Creating the perfect invoice
Whether you are new to business or have 10 years of experience under your belt, we all know what an invoice is but most of us are also guilty for seeing it as “just a paper trail” so do not put the time or effort into creating a document that represents our business or services.
Let’s face it, we have all received an invoice from a company in the past that has made us look twice. Personally, I have received invoices that have my name spelt wrong, it does not include my address or does not have any of my details at all.
All these errors can slow down the process of getting paid, if your customers are having to raise errors in your invoice, your payday is getting pushed further and further back!
To ensure that we are all send invoices that are high quality, include ALL the necessary information and represent our amazing brands, I wanted to create this blog as your own ‘tick list’ when creating and sending an invoice to your customers.
What do you need to put on an invoice?
The basic information that an invoice should identify is the supplier, the buyer, and the goods or services that were exchanged. Here is what to put on it:
- your company name, address, and the invoice number
- your customer’s name and address
- details of the goods or service you provided and the cost
- instructions on how and when to pay
If you collected VAT on the sale, then you also need to show how much.
Before you start drawing up an invoice, ensure that your customer is expecting to receive one. If you send an invoice out of nowhere, the likelihood is that they will be slow to pay, or even annoyed about receiving this document. Before starting the process of sending an invoice, explain what it includes, when they will receive it and how often if it is ongoing business. You should try to have a set agreement in place, but if you do not, just ensure to tell them when an invoice is about to be raised.
The secret to a great invoice is having a great template to start with. A template – or templates – that you use each time, eliminates lots of copying and pasting and fiddly formatting.
Will invoicing software help?
Invoicing software can help to speed up the process of billing your customers dramatically.
- They have plenty of templates to choose from
- You can brand your invoice
- They allow you to create quotes
- You can quickly convert a quote into an invoice
- Invoices can be created and sent on a phone
- You can offer a ‘pay now’ option for customers with credit or debit cards
Key steps to follow when creating an invoice
Although every invoice will be different depending on the company, these are the basic steps you should take when creating your invoice.
- Open your invoice template.
- Add the date.
- Enter the invoice number.
- Fill out the customer name, address, reference and/or order number.
- Enter a description of the goods or services.
- Total the costs and double-check your calculations
- Check and make any changes to the payment terms that apply to this customer or this job.
- Get the invoice checked by a member of your team if you can.
- If you use a Word document or spreadsheet template, save the invoice as a PDF before sending to provide some protection against it being altered.
- Once sent, file a copy for your tax records.