedule agreement number if applicable)
  • Supplier name and address
  • Bill to address
  • Supplier number
  • Unilever VAT registration number
  • Unit price, quantity, description and currency as set out in the PO (e.g. if the order is in kg the invoice should be in kg, if the currency is EUR the invoice should be in EUR)
  • In addition, please do not consolidate multiple purchase order lines into one line on the invoice (for example, if the PO has service rate on line 1 and expenses on line 2, do not consolidate them as one entry on the invoice)
  • Ensure that freight costs are clearly mentioned on the invoice in a separate line
  • Material number (in case of goods orders)
  • Net, tax (amount and percentage) and gross amount
  • Invoice number, date and description
  • Your bank details (including SWIFT and IBAN numbers if applicable)
  • Your tax registration number (e.g. VAT) and the amount/rate of VAT (where applicable)
  • Delivery note/receipt/remittance number with delivery date and delivery address for goods (not services)
  • The date must not precede the date on the DO/PO/MO
  • Exchange rate
  • Ensure the invoice is compliant with any additional local fiscal requirement

Please note:

Unilever has a ‘No PO, No Pay’ policy, which is designed to ensure that all payments are accurately authorised and recorded. You must ensure you have a valid Purchase Order (PO) number before you submit an invoice for payment, which must be included on the invoice copy.

It is key that the PO is obtained from Unilever requestor prior to the start of services or provision of goods, hence the invoice date must not precede PO date.

Effective 1st December 2017, Suppliers will receive payments from Unilever via bank transfers only.

If you are an existing supplier and haven’t yet registered your bank account details with us, please contact your Unilever procurement focal before 30th November 2017 to do so.

Bank account details will be mandated for all new contracts effective 1st June 2017.

Select the relevant country below for additional country specific requirements.

Country exceptions

  • Mailing addresses can be different to billing and shipping addresses. The supplier should confirm address details with the service requestor.
  • For non-PO order exceptions (where no purchase order has been raised): invoices must include coding details (General Ledger account number, cost centre, profit centre, internal order) and approval or signature.
  • Foreign, service-based invoices should indicate if there was any travel included. If yes, please provide the destination.
  • Non-PO invoices: coding details to be provided by the vendor on the invoice image.
  • Exchange rate and VAT amount in PLN should be mentioned on invoices issued by Polish suppliers in foreign currency.
  • For invoices related fixed assets: please indicate if it is with or without instalment.
  • Supplier should mention precisely the type of transaction (goods/services).
  • Custom invoices should have FAI documents attached.
  • Invoices billed by domestic vendors for 0% vat should contain the Article number.
  • In attachment of invoice image: ESR number should be mentioned for all documents when bank details are missing.
  • TRD (Tax Reporting Date) should be mentioned on the invoice image
  • Group VAT number
  • EU VAT art quotation in case of an intra-EU invoice
  • For domestic invoices with foreign currency, the VAT amount should be mentioned in HUF
  • EU VAT act quotation in case of an export invoice
  • Reverse-charge phase in case of reverse-charge transactions
  • TRD (Tax Reporting Date) should be mentioned on the invoice image.
  • Ensure “quantity and type of delivered goods or range and type of services provided” is included. If the list/description is too long and detailed, it should be part of an annex.
  • If goods are purchased goods from another EU country, the supplier should include:
    1. customs tariff number
    2. country of origin
    3. net weight of goods
    4. delivery condition
    5. type of transport (truck, ship, aircraft, train)
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