One of the most important things when running a business is getting paid — and to get paid, you need to be able to create invoices correctly. While many business owners find the paperwork side of running a company tedious and time consuming, it’s crucial to get this right. So what do you need on an invoice? This article will talk you through the ten things you should ensure you include on your invoices.
This is an easy one. The first thing you need to include on your invoice is a clear title explaining exactly what it is. A simple heading stating, “invoice” is likely sufficient. This is important as it will show your customer precisely what it is as well as keeping your paperwork simple and logical for your own record keeping and tax purposes.
Unique identifying number
To help with keeping your records accurate, you should include a unique invoice number. This not only assists you with keeping things organized, it’s also helpful to your customer when making a payment. It will allow you to keep track of what payments are for when they come in. What is crucial here is that the number is unique. If you use the same number for multiple invoices, this will likely lead to confusion, so it’s best to ensure each one is different.
Company name and addresS
Your invoice needs to include the details of your company so that your customer can see exactly where it has come from. Your full company name and address details should be on there, and it does not hurt to also add your phone number in case your customers wish to speak to you. Other details such as email address and even social media details can also be helpful to include where appropriate, however are not necessary.
Every invoice should contain customer details so that you know exactly who it’s going to. You should maintain accurate customer records and be able to reflect their name and address on their invoice. Not only does this help you keep track of your own records, who owes you payments, and who has paid, it also looks professional for your customers.
Summary of services
Invoices need to indicate what the customer is being billed for. You should include a summary or even title of the services or products that were provided. This is helpful to the customer as it offers a brief snapshot of what they are paying for and can also assist you with standardizing your invoicing practices.
Date work completed
It’s important to include the date you completed the work or provided the service to your customer. This provides verification of when the work occurred and indicates honest business practices. Genuine invoices are for genuine services, and including the date adds to your credibility.
You should also include the date the invoice was generated, noting this may sometimes be the same as the date the work was completed. It can differ at times, however, and that’s why it is important to capture both. This will help you keep track of when requests for payments have occurred and allow you to establish clear time frames for when you should expect to receive money for your work.
Itemized services and their cost
With the summary already added, you then need to include details of what steps or products went into the overall work. This is where you list each relevant item and what their individual costs were. This helps your customers understand what they are paying for and helps with your own record keeping.
Total amount payable
Arguably the most important piece of information on your invoice is the total amount that the customer needs to pay. This should be an exact addition of each itemized cost in your detailed list. Ensure this is accurate and clear. Using slightly larger or bolder text for this is advisable.
How to pay and payment terms
If the total amount is the most important, then this is the second most important. You need to provide your customers instructions on how to get their money to you and be clear on this. You also need to make sure you include payment terms such as how soon after the invoice is issued that payment is required and whether payment plans are available.