A business cannot function properly without a regular inflow of cash. It’s not just important to get paid, but it’s equally important to get paid on time.
New business owners often don’t give much thought to the information they include on customer invoices. While this may work in the initial phases of the business, it’s definitely not sustainable. Sooner or later, improperly formatted invoices that lack critical information and numbers will become a liability.
Sending a lacklustre invoice that isn’t formatted properly and contains basic errors will make your business come off as highly unprofessional, and might even give the client the impression that you’re not serious about cash flow.
On the contrary, a well-designed invoice that contains the right pieces numbers and other information will be received very well by your clients or customers.
And anyway, a well thought-out invoice isn’t just to project a professional image of your company, but it’s instrumental in making sure you’re paid on time.
Invoices with mistakes and missing information have a high chance of being disputed, leading to payment delays for you and your business. A business where this is normal will have little chances of success in the longer run.
If you’ve been sending questionable invoices so far, don’t worry. In this guide we’ll talk comprehensively about what to include on your invoice template, complete with example invoices.
What to Include On Your Invoice Template
Make sure to include a legible, bold invoice heading before all headings. This way the customer knows right away that this is an invoice, and not any other financial documents.
An invoice is a legally binding document between you and the customer, so it’s only natural you’d want to organize them. Be sure to include a unique serial number for each invoice, making it easy to track them in the future.
If you’re sending invoices to multiple clients, you can even include a client-specific prefix to the invoice number made of letters. Try to keep subsequent invoice numbers in a sequential order.
Your Company’s Contact Address and Info
It must be apparent to your clients and customers what business the invoice is coming from, so be sure to include your contact address and info. This can also be useful for the client in case they want to raise a dispute or have any questions regarding the invoice.
Also, make sure the contact details on the invoice are accurate and up-to-date so there are no problems for the client in contacting you. The last thing you want is to miss an important question from the client, which can make the whole payment process much longer.
Client’s Contact Address and Info
In most cases, your client will make a special request to include their business address and contact details in the invoice. This can be for tax reasons or just general book-keeping.
Even if the client doesn’t ask you explicitly, this is still standard procedure for invoices, except for simplified VAT invoices.
Goods and Services Delivered
Your invoice should contain a list of all the goods and/or services delivered to the client in a manner that is accurate. Meaning the items you list should be easy to understand and should not cause confusion for the client. If the client feels the listed items do not reflect what was delivered, they might raise a dispute, which can lead to payment delays.
Also be sure to create separate line items for multiple goods or services – there’s no reason to get stingy or lazy here. This level of clarity is needed for invoices.
Date of Invoice
Date of invoice is the date when the invoice was issued or generated. Should not be confused with date when goods or services listed on the invoice were delivered.
Date of Supply
Date of supply is when the goods and services listed in the invoice were delivered to the client. Should not be confused with the date of invoice (see above).
Total Amount Payable
This should be the step that brings you the most joy, since it shows the total amount payable (summed across all line items). And this goes without saying but, make sure you calculate the sum properly – you don’t want to reach out to the client again saying there’s a mistake in the invoice!
Purchase Order Number
Some customers might require you to include purchase order number if your business sold goods to them. If they were issued goods from a specific sales person, the name of that person might need to be included as well.
Invoice Payment Instructions
Instructions on how the client or customer can actually pay the invoice are really important! To ensure your invoice gets paid on time without any hassles, be flexible in terms of how you accept payments. Provide options such as payment by cheque, wire transfer, online transfer and so on.
You can get additional inspiration for what to include on your invoice and its design by looking at example invoices online. These are ready-made invoices created by professionals who know what they’re doing.
Invoice Payment Terms
Your invoice should include clear and easy to understand payment terms and conditions that have been agreed upon beforehand between you and your client.
Include terms on late payments, such as a surcharge. On the flipside, you can offer small discounts on payments made before the set due date.
How to Properly Send Your Invoice
Creating the perfect invoice is important, but what’s just as important is sending it in a proper manner to ensure quick payment.
Don’t just send your invoice to the main contact person’s email address – ask them how you can send the invoice to the person in the company who’s actually in charge of making payments. In many cases this will be an accountant, but they might have to jump through a few hoops before your payment is cleared.
And while you may be in contact with the company through Facebook Messenger, that’s not really the preferred medium of sending invoices. Email is still the standard when it comes to digital invoices.