Writing an effective invoice is a skill that you will need if you are you a business that provides invoices to clients for payments?
It is important that you are doing so effectively and efficiently to ensure you receive the best results consistently out of your invoices and to avoid unwanted consequences.
It is important that you do the following as a minimum:
- Number your Invoices
- Correctly format your invoices
- Enter your correct company information
- Print the terms of the invoice
- Remind the customer of your product or service
- Review your invoice
In this article our Australian debt collection agency will outline the six main steps (above) to invoicing and why it is so important to have a plan in place.
Writing an Effective Invoice by Numbering your Invoices
When organising an effective invoicing system, it is a great idea to implement a numbering strategy for filing and identifying purposes.
This is an extremely helpful invoicing hack as it prevents the misplacement of invoices or the struggle to find older invoices when going through finances.
When done well, filing by number can cut out the hours wasted trying to find relevant invoices when needs are.
Although other strategies are also effective, numbering is great as it is completely unique opposing other strategies such as alphabetical order by name.
There are several methods of numbering you can use, depending on how efficient you want your filing to be. Of course, you could simply use numbers in ascending order, but you may also want to consider implementing additional factors such as department codes or initials to represent the client’s name.
Remember, to base your filing strategy on your personal business model to ensure it is customised to your company’s needs.
Writing an Effective Invoice by Formatting
Formatting is another important part of creating a visually appealing and effective invoice.
Having an invoice that is clean and organised makes it much easier for clients to find the relevant information and avoids those questions that you’re sure you put on the invoice as they can simply find what they need themselves.
Also, who doesn’t love the feeling when you’ve finished an invoice and it is organised and appealing to the eye?
Making a nice format makes the dreaded invoice creation process so much more enjoyable!
As we know, organisation is key in business and without it, you will find yourself wasting your time and money going over invoices with clients.
Make sure you use subheadings and include all the information the client may need to make the process so much simpler for the both of you!
You may also want to include your business logo, so your client has a clear identifier regarding who the invoice is coming from.
Once you have selected an invoice, it is advised that you stick to it, but do update it every few years to keep your business fresh and modern.
Enter Your Company Information in your Invoice
Including all of the relevant information about your business is yet another way to maximise organisation and minimise reoccurring questions about the invoicing.
This is because those pesky clients that constantly use the “I don’t understand the invoice” excuse will not have an excuse to go off if you include all of the information they could ever ask you for!
Furthermore, be sure to include the relevant information regarding the personal details of the client. Information you may want to include on your invoice may be:
- Your full name
- Your business
- The department of your business (if applicable)
- The address of your business
- The contact number and email of your business
- Your client's name
- Your client’s company (if applicable)
- Client’s address
- Clients' contact number and email
When doing this, however, it is absolutely vital that you ensure that you are actively checking that you are sending the invoices out to the correct people.
This is because if you include information regarding the client’s name, phone number, current address, and amount of debt they owe to you and the wrong person receives this you are not only violating their privacy but negatively influencing their personal safety!
Decide and Promote the Terms of Invoice
This part of invoicing can be quite tricky, but it is time to select the terms of your invoice!
It is vital that you dedicate adequate time and thought to this process because once you decide on terms for a particular client, it is advised to keep those terms consistent.
This, of course, doesn’t apply if your client begins violating the terms of your agreement such as making late payments or ghosting your business altogether; in this case, it is suggested you at least have a conversation with your client!
The payment terms and due date should be stated clearly on the invoice and stand out from the other information supplied as it is the most important part of an invoice.
Some examples of payment terms that you may decide on are:
- Pay when received
- Due within 30 days
- Due within 60 days
- Due within 90 days
- Split payment (such as half due upon receiving and a half due at a later date)
Remind the Customer of Your Product or Service
All businesses rely on the production of a product or service to make money. Any business you can think of provides either a product or service to the client.
With all of those businesses out there, clients may forget what your business provides and, in turn, what they are paying you for! It is wise to include a concise summary of the product or service you provided to the client, just to give them a little refresher on why they are paying you.
This, again, avoids the wasted time of clients calling you to ask what exactly you did for them and why it costs what it does.
This is especially applicable if your product or service will arrive/take place after the payment or if it is particularly expensive.
Writing an Effective Invoice by Reviewing Your Invoice
Once you have completed your invoice to a standard you are happy with it's time to review.
Reviewing is quite boring and feels a little unnecessary but, in truth, it is an absolutely vital step in invoicing!
This is because accidentally sending out incorrect information will require lengthy calls with clients and time spent editing the invoice in the future when instead you could just take the time now to prevent the issue before it even occurs.
Furthermore, as aforementioned, sending another client's information to a different client could be detrimental to your business and result in a lawsuit, tarnishing the reputation of your business and losing you a lot of money.
Your business reputation and the client’s ability to take you seriously will also be damaged by silly mistakes such as grammar or spelling issues.
So next time you’ve finished an invoice make sure you take the time to check it; it may be more important than you think!
If you need to collect a business debt then we can help you
Advance debt collection is an Australia-wide commercial debt collection agency and credit and accounts receivable management. We can recovery your debts, conduct skip tracing, and manage your accounts receivable. We collect your debts for commission only. This means no collection, no commission. We are professional debt collectors with combined 20 years of experience to help you collect your debts. We are partnered with expert litigation lawyers with years of experience in debt recovery, enforcement, and insolvency. Under the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 Advance Debt Collection Pty Ltd hold authority number 4583821 to act as a debt collector. ADC Advance Debt Collection® is a registered trademark.