Are you using the invoices from Azure Billing to manage your Azure Cost? 

Then read this article as you might be looking at the wrong data. 

Azure billing is a financial tool enabling Microsoft to send you invoices related to your Azure Cloud consumption. The billing cycle determines when you receive a new invoice. Depending on your contract, the billing cycle can be calendar month based or from a specific day in the month, e.g. 15th till the 14th. 

Azure Invoice 

Every invoice has a large number of items, and it is easy to think that they are all the same, related to Usage during the invoice period.  

But they are not!  

It is essential to distinguish two types of line items: 

  • Usage-related line items 
  • Corrections line items 

Usage-related line items 

The Usage related line items are the easiest to understand; they relate to your Usage during the invoice period. And you would think that’s it. You use service X, with quantity Z, costing you amount Y. Done and dusted. 

Unfortunately, it is not that simple! 

Correction line items 

As with all invoices, corrections will be made on your Azure invoices for various reasons. That is where the correction line items come into play.  

Reasons for corrections can be Free Usage, Credits or outstanding charges applied to the invoice period. 

And with Microsoft having a variety of commercial offerings and their applicable credits, for example, the possibility of using your enterprise licenses in Azure, the impact on your invoice can be significant. 

On an Azure invoice, correction line items can relate to Usage from a different Azure invoice period. So invoice X with correction line items related to invoice period Y. 

That is why your Azure invoices are not the right tool to manage your cloud Cost.  

When you manage your Azure cloud Cost, you want to see your Cost and Usage in relation to time. What Cost have I incurred during a specific month? Just looking at the invoice doesn’t provide you with that overview. 

Luckily there is a solution.

The solution

The Azure Invoice provides two dates for every line item:  

  1. The invoice Date, 
  1. The related usage Date.  

When you build your cloud-cost data warehouse solution, you can use the invoice Date to check whether the Cost data you use aligns with your Azure invoice. You use the Usage Date to manage your Azure Cloud Costs.  

If you would like to skip the tedious process of developing and maintaining your cloud-cost data warehouse, then have a look at the C-Facts application. Our out-of-the-box billing and cloud cost reporting has you up and running much faster. 

Want to see more on this topic, then watch this short presentation: