Even if you’ve been sending invoices out for years as a well-established business, it’s worth doing a little refresher to make sure you are including all the right information. Whether you’re a billing veteran or you’re about to write your very first invoice, we’re here to give you a quick step-by-step on what to include on every document.
Before we dive into the various sections your invoice needs, remember to always label your invoice documents as invoices. Aside from being a recommendation from gov.uk, it’s always a good idea to label your documents. And to make sure your customer is expecting an invoice before you send it, too!
This one may seem obvious, but it’s easily forgotten when you’re focused on getting the monetary amounts correct later on. Include your company’s name and logo on your invoice to make sure these documents are fully personalised and look suitably professional.
Contact details for you and your customer
This includes the company’s name, business address, and the phone and/or email of the person for whom the invoice is intended. Don’t forget to write your own number and email on your invoice too, just in case your customer needs to get in touch with a query.
If you’re a limited company and you put the names of your directors on the invoice, you must include all directors’ names.
An invoice number
To help you keep track of the invoices you send out, having a numbering system is essential. If a dispute of any kind crops up, you should be able to easily identify what invoice has been sent and to where thanks to your invoice numbers. There is no set ‘right’ way to create a numbering system – it can be any string of letters and numbers that you like, as long as you know what sequence you’re following.
You could go sequentially with a code such as INV0001, INV0002 etc. or create a specific customer code that changes per customer, e.g. TOUCH0001, SFPGR0001.
To really keep it simple, you can just use the date: 01-2020-0001 for the first invoice you sent in January 2020, for example. In this vein, 02-2020-0003 would be the third you sent in February 2020 and so on. It really is up to you how you do it, but you’ll need to be consistent and also make sure your system has been communicated to the rest of your team so there’s no room for error.
This is another super important element that needs to be on every invoice, without fail. As well as dating your invoice on the day you’re issuing, you’ve also got to include the date the payment is due by. It’s a good idea to make the due date as prominent and readable as possible, perhaps by placing it in bold.
As well as including the payment date as above, it’s also useful to include information on how the payment ought to be made when it comes due. Whether you would prefer payment via a BACS transfer, credit card payment, or even a cheque, add this in writing so there’s no confusion.
Breakdown of job and costs
This will make up the bulk of your invoice body. Detail the job or service you’ve provided, how much each aspect cost, and collate every item into a sub total. If necessary, write on extra costs or any discounts as applicable.
Ensure the description of the work is as detailed as possible so that there isn’t any confusion or dispute down the line from your customer as to what they’re paying for. This includes filling in the quantities and individual totals.
As well as all the above, there are a few extra things you’ll need to write on your invoices, depending on whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company. Sole traders must include their full name and any business name that is in use, and an address where you will be able to receive any legal documents under your business name. Limited companies must include the full company name how it appears on the certificate of incorporation.
If you and your customer are VAT registered, according to gov.uk you must use VAT invoices, which include more information than general invoices.
As a business that invoices customers for payment, you are in a good position to consider financing those invoices. Rather than waiting out the full payment terms, why not arrange to receive a majority of the amount in advance once you enter into a financing facility? We’re a specialist invoice finance broker, so talk to us if you’d like to explore this option for your business.
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