If you’re raising invoices for the first time, it’s important to review the information you need to include. One of the most accessible options is to use invoice template software, which will help you work out the most professional formatting.
Invoices must include specific information to ensure they are legally valid and payable. Besides, it’s best to practice to ensure all business correspondence is well presented and easy to read so that customers find your bills simple to pay and understand.
In this article, we’ll run through all of the critical criteria for a professional invoice that includes all the essential details.
Structuring a Payable Invoice
If you’re unsure how to write an invoice for payment, the first thing to consider is how you will send it. You might type out an invoice, print and post it, or send it via email.
Should you email an invoice, it’s best to use a PDF format rather than any of the typical text editing programs such as Word. PDF files are less easy to edit and can’t be amended or have fields deleted by accident.
Using an invoice template is an excellent option since you’ll usually email invoices directly to the address you enter into the customer profile. Although posting an invoice isn’t unheard of, email tends to be more environmentally friendly and costs less in paper, printing ink, and postage charges.
Next up, you want to customize your invoice to clarify that it’s a payable document and that it’s from you. That should include your company logo, address, and contact information as well as a title stating that the file is an invoice (you can put the word INVOICE at the top in bold text).
How to Make Sure Your Invoices are Professional
If you send out one invoice every few months, you might be comfortable typing out the details. Generally speaking, you’re best off with bookkeeping software or invoice template to ensure all your customer correspondence is consistent and specific to your business. That means deciding on:
- The font and text size you use
- How to layout your invoices
- Where the logo will go
Invoice template software will offer you a few different formats so you can remove or add new fields as appropriate. For example, if you’re sending an invoice for construction work, you might need to have multiple lines in order to itemize each charge. If you’re invoicing for one standalone product, you might prefer to have only three or four lines on each document.
The essential factor is to ensure every invoice uses a font that a customer can read and isn’t crammed full of information, making it difficult to understand. Most invoices use a font size of between 10-12, which is usually legible either in print or on a screen.
Why is an Invoice Template a Better Way to Raise Payable Invoices?
Every invoice you issue should include details such as:
- An invoice number
- The date of the invoice
- What services or goods you are charging for
- The supply date
- When the invoice is due
- How to pay
- The total value and any breakdowns
- Your company information
- The customer’s information
Using professional documents with company-branded headers looks more efficient and inspires consumer confidence that they’re dealing with a reputable business.
You must include all of the relevant details in every invoice. Leave it out and a customer might not pay their invoice, pay late, raise queries or complain if they haven’t got the correct information to settle against.
None of those outcomes is positive for business reputation. It’s wise to consider the appearance and professionalism of your invoice correspondence to ensure you’re sending the right messages.
Invoice templates are a great option for SMEs who don’t have time to manually type out each invoice or minimize the admin burden in raising individual documents. You can draw up multiple invoices at once, select from dropdown boxes to populate the fields, and have the assurance that each new file will be automatically assigned a unique invoice number to assist with accounting records and tax returns.
Can Using an Invoice Template Help Me Get Paid Faster?
It can indeed. Conversely, a disorganized invoice with missing information isn’t likely to go to the top of the accounts payable file. You might experience significant delays if a customer needs to spend time working out how the charges break down or getting in touch to clarify any queries.
Using an invoice template has several advantages including consistency, on-brand correspondence, accuracy, and completeness since the template will automatically populate every field, or you will be prompted to fill in the appropriate information.
Another benefit is that if you use an invoice template with a direct mail function or integrated with your bookkeeping software, you can usually email this straight to the customer, which ensures they receive the invoice immediately. Sending hard copy invoices through the post will generally take at least a couple of days. E-payment systems often allow customers to use a one-click “pay now” function, with a fast way to enter card details or make a transfer without delay.
This system works because:
- It’s more convenient for customers.
- There is no requirement to look up bank details.
- Customers can make payments with one click of the mouse.
- Customers don’t need to pass documents through to their admin for payment.
- Faster processing times for document approvals.
The easier you can make it for your customers to receive their invoices, digest the content, and make the payment, the faster your remittances will arrive.
Do I Need to Include Sales Tax on an Invoice?
Yes. If you’re raising a payable invoice and there are tax charges included in the rate, it’s essential to itemize them on the paperwork. This shows your customer how much of the total relates to your goods or services and how much is related to tax charges. It’s also vital to have records of taxes collected to ensure you can file your tax returns and demonstrate how those figures have been calculated.