Invoicing is a crucial consideration when running a business. After all, if you aren’t getting paid, the business won’t last long. Being consistent with invoicing and using strategic incentives for payment are just a few ways businesses can improve the payment process. A professional invoice template is very important for it.
Believe it or not, how an invoice looks also plays a crucial role in getting things paid on time. Both new and established businesses often fail to produce professional looking invoices. What does a professional invoice template look like? Let’s find out.
Professional Invoice Templates Look
Lots of White Space
If you take a look at invoice templates (view one at Invoice Templates by FreshBooks), you’ll notice that there is a lot of white space on a professional looking invoice. The reasoning behind this is to make the writing more succinct and easier to read. Your customers are more likely to pay attention to the bill you hand them if they perceive it as easy to process, rather than something they’ll have to look closely at. That’s why many organizations use full page invoices as opposed to smaller slips, even when there aren’t many line items listed.
Your payment terms give details about when you expect to receive payment. Ideally, this is something you have covered with the customer before making the sale. In many cases, invoices are due upon receipt. However, if you are a company that supplies products on a recurring basis to other organizations, you may have longer terms set up for convenience.
In conjunction with a clearly visible due date and invoice date, customers will know exactly when they are expected to pay based on the agreements made. You may also wish to include any penalties for late payment in this area, as well as the transfer of ownership legalities.
What Did You Sell?
If you send an invoice to someone without outlining what they’re expected to pay for, they may be hesitant to pay for it. On your invoice, you should clearly define what the invoice covers. It doesn’t need to go into great detail unless your client comes back and asks for more information, which is common with service-based industries.
Your invoice should have a brief description of the product or service being paid for, and if relevant, a brief explanation of how the fee came to be. If you are selling items in quantity, you may have a quantity line outlining how many pieces of a product were purchased. If you are a consultant, you may outline how many hours you are charging your customer for. Additionally, include the subtotals and total, so they know what to pay.
Not only should your invoice outline your company name, it should also identify the customer, whether that’s another company or a person. The purchaser should be identified so that they can confirm that the invoice does indeed relate to them. Furthermore, it will streamline processes within the organization during tax season and if any errors or complaints occur.
It’s important to list your company name on the invoice as well, so the customer knows who they’re paying. Many organizations take a modern approach and put their non-descriptive logo without the business name. This can result in slow pays by those who don’t know who is sending them a bill or if a client doesn’t know who they can make a check out to, which leads us to the next component.
Define How to Pay
You need to make it as easy to pay as possible. To do so, you should tell your customers exactly how they can pay their invoice. This is often listed in an area that says “invoice payable by:” and outlines the various methods. If they can pay by check, provide mailing details and who the check should be made payable to. If they can pay online or via phone by credit card, provide the website or telephone number.
The easier you make it for your clients to pay their bills, the more likely you are to receive payment in a prompt manner. By creating a professional looking, clean invoice, you establish yourself as an organized, authoritative business.