What information should you include on an invoice?

Invoicing is a standard practice in any business, but you might find yourself wondering: exactly what details should be included?

Author: Euan Aitken | Published: 12/08/2022

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What information should you include on an invoice?

If you are looking to start your own business or you have just begun working for one, you might not know a lot about invoices. What are they, how do they work, and what do they provide? These are all questions we're going to answer.

What is the difference between an invoice and a bill?

To start with: what is an invoice? Is it just another word for a bill or a receipt? Not quite. The word 'invoice' comes from the 16th century French verb 'envoyer', which means to dispatch or send. To put it simply, an invoice is a way of requesting money from a customer or client after a product or service has been sent to them. A bill, on the other hand, is a way to let a customer know that they are required to pay for something that they have bought.

What are the benefits of invoicing?

There are many different benefits to using invoices for both a customer and a company, especially those which are just starting out. Here are our top five:

1. They protect you legally

Invoices protect you against customers who refuse to or do not pay on time, serving as proof that a payment was arranged and an agreement was breached. While no company is legally obliged to offer invoices, they are always useful in this regard.

2. They appear professional

There's a reason they say a professional invoice will help you stand out from the crowd. This is because every time you communicate with your customers, it reflects on the fact that your business cares about keeping customers informed and satisfied. It also forms a part of their experience and makes you and your business more memorable - maybe even memorable enough for them to choose your product or service again in the future.

3. They help you organise

Sometimes accidents happen and things go wrong. It's a part of life. Thankfully, invoicing (especially online invoicing) can help with paperwork stress. Invoices allow you to keep records of all your payments and customers, so if anything ever goes wrong, you can trace it right back to the source. (No more filing through endless paperwork if you go paperless, too.)

4. They support your branding

You may not want to consider using invoices as a part of your main marketing strategy- however, they are great at reflecting a company's unique branding through things like style, colour and tone of voice, which is always a plus!

5. They provide flexibility to your customers

By providing your customers with an invoice, you are essentially giving them a more convenient way to pay than traditional methods. This not only makes their life easier but also shows that your company is flexible and considerate of their customers' needs- which always works in your favour, of course.

What information should you include in your invoices

A well-structured and well-formatted invoice can help your company ensure a quick and easy payment from your customers and avoid complications on both ends.

What information needs to be included to achieve this?

The word 'invoice'

Don't confuse your customers. It may sound simple, but identifying the invoice and differentiating it from a quotation or credit note is vital to making sure your customer does not confuse your invoice for another important document!

Invoice number

An invoice number must be unique to each document, without duplicates, in order to allow clear identification of the customer's records. You must also keep a record of the numbers and references used. (Trust me, you'll thank yourself later.)

The name and address of your company

When you write your invoices, you must clearly display your company name, business address and a method through which the customer can contact you if necessary (perhaps a phone number or email address in case of query or dispute.

The name and address of the customer/client

It is standard procedure on all invoices (except simplified VAT invoices) to include the name and address of the customer receiving the invoice- but is also important for customers who want to claim back any VAT that has been charged.

A description of the goods or services

It is always beneficial to include on your invoices a simple and clear description of the goods or services being invoiced for, with each item on a separate line to ensure that nothing has been missed

The invoice date and the supply date

The invoice date is the date of the invoice generation, not when the goods were supplied. The supply date is the date of the goods or services being issued to the customer. This lets the customer know that their order has been processed and gives them a rough idea of when their delivery will be arriving.

The number of goods to be supplied, and the total amount to be paid

If you have a list of items in the description of your invoice, each one will be marked with an individual amount. However, you will also need the total amount of money for all goods listed on the invoice to ensure that your customer does not pay more or less than what is expected.

How can we help with your invoices?

Zigaflow allows you to generate and email invoices out to customers from quotes, jobs, delivery notes and more within our customisable business management software. You can also use it to create proforma, part or full invoices, as well as credit notes, and post them into your accounts system in a fraction of the time that it would take to do manually. If this sounds like something that would benefit you or your business, our invoice software could be just what your business needs. For any more information, please book a demo with us today

Euan Aitken

Euan Aitken

Sales & Marketing Director

Having started his journey with Zigaflow as a customer who took a keen interest in what the software could become, Euan joined us to lead our Sales & Marketing. Euan loves all things Business, Sales & Tech.

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