Creating invoices is an essential part of any business – without raising an invoice and sending it to your customer, you aren’t going to be paid. The discipline of regularly raising invoices also allows you to keep a handle on your projected income over the terms you normally place on your invoices. Writing invoices is not most people’s idea of the best use of their time, so it’s recommended you set aside a fixed period, e.g. a couple of hours on a Monday evening, to sit down and write out your invoices before either posting or emailing them.

Once you have established a procedure, writing invoices is simple and won’t take much of your time. On any invoice there are certain fields that must be included for legal purposes as well as to fully explain to your customer who the invoice is from, how much the invoice is for and how to make payment and by which date payment is due.

The basic invoice requirements are as follows:-

1. Business name
2. Business address
3. Your telephone number and email address
4. Company number if you are a limited company
5. VAT registration number (if VAT registered)
6. A unique invoice number.

All of your invoices should have a unique number. Some companies like to restart invoice numbers from 1 at the beginning of a new financial year. If you restart invoice numbering in this way, include the year in the number as a prefix, so that your invoices all have a completely unique identifier. It is also quite common to add a prefix to the number to show which client the invoice is for.

Further fields that should always be included on an invoice are:-

1. The invoice date, i.e. the date the invoice was raised.
2. The due date, i.e. the date by which you expect payment to be made. This can be expressed in the form of a payment term, e.g. 30 or 60 days from the date of the invoice. It is also common to express the payment term as the number of days past the end of the month in which the invoice date falls. This form of term is useful since it allows your custom to process all your invoices and payments on a fixed day per month rather than having to deal with invoices due on different dates scattered throughout the calendar.
3. The name of the customer
4. The customer address

Of course, the most important elements to include on the invoice are a set of line items. The line items details the products, good or services you are charging for on the invoice. For each line item include:-

1. A description.
2. The gross amount due
3. The VAT due (if you are registered).
4. The invoice should also include subtotals for VAT and an overall total amount due.

Once you have included all these items on your invoice, all that is left to do is either print and post or email the invoice to the client.

For an efficent way to raise invoices with a range of professional invoice templates, please visit us for information on which fields to include on an invoice as well as software tool recommendations

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