If you’re sending out invoices for goods or services, it’s essential to include the correct information so that they are legally valid. But what do invoices need to include? Crucial information consists of the date, company details, value, description of the charges, and an invoice reference number.
We’ll explain these in a little more detail, but the key is to ensure your invoices are clear, detailed, and precise. Other information is optional — you might include payment details, for example, or provide this separately, but your invoice must have these vital factors to ensure you get paid.
How Much Detail Do I Need to Put on My Invoices?
Many businesses opt for bookkeeping software or an invoice generation template to make absolutely sure they don’t miss something important. The exact information depends a little on your trading structure and what you’re charging for. For example:
- It’s an easy mistake to make, but the invoice must say that it’s an invoice!
- Unique identifier. This means you can track payments, match invoices to goods, and have an easy way to control your bookkeeping.
- Company information. Your name, address and contact details so a customer can reach you with any queries.
- Customer information. Whether a business or individual, you need to include who you’re sending the invoice to and who the payee is.
- Description of what you’re charging for. This should ideally be itemized if you have multiple products or services on the same invoice.
- Dates. Invoices should include the date of the invoice and the date of supply. They might be the same but should be included to clarify when the invoice is due for payment and when you made the supply.
- Values. Individual values including the currency and the total amount payable. Any taxes included should also be itemized separately, along with peripheral costs such as shipping or delivery charges.
- Payment terms. When the invoice falls due and how to make that payment.
It’s vital to get this right, since missing a crucial piece of information can cause all sorts of problems and also mean your customer can’t — or won’t — pay their invoice, with very little recourse.
What Happens if My Invoices are Wrong or Incomplete?
Invoice templates are popular, since the alternative of manually raising and typing out invoices takes time and is always susceptible to human error. If you’re not sure what invoices need to include and end up issuing incorrect invoices, missing out on one of the points as listed above could mean:
- Late payments or customers not settling their accounts.
- Conflicts and disputes over charges or values.
- Problems with cash flow arising from late remittances.
- Refusal to pay an invoice that isn’t clear or understandable.
- Invoices being considered invalid.
- Spending time reissuing invoices or raising a credit note.
In short, it pays dividends to invest a little time in the right software or templates to be confident that every invoice you send is perfect and reflects the professionalism of your business.
What Invoice Information is Discretional?
You can adjust and customize your invoices as you wish — and using a template that allows you to upload your graphics or logo is a great way to ensure all company communications showcase the same branding.
Branded invoices are also much easier to spot, and a customer will know who the correspondence is from. That means they are less likely to be ignored or assumed as spam.
One of the optional pieces of information is your banking details. For customer ease of use, it’s usually best to include your payment information, laying out:
- The payment options (bank transfer, card cash, check, online money transfer, etc.).
- How to make each payment — either providing account details or contact information.
Not all businesses include this, for example, if they provide payment details separately or the information is already covered in a contract of supply. Nevertheless, it’s good practice to include as much information as your customer might need to ensure they can make their payment with complete transparency and without any confusion.
Using an online link is also a popular way to speed up payments, especially if sending emails digitally. A customer can pay instantly without needing to copy over any banking information.
What are the Benefits of Using Invoice Templates?
There are all sorts of reasons it’s well worth considering using invoice templates, including:
- Assurance that you will include all the vital details in every invoice.
- Professional paperwork and correspondence.
- Good formatting so invoices are easy to read and understand.
- Compliance with legislation and trading regulations.
Uniformity is also a great way to improve customer confidence. With the need to be cautious about fraud, if several people produce invoices or you tend to raise them on different devices, even something as simple as a different font can make a customer suspicious as to whether the invoice is authentic. Templates will standardize every invoice to avoid any doubt and ensure each document uses the same company styling.
Are Invoice Templates Easy to Use?
Invoice templates aren’t just easy to use — they speed up the admin time you need to spend raising invoices!
The first step is to customize your templates. You can typically drag and drop your logo, tick boxes to decide which fields to include, and pre-fill in all the required information such as license numbers, company information, and payment details.
To raise a new invoice, you’re prompted to complete the customer information and values and save them so that each time you bill the same client, their details are pre-filled. Invoice records are also essential to ensure you can trace your income, match up bank payments to invoices, and keep track of any outstanding bills you need to chase up.
Some invoice templates also offer the option to have multiple drop-down selections. For example, if you raise two or three types of invoices for different parts of your business, you can categorize each new bill to make it easier to stay on top of your bookkeeping.
All in all, invoice templates are the way to go. They make it quick and easy for you to bill clients and receive payments. Streamlining the process of billing is the best way to ensure that you can spend more time working with your clients directly or doing the work that matters most to you.