64% of invoices are paid late according to recent research by Xero, a problem that significantly impacts SMEs’ financial health. Slow payment means a higher amount of aged debt, poor cashflow, lack of investment and the worry of managing it all.
Having clear invoice templates is crucial if you want to improve your cash management and credit control. The way you interact with clients throughout the sales process is crucial and even small things can make it more likely for them to pay you promptly. We’ve provided a set of downloadable invoice templates that you can customise and send to clients. Read on for our top tips on invoicing clients.
What do you need to include?
While invoices can vary slightly, there are some things you should make sure to include to make it as simple and easy as possible for you customer to pay you promptly.
- First and foremost, make sure your contact details are immediately and obviously visible. Provide the buyer with all your business contact information including a point of contact, phone number and email address. If you are a limited company, include your registered office address and company registration number. This makes it easy for customers to contact you if there are any problems.
- Your customer’s contact details: include the name of the buyer’s company, phone number and email address. When possible, reference the person you have been in direct contact with whilst you were fulfilling the job brief.
- Invoice or reference number: This acts as a catalogue system for your record keeping. Ensure each client gets a unique invoice number to avoid that there are no duplicate cases within your business logs. A lot of businesses implement a number sequence e.g 0001, whilst some assign unique IDs associated with the client name e.g Stable Constructors (StC001)
- Date the goods or services were provided: This is extremely important if you include VAT within your invoices, where it is also known as a supply date.
- Date the invoice was issued: Ensure that within the invoice you declare the date the invoice is created/sent out – not the date the goods and services were provided. This is important should the issue of late payments arise
- Details of the products or services supplied: Provide the buyer with a clear description of what they are being invoiced for. This usually involves a line by line list of each product or service, alongside the cost of each product or service.
- A total amount for the products or services invoiced: You can also include any discounts that have been deducted from the total amount (e.g for early payments).
- Payment terms for the invoice: covers all the financial information needed by the buyer to process your payment. This should include:
- Acceptable forms of payments – bank transfer, online payment etc.
- Currencies accepted by your organisation
- Payment timelines: Let the customer know how long they have to pay, this may either be a date agreed upon by yourself and client or the 30 day period within your legal rights.
- Details of any late penalties
We’ve put together some invoice templates in Word format that you can customise with your details.
Late payments can be the biggest pain point for a small business and ensuring your collections process is watertight is a must which can make a huge difference for your company.
Unfortunately, you can’t just rely on customers paying you without a firm reminder system in place. Another option is using an automated credit control system which automatically sends out payment reminders and payment receipt emails on your behalf – check Fluidly out if you think we can help save you time on your credit control.