How to Create the Perfect Invoice

September 21, 2022

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you were to receive one of your company’s invoices, what would you think?

Does its design reflect the professionalism of your business? Is it in a simple, easy-to-understand format while exuding the gravitas of an official document that clients will quickly respond to? Does it accurately portray your brand, whether you’re a jewellery designer, a marketing agency or a finance firm?

The Credit Research Foundation reported that 61% of late payments are because of incorrect or unclear invoices.  So, if your invoices aren’t hitting the mark and you want your invoices to look great and promote faster payments, read on. 

Step One – Creating an Invoice Template

You can easily find online tools by doing a quick ‘invoice template’ search. If your organisation uses Microsoft Office, you’ll find simple templates ready and waiting within both Word and Excel that are easily adaptable, using your own branding.

Most online invoice templates should already have the word ‘Invoice’ clearly visible. But if it doesn’t, or if you’ve decided to create your own template from scratch, do make sure you use the word Invoice as a heading so that there’s no room for doubt. And, therefore, no excuse for non-payment!

These templates are ideal for start-ups and small businesses. But as you grow, they can become unwieldy and difficult to manage. That’s when your accounting system may be safer within a dedicated invoicing software process like Paycada, which significantly reduces opportunities for errors. 

Step Two – First Impressions Count 

The appearance of your invoices – indeed, any of your documents – reflects your organisation’s persona. So consider your invoices as opportunities to promote your brand.

On the header, include your logo and branding colours by your company name, address and contact details. Already have a branded letterheading template? Then use the same design. You may need to shift the header details up to provide space for all the invoice elements – see below. 

Keep the design clear and simple with plenty of white space, helping your invoices to be easy to read and understand. This also helps them to look professional. Simplicity is key!

The Essential Elements

Here’s a list of elements to include in your invoice template: 

  • Invoice date 
  • Unique invoice number – use a simple numbering system, perhaps starting from 1000. Whatever system you use, be careful to ensure it’s always sequential
  • Customer contact details and address. Include the contact’s name to save time in case you need to chase for payment
  • Order number if relevant to your company
  • Invoice details – a short but clear summary of the goods or services provided, including quantities or hours, with a subtotal in the ‘totals’ column
  • Total cost of goods at the end of the ‘totals’ column
  • Discounts – subtract if applicable 
  • Tax at 20% – include if you’re VAT registered (if you’re outside the UK, check your country’s tax process)
  • Total Amount Payable shown at the bottom of the ‘totals’ column in bold to make the amount owed obvious 
  • Payment Terms – clearly state what your payment terms are, such as within 15, 30 or however many days to suit your business needs
  • Late Fee – if you charge a late fee, include that here too
  • Payment methods accepted – clearly state your bank details to help prevent delays
  • Company Reg Number – if you’re a registered company, include your number in the footer 
  • Notes – not essential, but a note area offers a chance to thank customers for their business

Now all you need to do is ensure that your invoices get paid. But it’s not always easy. 

Making time to chase for payments prevents you from working on client projects or business development. You or your accounts team can end up feeling frazzled and under pressure, frustrated that you can’t get on with other urgent tasks.

There is an easier way. Paycada takes away the frustrations of chasing payments, giving you back your time and energy to get on with more valuable tasks.

That’s because our online invoicing software significantly improves accuracy, reinforces your positive branding message, and ensures payments are made, doing the chasing for you when needed. 

So, take the simple solution that saves precious time and improves your cashflow!

Get in touch to discuss how our systems will help your business. 

Paycada Experts

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