When it comes to creating invoices there are instances where we end up in committing errors or entering partial details. Such ambiguous invoices not only delay the payment process but can also lead to disputes between the concerned parties. To address this issue we recommend adding the following information while preparing an invoice.
Add your contact information – Place your company name, address, phone number, email address, and even your website at the top of the invoice. This is the general Pro-forma and should be followed religiously.
Creating an invoice number tracking system helps – It is important to mention the invoice/estimate number on the invoice. Even though it is not a mandate, it is useful as a reference no. in case there is a spat between the parties. Also it helps in better invoice tracking and management.
Add receiver’s details – Just like you add your contact details on top of the invoice, the receiver’s address also needs to be mentioned. You still need to include your own invoice number for your own records and tracking system.
Clearly mention the particulars – All the standard particulars like product/service, unit cost, quantity, price, discount and tax should be mentioned in the invoice. These are the standard fields and makes the invoice self explanatory. As a result, there is less probability that the client will get back to you with dim-witted queries.
Add a short description – In some cases it becomes imperative to add a brief description about the product/service. The nature of description can be left to the sender’s discretion. It is advised to have this field in the invoice as your client would know exactly what product he has purchased from you or the nature of services that have been rendered to him.
Include the terms of service – This should go without mentioning but many freelancers, service providers, small businesses, etc. don’t comply with this rule. The terms and conditions of services should include among many things the ‘due date’ of the invoice and the penalty that will be imposed thereafter.
Send invoice as an attachment – If you are sending invoices using the Internet as a medium then it is always suggested to attach the invoice with the mail. This makes sure that the receiver has a proper look at the complete invoice and clarifies issues, if any.
Enter your activities in your invoice tracking system – As soon as you send the invoice, make sure you record the invoice number, date sent, invoice amount, and any other details you think necessary. This way, you can keep track of who has paid and who is in arrears. And, when your invoice is paid, make sure to record the date you received payment.
Tracking down late payments – When you email an editor asking about a late payment, make sure you include your invoice number, amount and the date when invoice was sent.
All the above mentioned activities become cumbersome when traditional methods of invoicing are used. Using an online invoicing application we may send invoices automatically and carry out all the above mentioned activities more efficiently. Online tools takes the pain out of invoicing and helps to simplify the process of account receivable and management. Know more about the business advantages of recurring invoicing from this post.
Good tip about attachments. It's best to send an invoice as a PDF file, not as a Word doc, particularly if you use old invoices as a template for your newer invoices. PDFs can't be changed, and they don't carry hidden text - Word docs do, and it is possible to see older information on them, which could be very embarassing! If you don't have a PDF printer driver on your computer (Acrobat, Microsoft Image Writer), you can download a free one such as PDF995 or CutePDF.
You may want to log transaction id for Paypal and wire transfer, and check number. This is a good information to have for recurring payments with long delays.