Invoice and Reimbursement Guidelines

When you should choose between the two different expense types.

Open Collective Foundation is closing down in 2024. All funds must be paid out by September 30, 2024. Read more here.


​Invoices should be used to pay individuals for work completed on behalf of the collective. Unlike reimbursements, a photo or a PDF of an invoice document is not required for invoices to be submitted on the Open Collective platform. However, there are some requirements for drafting an invoice on the platform itself.

Invoices must meet the following criteria to be paid:

  • Must have a description of the work done, and the amount of time (normally in hours) spent on work or time covered (normally in months).

  • The payee must include their billing address.

  • The payee's name must match the billing contact or name on the bank account.

Regarding descriptions: Invoices need a clear description of services rendered and sufficient detail to clarify what the collective is paying for. This is because our accountant or auditors may check this description for compliance. That means that someone with no knowledge of your project should be able to understand what was done from the description.

To make this easier, we suggest:

  • Using phrases like "program management" or "project administration" instead of more generic words like "payment", "work", or "salary".

  • Developing a clear and consistent role description for each collective member who will be submitting an invoice to your project so that they do not need additional coaching from OCF staff.

We may mark an invoice incomplete and follow up on invoices which lack sufficient explanation of the work performed. This does not mean we are cancelling your payment, but that we need you to add more detail to the description.


Use reimbursements to pay for purchases of goods or software subscriptions made on behalf of the collective.

Reimbursements SHOULD NOT be used to pay someone providing services to the collective. Please have this person submit their own invoice using the guidelines above.

Receipts are required so that we can ensure the requested amount matches the purchased amount in order to approve the reimbursement.

A valid receipt contains:

  1. Name of the vendor (person or company you paid)

  2. Transaction date (when you paid)

  3. A detailed description of goods or services purchased (what you bought)

  4. Amount paid

  5. The currency in question. This is normally clear from the address and the currency symbol.

  6. Form of payment (cash, check, or last four digits of the credit card)

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