10-step invoice checklist to help you get paid faster
Invoicing is a vital part of running a business. Without accurate and timely invoicing your cashflow will suffer. Here’s a handy checklist from our friends at Xero, to help you do it right.
- Agree payment dates and amounts with your customers in advance
A written statement of work is a good way to ensure there are no misunderstandings. You can provide estimates or quotations in advance for the goods or services you provide.
- Invoice for everything
Be thorough and invoice for all your costs. Don’t let anything fall through the gaps. When you’re busy it can be so easy to forget to include the little things, but these can soon add up, so make a note of everything you do as you go along.
- Ensure your invoices are complete and itemised
If you want your invoices to be paid on time, you need more than just your company name and the total amount due. Be comprehensive and include all the necessary details, such as:
- Your business contact information, including name, address, email, and phone number
- Legally required information, like tax numbers or company number
- Your customer’s name and contact information. Make sure you address it to the correct person in their business
- An itemised list of the services or goods provided and the prices for each. Use clear descriptions so there are no misunderstandings
- The quantity of each service or item purchased, then a column of sub-totals
- The date of the invoice
- A unique invoice number
- Your client’s purchase order or sales order number (if they’ve supplied one)
- If you are invoicing a foreign company, indicate which currency you want to be paid in
- Your bank details for direct deposits. This needs to include your bank’s name and address, account number, and other codes
- Any other methods of payment you offer, like PayPal or credit cards. Be sure to account for transaction fees, so you don’t lose out
- Your payment terms, such as 14 days from date of invoice. Make sure you include the date due as well. People typically pay two weeks later than required by the payment terms, so make the term shorter to compensate
- A request that direct payments include references, like your invoice number. Then you’ll know who has paid
- Use a good design and add your company logo for branding
Spend some time finding a professional-looking invoice template that shows your business at its best. Choose accounting software with customisable invoice templates to help you do this easily.
- Send your invoices as soon as the work has been completed
For healthy cashflow, invoice as soon as you can. Every day you wait means another day before you get paid. If you’re on a retainer, it’s a good idea to invoice on the last Monday of the month.
- Remind your customers that payment is due
Focus on the importance of reminding your customers but tread carefully. Automated reminders are often ignored, however a human touch can make a difference and improve relationships.
- Talk to late payers politely, but be prepared to act decisively
Cashflow is the lifeline of your business, so if reminders have been ignored, pick up the phone and talk to your client in a friendly and constructive way. If they persistently fail to pay on time, you might need to reconsider them as clients.
- Build invoicing into your business workflow
Consider using applications to improve your invoicing. There are more benefits to online invoicing software than simply issuing invoices. It can tie in with project management tools, inventory solutions and POS (point of sale) software. All of this helps you improve your workflow and helps you get paid faster.
- Keep your invoices and other financial data safe using online applications
Cloud or online accounting software stores your data securely on remote servers. This keeps your invoices and other financial information safe from loss. It also helps protect your business against fire, flooding, earthquakes and other disasters.
- Consider outsourcing invoice management to your bookkeeper or accountant
If you don’t have time to manage invoicing yourself, outsourcing can be a good option. With online accounting software, you can give secure selective access to your bookkeeper or accountant. Plus, you can still see every transaction at a glance.
With these invoicing tips for small businesses, you’re on your way to getting it right. Your cashflow will be much healthier as a result.
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