One of the most important things any business owner should emphasize is getting paid on time. Regardless if you’re a freelancer or small business it’s imperative to have an invoicing system in place that ensures your payments are on-time and your cash flow stays positive.
Leaving out important information on an invoice or including the wrong information on the invoice could delay your payment as a business owner. The way your invoice looks has a huge impact on how your business or company looks professionally and whether the client will always love to do business with you.
To help you put together an efficient invoice that speeds up payment, we’ve put together some key elements of a perfect invoice. Once you master this format and streamline the process, you’ll have more time to spend on the exciting aspects of starting your own business.
1. Your Business Information and Logo
It’s important that your invoice includes your contact information such as business name, e-mail address and phone number.
The fact that the invoice is coming from your company should be easily recognizable. Adding your business logo and other contact details to your invoice makes it easy for clients to recognize your invoice.
2. Client’s Contact Details and Address
The Client’s contact address is one of the most important elements of your invoice.Make sure to include the name of the client and also e-mail address, phone number, and address.
Always make sure that you have addressed the invoice to the most relevant person at the client’s company. This is particularly important when dealing with large businesses as the person you are corresponding with will not necessarily be the person in charge of paying you. If you’re not sure who the correct contact is, ask.
3. Itemised list of services
When it comes to invoicing, Clients want to know what they are paying for. Most people will not pay for something described merely as “Design.” Tell them exactly what they have received: e.g. “Design of three-page static website for Sporting Goods Department.”
If the project involved sub-parts, include these in itemized detail. For example, a writer could break down the time taken to conduct research, interviews, creating the first draft, and edits. This also helps demonstrate the value you deliver.
4. Let customers know how you’d like to be paid
Do you want a cheque mailed to you, a money transfer or online debit card transaction? Be explicitly clear about what you expect and in what form. It is usually best to discuss with the client beforehand their preferred method or to come to an agreement about a method you both like.
An online system like Invoice helps make this step much simpler for you and your customers by giving them a one-click online payment platform. Customers can pay with their Visa, MasterCard or American Express online with Square, and your payment status is updated in your dashboard as soon as the payment is made.
5. Include your invoice terms
When do you expect the client to pay you? What happens if they miss the deadline? To be able to send follow-up or overdue notices or to charge interest, you need a rock-solid paper trail that no one can argue with.
6. Include a Thank You message
Money is often a touchy subject, so politeness about it is a good idea. Your clients are paying you money that they’ve earned with blood, sweat, and tears, so let them know you appreciate it. You should also invite them to contact you if they have any questions and, more importantly, make it clear that you appreciate their present (and future) business.
Smart invoicing isn’t rocket science, and it’s something all business owners, large or small, can integrate into their business processes. Don’t stop there though. Put processes in place to easily track payments for sent invoices.
Consider using an online invoice generator that helps you create professional and fully customisable online invoices in seconds.
Learn more about how Nigerian businesses are getting paid 2x faster with our innovative invoicing platform.