The invoice is among the most important documents that your business will send out. It’s the key to making sure you get paid at the right time, in the right way, and with the right amount. Because of this, it’s crucial to choose the right format for your business invoice.
Must-Haves of an Effective Business Invoice
1. Visible logo and contact details
Display your company name and logo prominently on the invoice. This way, it will be the first thing clients will see when they receive the document. Also, make sure your contact information, including your phone number and email address, is visible by placing them at the top part of the business invoice, below your company name. You can also place this in the footer section of the document for good measure.
2. Specific invoice details
This might seem obvious, but writing the term “INVOICE” in large, bold letters is crucial to the success of your bill. This indicates to customers precisely what the document is for and why you sent it to them. Don’t forget to include the invoice number and exact date you sent the file, so both you and the client can keep track of what’s coming in. An invoicing template ensures that all the important details won’t be missed out every time you send out an invoice.
3. Accurate client information
Make sure you are addressing the business invoice to the right person. If the bill is for an individual client, confirm that you have the correct name and contact details. If it’s for an organisation, check to see if a specific person is responsible for handling payment and get that individual’s details.
If there’s no specific person who deals with payments, it’s best to use the company’s legal name. Confirm this information with them as it might be different from their brand name. One way to countercheck if you have the correct information is to check the customer’s ABN or ACN number. An invoicing software can help improve the accuracy of your invoices.
4. Clear payment notice
State when the business invoice is due. You can either indicate and exact date or write the phrase “Payment Due Upon Receipt”. You can also go with a variation that’s more specific, like “Payment is Due within (X) Days Upon Receipt”. Be sure to use a bold font for this section.
5. Itemised list of billed products/services
Remind clients what you are billing them for by providing a detailed list of the acquired products and/or services with their corresponding rates. However, keep the description of each item brief so your invoice will not run too long. Remember, you want clients to be able to understand the invoice with just a single glance.
6. Highlighted total amount due
Clearly indicate the total amount that needs to be paid. Show how you came up with this number, especially if you plan to add taxes or use discounts. Highlight this section by using a larger font and underlining the amount. This way, your customers will immediately see how much they owe you.
7. Varied payment methods
List down your accepted payment methods. It would be best to offer several options in this section, so clients have the freedom to choose the mode of payment that is more convenient for them. Something as simple as this can significantly increase the chances of you getting paid on time.
8. Clear Terms & Conditions
This is where you state what happens if clients are unable to pay their bill on time. Make sure your terms and conditions can easily be understood and is always updated. If you offer early payment discounts, it’s also best to indicate them here.
You can use this section to thank clients for doing business with you. After all, it’s always a good idea to be polite and encourage future business. You can also use this section to ask for feedback regarding your services. This gives you a chance to continue and enhance your relationship with your customers.
Before You Send Them Out…
• Proofread your business invoice. Make sure you have all the right details, especially the amount due and the payment date. You may need a legal professional to review your business documents to make sure the right terms and conditions are present.
• Attach all the necessary files to the invoice. This may include contracts, product specifications, work schedules, and other references that clients may need.
• Send invoices well before the due date. This helps avoid delays and ensures you get paid as quickly as possible.
Remember that a well-formatted and properly worded invoice can make the difference between receiving payments on time and suffering cash flow problems. Read our useful tips on reducing late payments here.
Liam White joined the Slater Byrne Recoveries team in early 2013. He has worked across the credit & dispute resolution industry for a number of years. He is currently working in a Marketing/Head of Sales capacity at Slater Byrne Recoveries.