An invoice is more than just a receipt with a total at the bottom. It is a professional document that signifies the completion of a project or sales transaction. It is also the last impression you make on a client, so it is crucial that it is an accurate reflection of your company’s brand and high standards.
The art and science behind creating a modern invoice is based on the expectation of today’s consumers. Besides having a defined and consistent style, there are also certain fundamentals that every modern invoice should include. Double check your own invoices against this list to make sure that your clients are able to find all the answers they need on your invoices.
Every invoice should be dated the day it is issued. This will make it easier to keep track of the due date and it will provide proof of when it was sent. If you use a client billing app, the date will be automatically generated and the app will keep a record of when the invoices was emailed to the client.
Make sure to number each invoice in the order they are issued. This will make it easier for referencing later on. It will also give you milestones to celebrate like your 100th or 1000th invoice.
The description you use on an invoice needs to explain to both you and your client exactly what each charge entails. You may need to refer back to the invoice months or years down the road and it will be important that you can recall the product or service that you were invoicing based solely on the description.
Breakdown of All Charges
Your clients will expect to see line items for each unique charge, so they can match up each product or service with its corresponding price, especially if there are charges on the invoice for both products and services.
Bold Invoice Total
Once each charge is broken down and the taxes are added in, there should be a bolder or larger invoice total that stands out compared to the rest of the figures. It is usually found in the bottom right hand corner of the invoice.
Terms and Due Date
You should always include the agreed upon terms and due date directly underneath or next to the invoice total. This will make it easier for your client to reference the amount that is due and when they need to pay it.
There should be a line on every invoice thanking your client for their loyalty. All it takes is a simple statement saying “we appreciate your business,” to make a client feel like your company cares.
Professional Organized Appearance
Make sure to double check your invoice before you send it, so there are no spelling or calculation errors. You can reduce your chances of making errors by using a client billing app, since they provide you with auto-fill-in options and automatic calculations. You should also make sure the invoice is well-organized and that it reflects your brand image.
Good Luck and Happy Invoicing!
It is shocking to learn how many businesses are still manually creating their invoices and using outdated invoicing software programs. There are so many more efficient ways to generate invoices and keep tracking of your company’s financial information. In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to invest in better technology like online billing to save their company valuable time and money.
These are the 10 Advantages of Billing Clients Online:
1. Online Billing Offers Mobility
Billing clients online gives users unparalleled convenience and accessibility. It allows you to create an invoice at anytime from anywhere with Wi-Fi access. You can email an invoice the moment a job is complete using a mobile device or a home computer. You can also access valuable online invoicing reports while traveling, so you always have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips.
2. Invoice Calculations are Done Automatically
There is no need to second guess totals when an automated computer program is doing the calculations as each figure is entered into the system. This will save you from manual calculation and entry, which will also reduce the chance of potential errors.
3. Invoices always look professional and consistent
Every quote, invoice, and letter is a representation of your business. Billing clients online using predetermined templates will make everything that everything looks uniformed and well-organized.
4. Invoices can be emailed directly to the client
Another benefit of online billing is that there is no waiting for invoices to arrive via traditional snail mail. This will put invoices in the client’s hands sooner, so any issues or concerns can be quickly answered without delaying payment.
5. Save money on paper, envelope, and stamps
Most companies who don’t bill clients online will end up printing various copies of each invoice for their files, as well as sending their client a copy in the mail. Billing clients online securely stores the information from each invoice online, so there is never a need to print a copy. You also won’t need to purchase stamps and envelopes.
6. You can request a read receipt, so you know it has been read
Billing clients online eliminates the old excuse that the invoice must have been “lost in the mail.” Most online billing software programs will automatically request a read receipt, so the client will need to confirm that they have it in their hands.
7. Send client automatic reminder notices before invoices are due
Online billing also gives you the ability to email clients professional reminder notices prior to an invoice being due. These gentle reminders will improve a company’s chance of being paid on time.
8. Instantly updates all of your financial reports as soon as the invoice is generated
Every time a payable or receivable is entered, every corresponding financial report is automatically updated. This will ensure that all reports are current and as accurate as possible whenever they are needed.
9. Manage client contact information and billing from the same location
Billing clients online combines the contact details, purchasing history, credit balance, and payment terms for every customer in one central location. Project managers and sales professionals can access any information they need from anywhere with the click of a mouse.
