In this article, you’ll learn:
- What every invoice must include
- How to issue invoices from anywhere, fast
- The most efficient way to manage invoicing
Invoicing. You’ve heard it discussed and are familiar with the process. You’ve likely sent invoices of your own and received invoices from suppliers requesting payment.
They’re an unavoidable part of doing business and a crucial document in the sales process. An invoice provides both you and your buyer with a binding legal agreement that a payment will be made for products or a service provided.
Invoicing can be a time-consuming process and yet, it doesn’t have to be. The introduction of online invoice software made it possible to create invoices faster than ever before, with the additional benefit of making it easy to keep invoices organised all in one place.
What should always be on an invoice
Because invoices are considered legally binding, each completed invoice must include specific information. The required details can vary by country regulations, but in the UK all invoices must clearly state the following:
- A unique, sequential invoice number
- The name and contact details of your business
- Your customer’s name and contact information
- The date the invoice is issued
- A description of the products or service
- The price of each product or service
- The VAT (if applicable)
- The total
By including this information on your invoice, it will be considered a legal fiscal document. But an invoice is more than just a sales agreement. It’s a point of communication between you and your customer.
An invoice can be an additional means to make your brand, your business more memorable to your customer and open opportunities for future sales and word-of-mouth. That’s why it is generally a good idea to also include your logo and some kind of customisation of your invoice design.
If you think about the invoices you receive, many look exactly the same. But here and there, a few stand out from the crowd and it’s guaranteed that these are the ones you’ll remember.
Faster, more mobile invoicing
It’s no longer necessary to carry around an invoice template paper pad and pen, it’s not even necessary to be sitting at a computer to create and manage your invoices. Mobile apps and technology have provided the tools to invoice from anywhere.
Smartphone apps allow you to issue an invoice while on your way to a meeting, or even on the spot after you have completed a job.
Mobile invoicing options mean that you never have to worry about remembering to get to your invoices later that day, and prevents the possibility of invoices piling up to the point where you have to take care of many all at once.
After all, the faster you issue an invoice, the sooner you’ll get paid.
Automation in invoicing software has significantly decreased the amount of time needed to issue an invoice. By adding the option to save details on customers and products, all that is required to add these details to your invoice is a click (or tap in the mobile app)!
Keeping track of invoices
Once your invoice numbers start climbing, you might find it becoming more difficult to stay on top of the status of each invoice without a very thorough filing system. Even working with invoice created from Word or Excel templates require different folders and you remembering to move them each time a status changes.
Each invoice goes through a series of activities: draft, completed, sent, viewed, unpaid, paid, and sometimes: overdue. Sorting your invoices into the correct folders depending on where each invoice stands in the process.
How is it possible to know whether an invoice has been viewed? You might be thinking that the only way is if you hand the invoice over yourself and watch your customer read it. However, if you send invoices online, good invoicing software tracks the email and notifies you when it’s been opened.
Invoicing software also automatically updates the status of your invoices, allowing you to effortlessly sort and track which invoice still needs to be sent, which needs a follow-up and more.
The invoicing process can also include more than just the completed invoice. Often, sales start with a quotation or a proforma invoice and delivery note. Sometimes, an invoice needs to be amended or cancelled and this involves a credit note. With invoicing software, all steps and documents that could be required in the sales process are just as easy to create as your invoice.
Your invoice must include a certain set of information in order to be considered a legal document, but this process need not be tedious or time-consuming. Invoicing software allows you to create invoices quickly and manage your invoices both while on the road or at your home or office.