For any business, after you have sold your product, it is likely that an invoice will need to be sent to your customer in order to be paid. If you’ve never written an invoice before, you might feel like you don’t know where to start or that it seems difficult. The truth is, it’s not as difficult as it might sound. To make this process simpler and faster, while making your business look more professional, you can consider using an invoice generator to help you produce preformatted, customizable invoices while streamlining the overall payment process for you. and your customers. However, you can also just write your invoices yourself without using an invoice generator.
This guide will provide you with all the information you need to complete your bill to a high standard and help you receive your payments quickly.
1. Clear and concise layout
Clear and concise information on an invoice is the key to building trust with your customers and reducing questions they may have about a particular detail or amount which obviously slows down the process and delays payment.
Avoid this by using easily readable fonts, matching your current strategic business plans and branding already in place and if the format remains consistent over time, payment information can be found quickly, providing a smoother payment process. fluid and better service for the customers overall.
2. Include company name and customer details
All invoices, whether centered or aligned to the left, clearly display the company name and logo so customers instantly recognize what the invoice is for. The word “invoice” clarifies the subject of the document and the customer can begin the process to get payment sent quickly. Key information added below should include:
- Your business address and relevant contact details.
- The customer’s address and the department concerned or subordinate to contact to ensure that the invoice reaches the correct destination.
- If you are operating a limited liability company, key information such as official name, company registration number and VAT registration number are also required.
3. In accordance with the law, an invoice number, a supply date and an issue date are required.
The law on invoices, as explained on the gov.uk website, states that all invoices must include an invoice number which ultimately differentiates one payment from another using an individual identification number. These are used to help track each invoice, also confirming when and who processed the payment.
The invoice should also clearly state a delivery date, which confirms the date the products or services were originally supplied, followed by an issue date – when the invoice was sent to the customer. If this information is not clearly visible, the customer may even reject the invoice because without this information there will certainly be confusion and delays.
4. Include itemized billing on the invoice with a brief description of the order.
Each product or service should be clearly itemized with cost and a brief description should be provided to help your customer easily identify the order related to the invoice. The description doesn’t need to be too detailed, but enough to clarify exactly what your customer is paying for. Again, this is about reducing requests for an invoice from your customer which can slow down the overall payment process, which ultimately affects the service you provided and could subsequently lead to bad returns for your business. .
5. Provide clear subtotals and grand totals
By using a separate row for each product and service and a quantity of each item with the associated cost, you can then provide a subtotal and grand total that your customers can easily check, break down, and calculate on their own. Subtotals exclude any charges or taxes, with the grand total providing the total amount, including shipping charges, VAT, and any discounts that may apply.
6. Offer a variety of payment methods
As with any commercial transaction, payment terms must be agreed before any order or purchase. The payment due date should be clearly indicated in order to avoid delays and to ensure that no late payment fees are added. In the UK, for example, certain actions such as imposing an additional rate of 8% plus the base rate of the Bank of England can legally be added to the grand total if a business-to-business transaction is completed late and will be stipulated in the terms and conditions.
To avoid late payments, the invoice you provide will show the different payment methods accepted by your business while also ensuring that your own bank details are easily visible if it is a chosen payment method. Give your customers plenty of options for making a payment, as this helps speed up the overall process and reduces the risk of late payments as your customer doesn’t have an appropriate payment method that you accept.
7. Add a personal touch to the invoice
Finally, add a brief message thanking the customer for choosing your business and end the deal on a positive note. It can help keep your customers in the future by showing your gratitude and showing that their business is important to you.
8. Send the invoice online
Finally, once the invoice is ready, the fastest way to send it to the customer is online, with paper options becoming a thing of the past these days. Sending an invoice online is also instant, which if there are any questions or issues with payment, can help speed up the resolution process, ensuring a smoother business transaction overall.
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