Procedures for Digital Licensing Invoicing


The Council of Atlantic University Libraries / Conseil des bibliothèques universitaires de l’Atlantique’s (CAUL/CBUA) approach to consortial license invoicing attempts to minimize overhead while providing a clear and straightforward process for members.  

CAUL/CBUA licenses are negotiated by the CAUL/CBUA manager. Billing and invoicing are handled by Interuniversity Services Inc. (ISI). CAUL/CBUA members are invoiced three times a year. The first invoice, or renewal invoice, arrives shortly after the beginning of the CAUL/CBUA fiscal year (April 1). The renewal invoice is based on the previous year’s expenditures for each institution. This invoice provides CAUL/CBUA with the funds to pay individual product invoices that arrive throughout the year.

The second invoice, or mid-year reconciliation invoice, is calculated for each institution near the end of July. This invoice accounts for new subscriptions and cancellations that occurred since the renewal invoice, as well as currency fluctuations. The end of September was chosen for the mid-year reconciliation as approximately half of CAUL/CBUA’s subscriptions have been renewed as of September 1. Additional time to receive vendor invoices and prepare the CAUL/CBUA invoices must then be considered.

The third invoice, or final reconciliation invoice, is calculated for each institution after all individual product invoices are paid. The reconciliation invoice takes into account new subscriptions and cancellations, as well as currency fluctuations. This process typically occurs in February so that libraries receive the invoice before the end of the fiscal year.

If a member chooses to cancel their subscription to a resource, they will be immediately reimbursed by cheque any monies that they may have pre-paid to CAUL-CBUA for that resource.

CAUL/CBUA strives to maintain a single invoicing process for all products. Due to historical or other arrangements, occasionally a library will be invoiced separately for a CAUL/CBUA product. It is expected that both the CAUL/CBUA manager and the participating libraries will document the products for which there are individual arrangements.


Why does CAUL/CBUA invoice at the beginning of the year rather than at the end, or by product?
CAUL/CBUA implements a flow-through approach to financing digital licensing. This means that money comes in at the beginning of the fiscal year and is spent throughout that year.
CAUL/CBUA keeps no cash reserves to pay for products up front. Invoicing by product would require an unsustainable level of management at the consortial level. Rather than sending three invoices a year to each member, CAUL/CBUA would be required to send 50+ invoices to various libraries at various times of the year, as well as insuring that funds were received in time to make payments to the vendors. Therefore, CAUL/CBUA uses the three-invoice, flow-through approach.   

What are the differences between the renewal invoice and reconciliation invoices?
The renewal invoice reflects the amount that each institution paid for CAUL/CBUA subscriptions during the previous fiscal year. The reconciliation invoices takes into account new subscriptions, cancellations, and increases in subscription costs, which occur throughout the year. The most common reasons for the variance between the invoices are the exchange rate and inflationary increases. While members initially pay CAUL/CBUA for their subscriptions in the spring, each product is paid for upon its renewal. This means that the strength of the Canadian dollar may vary per renewal.

Who should I contact in the event there is a discrepancy in my invoice?
In the event of a discrepancy, contact the CAUL/CBUA manager as soon as possible. The manager will investigate and make any necessary adjustments.

Why do vendors occasionally contact me directly after I’ve been invoiced by CAUL/CBUA?
On rare occasions, there may be a brief period between the time the CAUL/CBUA renewal invoice is paid and the subscription is renewed. In the event that a vendor approaches you directly for payment of a CAUL/CBUA product, contact the CAUL/CBUA manager.


April: The previous fiscal year’s products spreadsheet is reviewed. Members are asked to inform the CAUL/CBUA manager of any product cancellations for the upcoming year as soon as possible. This information will be relayed to ISI to ensure that the renewal invoice is as accurate as possible.

June: Renewal invoices are sent to each institution by ISI. Renewal invoices are based on the previous year’s reconciliation invoice and the deduction of any known cancellations.

September: The mid-year reconciliation will occur once all of the invoices for products with July subscription start dates have been received.

February: The final reconciliation will occur once all of the subscription invoices for the fiscal year have been received.

CAUL/CBUA and ISI make every effort to send invoices as soon as possible.
Invoices must be paid in full to ISI within thirty (30) days of receipt of the invoice. Credits will be applied against existing licensing costs or reimbursed back to the institution.  If a member chooses to cancel their subscription to a resource, they will be immediately reimbursed by cheque any monies that they may have pre-paid to CAUL-CBUA for that resource.

Created November 2013
Revised and Approved December 2018