Creating an invoice
If you use accounting software or a cloud-based accounting service you'll probably have an invoicing module so you raise invoices straight from the system.
But if you're issuing invoices manually they don't necessarily have to be specially designed or overly complex. You'll create a more professional impression though if it at least resembles the other business documents you use, such as font and colors. If you want something more formal you can buy invoice templates
Information that must be included on a business invoice
Your invoices must :
- Include the word "invoice"
Have a unique invoice number
- Include your company name, address and contact information
Include your company registration number if you're a Limited Company
Include your own name if you're a sole trader and it’s not included in the company name (see contact details to include on your company stationery and website for more detailed information)
- Have the company name and address of the company you’re invoicing
- Have a clear description of what's being charged for
- Have the date you created the invoice
- Have the date the goods or service were provided
- Have the amount being charged
- If you’re registered for VAT you must show your VAT registration number, the VAT rate, the amount of VAT being charged and the total amount owed
Tips to make sure you get paid on time
If you want to improve your chances of getting paid on time don't forget to include:
How they can pay! and what different payment methods you accept
The date the invoice should be paid by
Don't be afraid to chase for payment on over-due invoices - it's your money and you're entitled to it!
See our article on invoice factoring and invoice discounting
for another way to ensure quick payment of your business invoices.
What to do if someone won't pay your invoice
If people just don't pay up:
Consider how likely it is you're going to get paid. Is it a 'can't pay' or a 'won't pay' situation? If it's 'can't' there's very little you can do.
Send an official looking letter stating the amount of money owed, what it's for, what you've already done to chase for payment and a payment deadline
- Your next step is to look at the Money Claim Online website and consider whether to start legal proceedings to claim your money if your invoice isn't paid.