10. Check outstanding receivables from anywhere at any time
If you are considering making a new purchase or possibly extending additional credit to a client, online billing will give you an updated receivable report on your PC or mobile device. This will make it easier to make informed decisions for your business no matter where you are physically.
Most small businesses cannot afford to hire a professional accountant or even a bookkeeper, but that doesn’t mean they can just ignore their finances. Records still need to be kept, reports still need to be reviewed, and cash flow still needs to be monitored. It doesn’t need to be a difficult process, but it needs to be done on a regular basis.
Here is some sound accounting advice for small business owners:
Use client invoicing software
You can make all of these things easier by taking advantage of client invoicing program. It will make it easier to update your records, it will save all the details of your transactions, and it will quickly generate the important financial reports that you need to review. Client invoicing software is a convenient and efficient way to manage all of your accounting, especially if you are trying to manage it on your own.
Work on techniques that will help you manage your cash flow
One simple technique is working with your suppliers to ensure that everything is not due at the same time. Many companies will request that monthly expenses are paid on the first of the month, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be paid earlier. Spread them out over the course of the month, so there is never a sizeable lump sum due at the same time. You can also work with your clients to ensure early or timely payments by offering incentives or sending reminder notices. Make sure that the money you are owned is coming in as quickly as it can, so you don’t have negative dips in your cash flow.
Set aside an hour each week to update your records
If you don’t have a bookkeeper or accountant updating your records, you will need to make sure they are still be updated at least weekly. Don’t grab a shoebox or a file folder and start stuffing it full of all of your receipts with a promise that you will enter them into your accounting program at the end of the month. The bigger the stack of bills becomes, the less likely you will want to deal with them. By spending only one hour each week, you should be able to enter all of your expenses and income into the program, so the stack never accumulates.
Use adequate details
Whether you are describing an item on an invoice or filling in a deposit slip, make sure that you include all relevant details. If you write “cash deposit” on every slip, you won’t know the origin of the cash if the question arises later on. Just in case you need to refer back to something after weeks or months have gone by, it is necessary that you have a clear and complete description.
Create a schedule for reviewing your financial reports
There are certain reports that you should be reviewing weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Using an online or physical calendar, assign a specific day to each of these reports. For example, you could review your cash flow statement every Monday, your financial statement on the first Friday of every month, and your income statement the last Wednesday of each quarter. You can review them more often that your schedule specifies, but having a set schedule will ensure that you are at least reviewing them regularly.
It is strange to think that a word that was formerly reserved for a spider’s method of trapping food, now symbolizes speed, convenience, efficiency, and instant worldwide accessibility. Anytime the word “web” appears in front of a professional service, you can be almost certain it is an online program that was designed to improve upon a traditional business practice.
Web-based is More Affordable
There is now web-based project management, web-based marketing, web-based file sharing, and web-based IT programming, all available to businesses at a fraction of the typical cost for these services. Countless web-based applications are overtaking the business world, and invoicing is no exception. It is fast, efficient, and highly affordable. Some providers even off free basic packages to help you get started.
Web-based Invoicing Offers Simple & Fast Templates
Web-based invoicing software provides you with professional and organized templates that can be easily filled in to create quote, invoices, and even reminder notices. Users enter in their client’s contact information, payment terms, and product details when they first register, and it is securely stored online for future use. There is usually a variety of templates to choose from, so you can select one that truly matches your company’s image.
Web-based Invoicing Offers Automatic Formatting & Calculations
When it comes time to generate an invoice, all they need to do is select who is getting the invoice and what they are purchasing. Everything else is done for you, so you don’t need to play around with margins or use a calculator to figure out the total amount owing. The web-based invoicing software formats the details in an easy-to-read manner, calculates the total, and automatically uses the information on the invoice to update financial statements.
Web-based Invoicing Tracks all Your Finances
What most people don’t realize is that web-based invoicing is more than just a program used for producing professional invoices. In most cases, it is also a full-service online bookkeeping service that can track all of the fundamental aspects of your accounting. If payable and receivables are entered regularly, it will produce accurate income statements. If you advise the software when a payment is made, it will create current account payables and receivables lists based on the receipts that have been entered into the software.
Web-based Means it is Always Accessible
Some web-based invoicing programs can even track inventory, payroll information, and client management needs. Whatever information is entered into the software is kept online, so it can be accessed from anywhere that has internet service. This means you can login to view your receivables or financial reports from any computer, laptop, or smart phone
Web-based invoicing is affordable, offers time-saving templates, handles the formatting and calculations for you, tracks all of your finances, and it is accessible from anywhere. That is why web-based invoicing is the way to go!
