You’ve never done it before. It sounds easy but you’re a little bit nervous about doing something wrong. Fear not first-timers – here’s everything you need to know about producing an invoice...
Remember to put the word ‘Invoice’ at the top. Sounds obvious but in your enthusiasm to include all the right information sometimes it can be the one teeny-tiny obvious thing you forget. And while you’re at it, make that word big. You don’t want it going unnoticed now, do you?
Don’t get carried away with a fancily designed invoice. Sure, include your logo – a bit of personalisation shows you mean business – but leave it at that. You want your invoice to be clean, clear and uncluttered so the key details can be easily viewed. If you need inspiration, check out invoice templates on line.
Your invoice should include your company name, business address, email address and mobile and landline numbers. The more contact details the recipient has for you, the easier they can get hold of you if they have any queries. For limited companies, it’s a legal requirement to state where in the UK your company is registered as well as your trading name.
Don’t leave the customer out – their company name and address should be included on the invoice along with the name of the person who placed the order and their job title.
It’s another one of those little things that might slip your mind but is pretty crucial if you want to get paid on time. So remember to add the date that the order was placed – and the date of the invoice, if it’s different.
Clearly show the services or goods you’re invoicing for plus the total amount due. Where there are several items, show a breakdown of each of them. Detail any discounts too. And on the subject of numbers – you didn’t forget to include an invoice number, did you? Ah, well pop it somewhere near the top now, then.
Your invoice must include your VAT registration number. You’ll then need to list each item along with quantity, unit, unit price, VAT rate, VAT charged and total. Or, if it’s the same VAT on all the items, you’re good to go with an overall amount and rate.
Cheques are so last century. If you want to get paid direct, furnish your invoice with all your bank details (you know the drill – account name, number and sort code). And you might want to double, or triple, check those details before sending. Just in case.
The best part about producing an invoice? Getting paid of course. Make sure it’s sooner rather than later by getting your invoice into the right hands – they’re the ones attached to the person who’s actually making the payment... not necessarily the person you’ve invoiced. Clearly set out your payment terms – and don’t hang about when it comes to chasing overdue payments.
* Need help with any aspect of your start up business accounts? Call us on 0845 308 1454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org