An invoice is sometimes the last contact you will have with a client after you have finished a sales transaction. A company’s invoice should be detailed, easy to understand, and professional. One great method for ensuring your invoice is an accurate reflection of your business is using an online invoice provider with expert looking invoicing templates and easy to use forms.
Here are 10 Terrific Tips for online invoicing:
Use clear and precise details.
Every line on an invoice should be straightforward and easy to read. Use brief descriptions as headed and then breakdown the details underneath each charge. Try not to use overcomplicated terms that your client may not understand.
Breakdown all costs involved.
It is best to use the same structure as any quotes or pricing guides that have been previously given to the client. One lump sum will look overwhelming. Breaking it down into smaller pieces assigned to specific services make the total amount seem more justified.
Give each invoice an invoice number.
Having an invoice with a unique invoice number is essential for easy referencing. This will help both you and the client keep track of what has been paid and what is still outstanding.
Create itemized lists of products and services
If you are using electronic invoicing, you can enter all of the details for possible charges in advance. This way you can simply select a service and everything else will fill in automatically.
Clearly outline terms on quotes and invoices
Make sure that payment terms are always in a visible location on initial quotes and final invoices. This should include a due date, as well as an incentive for early payment (if applicable).
Include a section with various payment methods.
An invoice should never leave a customer question what to do. If you are using electronic invoicing and you can accept payment online that should be mentioned on the invoice.
Invoices should always look consistent
Every form a company uses is a representation of their business. If you are using the same uniformed template for all of your forms, it will ensure your company is giving its clients a professional image.
Email the invoice directly to the client
One great benefit to electronic invoicing is the ability to send the invoice immediately to the client’s inbox and then receive a read receipt once it is opened. This will save time and reduce paper costs.
Send a reminder notice before the invoice is due
Another good practice for online invoicing is sending a professional notice prior to the invoices due date. This will gentle remind the client of the debt and ensure timely payment.
Thank each client for prompt payment
The last and most forgotten step in online invoicing is taking the time to thank the client for their patronage and payment. This will stick in a client’s mind and hopefully make them return again in the future. Most online invoicing providers will offer an automatic thank you notice, so you won’t need to worry about forgetting to send one.
Invoicing is a fundamental aspect of every business. It is also the last impression a company gives to a client or customers once a sale is complete. Ensuring that your invoice is clear and professional is worth the little bit of effort it takes to do it right. If you are not sure what a good invoice should look like, take a discerning look at your current bills from reputable businesses.
What do they all have in common?
In most cases, the first thing you will notice is that it is easy to follow and well-organized. All the charges are usually lined up on the left side, with the corresponding charges on the right side. The total owing is usually highlighted in some manner with a due date either directly above or below it. This is what your customers are expecting to see when they receive an invoice from you.
Here are a few essential components that should be a part of every invoice:
1. Use an invoice number – You can start with 000001 and work your way up to 999999. You may not end up needing close to a million invoices, but it will make it easier to reference each one as your business grows. It will also be rewarding when you hit milestone likes your hundredth or thousandth invoice.
2. Breakdown all charges – It will be overwhelming for a client if you just have one big total for all services rendered. Make sure your invoice is broken down with the same figures as the initial estimate.
3. Use clear and concise descriptions – Don’t just put the name of the product or project and a price. Your clients will need details for future reference, so they know exactly what they have purchased.
4. Always date the invoice – This will be helpful for tracking your invoice and running weekly or monthly reports. If you are using an online billing program, the date should be automatically generated for you.
5. Include terms and due date – The agreed upon terms and due date should be located someone close to the final total. This will make it easier for your client to reference it when it comes time to write the check.
6. Email the invoice to the client – Save an envelope, save a stamp, and save the time by emailing it directly to your client. Most modern invoicing software has the ability to send the invoice straight to your client’s inbox the moment it is finished.
Creating a complete and professional invoice is as simple as these six steps and if you use an invoicing billing application, all of this won’t take much effort at all. That is the right way to invoice and the best last impression you can leave on a client.
A receivable cannot be used to help grow or sustain your business until it has been paid. Most reputable companies consistently pay on time; however there are some that just can’t seem to stay on top of it, regardless of their good intentions. This article will give you some powerful tips to help you turn your invoice into a payment quicker, so you can reinvest it back into your company.
Here are five simple steps to getting paid faster:
1. Create a detail estimate for your client to sign off on.
Make sure that there is an established quote with a clear breakdown of the charges that the client has approved, so there is no doubt about what is due. This same information should appear on the invoice, so they can see the details of each charge. If you used client billing software to create the estimate, you can quickly turn it into an invoice without having to re-enter the information.
2. Negotiate better terms upfront
You can always offer incentives for faster payment or negotiate interest for late payments in advance, to inspire clients to pay a little earlier. Most companies will appreciate a 1-5% discount for paying in 15 days versus the typical 30 days standard terms. There should also always be a note on the invoice that interest will be charged after a specific period of time. You do not need to ask for interest within the first 60 days, but after 60 days it is a reasonable request.
3. Send the invoice as soon as the project is complete
It only makes sense that the sooner the invoice is in the client’s hands, the sooner it can be paid. If you use client billing software, you can quickly generate the invoice and email it directly to the client. This software usually offers a read receipt, so you know the moment the client has reviewed it. Online client billing software is also more convenient, since you can create an invoice from anywhere with internet service.
4. Offer several payment methods
It is important that you offer your clients an added convenience by giving several different payment methods they can use. These choices should be indicated somewhere on the invoice close to the total amount owing. Some clients will still send the check in the mail (which always add to the wait time), but others may choose to use an online payment method like Paypal. Being able to offer fast payment options is one of the best ways to make sure you get paid sooner.
5. Send a professional reminder notice
Sometimes all it will take is a polite and well-written reminder to move your invoice to the top of the heap. Client billing software programs are usually setup to automatically send a reminder prior to the invoice being due. This should certainly improve the chances of getting paid on time.
All it takes is a clearly defined quote, favourable terms that were negotiated in advance, online billing software to send the invoice immediately to the client, a choice of convenient payment methods, and a professional reminder notice before it is due to ensure that you get paid faster.
The old basic billing and payment system not only took significant time to generate invoices, but due to traditional mailing methods, it also took a great deal of time before the invoice was in the hands of the client. A bookkeeper first needed to create a template in Microsoft Word that would require constant formatting and adjusting every time it was used. Next, they need to enter all of the information in regards to that specific bill, and then use a calculator to figure out the taxes and total. The invoice was then printed (usually several copies), folded, and mailed out. The client would receive the invoice several days later, manually write a cheque, stick it in an envelope and then mail it back.
Times have changed and you can now immediately email an invoice directly to the client and then receive payment the same day using a variety of quick online payment methods. Small businesses with tight margins whose survival depends on receiving payments quickly can especially benefit from the advantages of electronic invoicing and payment services.
Electronic invoicing was specifically designed to save small businesses time and money. Most online invoicing providers offer simple, ready-to-use templates that anyone can quickly update. Once a company has entered their contact information, payment terms, and item descriptions into the program, the information will be permanently stored and saved for future use. This eliminates time-consuming double entry, allowing business owners to generate professional invoices in a matter of minutes.
All the bookkeeper needs to do is select a client, choose which products or services they are purchasing, and the invoice will be automatically updated. It will calculate any taxes, the total amount, and even the due date. It can then be immediately emailed to the client and all corresponding financial reports produce by the invoicing software will be instantly updated with the new information.
Before the invoice is sent to the client, make sure there is a sentence or two indicating the various payment options. Cash and/or check might be excellent choices for you, but they are not always convenient for your client. Having electronic payment capabilities offers your customer’s choices like paying online or by phone using a credit card. There are a lot of different companies like E-pay or Pay Pal that have made electronic payment options more affordable and accessible for any business.
Electronic invoicing and electronic payments are not only simple and convenient choices, they also environmentally friendly ways to reduce costs. There is no need to print extra copies of an invoice, purchase envelopes, and then pay for stamps to send it by mail. By handling the transaction completely online, both companies will reduce their paper consumption and save money on postage.
Small businesses should be regularly looking for ways to save time, improve the payment experience for their clients, and cut costs in order to grow their business. Using an electronic invoicing and payment system can quickly achieve all three of these benefits for your small business.
Client billing is a fundamental component of every business. It is the reward for your hard work, as well as the last impression you leave with your client. Ensuring that your invoices are professional and complete is critical to your success, which is why this article has gathered the top ten best billing practices in a simple-to-use guide.
Top Ten Best Practices for Client Billing:
1. Always include a date on your invoice
It seems pretty straightforward, but many businesses that manual create invoices using Microsoft Word forget to date their invoices. If you use a client billing software or bookkeeping program, the date should be generated automatically.
2. Always address the person, not the company directly
The address field for an invoice will contain the company name and mailing details, but the invoice itself should directly address the name of the person who approved the purchased. This way the invoice will go to the person that can quickly confirm the charges and approve it for payment.
3. Always use a reference or invoice number
An invoice number is beneficial for tracking invoices, as well tracking your business’s progress. By starting at invoice number one and working your way up, you can celebrate milestones along the way. Invoice numbers will also make it easier to reference which invoices are being paid by a client who has received more than one bill.
4. Always breakdown each charge with a clear description
Your clients should always be able to see exactly what they are buying and how much each aspect of it costs. They may need to reference this information later on and there shouldn’t be any doubt about what they purchased when the review the invoice.
5. Always include the due date and terms by the invoice total
It is your responsibility to provide your client with an easy-to-follow invoice that clearly shows them the amount they need to pay and the day it is due. Keeping those details close together in a clearly defined area (usually the bottom, right hand corner) will give your client a quick reference point when it comes time to pay the bill.
6. Always include information about payment options near the total amount owing
Under the invoice total there should be a sentence or two explaining the various payment methods that are accepted. If you give your client’s online or telephone payment options, it could speed up the payment process.
7. Always include a line similar to “we appreciate your business” on the invoice
Manners count in business. It is usually the simplest things that a business does to show their clients they are appreciated that the clients remember when it comes time to make another purchase.
8. Always email it to the client and request a read receipt
Eliminate the wait time and uncertainty of traditional mail by sending it directly to your client’s inbox and requesting a read receipt once it has been opened. Most client billing software programs have this capability.
9. Always follow-up with a professional reminder notice before it is due
There is nothing wrong with sending a professional and friendly reminder that an invoice is almost due. Your clients are just as busy as you and a reminder might move your invoice to an earlier check run.
10. Always send a thank you note once payment is received
This is the very last chance for you to make a positive and lasting impression on your client. You should thank them for their timely payment, reinforce your previous statement of appreciating their business, and tell them you will be there if they have any further questions or concerns. This polite final touch will remind them of your commitment to customer satisfaction, which will hopefully stick in their minds when it comes time to re-buy.
There are so many benefits when it comes to trading in your old accounting software for free online invoicing. The old program was strictly tied to one desktop on one stationary computer that needed to be back up with both electronic copies and hard copies. It took time to sort through all the information to find what you needed when it really mattered.
Everything neatly organized in one place that can be accessible from anywhere!
Handling your invoicing online is so much more flexible and convenient. It is accessible from any computer with internet service. It will also be immediately updated the moment a new invoice is entered, so you can trust you are always viewing the most current data.
Helps the environment by making printing optional
Free online invoicing is also faster, more cost efficient, plus it reduces paper costs. Even more modern accounting software developed within the last decade still requires that you print several copies of every invoice you enter. You would need at least one for your records (usually two), plus a copy that would be mailed to the client. Online invoicing eliminates the need for these copies. You don’t even need to print copies of essential monthly and quarterly reports, since they can be easily referenced using the computer screen.
Free online invoicing allows you to manage your finances directly from any computer that is hooked up to the internet, so the need for printing hardcopies is completely optional. Invoices can be entered into the system and then emailed in minutes without ever having to hit print. They also usually have the ability to send reminder notices or thank you notices directly to the client’s inbox, furthering reducing the need for paper copies.
Saves time since everything is quick and convenient
These invoicing programs also save all of your information online, so any invoice or report can be instantly accessed whenever it is needed. You won’t even need to keep physical copies in your files, since you can quickly reference the electronic copies using your computer screen. This is one of the reason it is such a convenient and environmental friendly way to manage your finances.
These free invoicing billing software programs also save you time since the entry process only involves selecting from toolbars and entering prices. Once the initial setup is done (entering client/vendor information and product details), all you need to do is selecting their name and enter the prices. All of the formatting and calculations will be done automatically.
If you choose to go with the free basic package, you are also saving money since you won’t have to pay a bookkeeper to manage your finances. Doing the entry yourself won’t take a significant amount of time and then you will only need to budget for an accountant at tax time.
Free online invoicing is a great way to give your business a competitive advantage in today’s tough economy. It will help you save time, money, and even the environment. Those are three things your company should be striving to do anyways.