A successful invoice ends a project on a high note, ensures timely payment, and potentially even secures future work. With our simple set of tips for successful invoicing, you’ll be hitting the mark every time in no time at all.
The digital world is saturated with all kinds of invoicing advice and business basics. Seeing so much information at once can feel overwhelming. When you’re first trying to get to grips with the right system for you, you need the simple facts and nothing more.
Whether you’re running your own independent business, running a franchise, or just browsing our UK franchise directory, we’re here to help. First things first, let’s answer the most basic questions…
What is invoicing?
An invoice is a commercial document which is sent by a seller to a buyer once work is completed. The process of sending this invoice is known as invoicing.
What is 'accounts receivable'?
The term “accounts receivable” is one you’re likely to run across and be confused by as you enter the world of invoicing. Accounts receivable simply refers to the legal claim that a company/person has on an agreed amount of money once a service has been completed, but not yet paid for.
Often, accounts receivable come in the form of an invoice. For example, a plumber issues an invoice for some completed work. Once the client has received this invoice, the amount can be counted in the plumber’s balance sheet as an asset.
What are invoicing technologies?
If you’re a busy franchisee or franchisor and you’re unsure how to manage and keep track of your invoices, investing in invoicing technologies might be a step in the right direction. Invoicing technologies like QuickBooks and Sage can help automate and streamline the process, allowing you to easily keep on top of everything.
Nine invoicing top tips
1. Invoice accurately
Before you even send the invoice, make sure it’s as accurate as possible. If you charge an hourly rate, keep track of your working hours using time-tracking software to be sure that you’re getting what you deserve for your work.
2. Include the key information
There are many different best practices for invoicing, but the number one most important thing to remember as we go over the business basics is this: include the key information. Neglecting to add vital information to your invoices makes your franchise appear unprofessional, and could cause payment delays.
The information that needs to be included in every invoice is...
- Your contact details - website address, business address, phone number and email address
- The payment terms and conditions, including any information on fees for late payment
- The date of issue, and the due date for payment - unless agreed differently beforehand, it’s common practice to offer a 30-day payment window
- A reference number which you and the client can use to refer back to the invoice at a later date - this is vital when it comes to keeping track of your invoices
3. Don’t overcomplicate
Though there’s plenty that needs including, there’s also plenty that doesn’t. Paying an invoice is often an administrative chore for the client, and the easier you can make that process for them, the better. If you’re wondering how to make sure customers pay, this is a surefire way to increase the likelihood of seeing payments arrive on time.
Invoice on a schedule agreed between your business and the client, and try not to invoice for too many different things at once. Make sure that you describe each service or item clearly but succinctly. Including too much detail is likely to be confusing and risk slowing the process down.
4. Keep it polite
Often, sending an invoice is the conclusion of a project. It’s a last point of contact with a client, at least for the time being. The language included in your invoice (and your communications as you complete the invoicing process) could have a subtle but crucial impact on future client relations.
Express your appreciation, and indicate that you’d like to work together again. Once you receive the payment, acknowledge receipt and offer thanks. Polite and friendly communication is also another way to ensure that invoices get paid promptly.
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5. Carefully consider your invoice design
It’s important to remember that an invoice is actually a part of your entire brand strategy. It should be in the spirit of the business or franchise that you work for. Make sure the design of your invoice compliments the rest of your business documents and branding, and looks like a natural part of your ongoing communication.
6. Offer easy, online payment methods
When invoices are flooding in to a client that you, too, are invoicing, you want to make sure they won’t have any trouble making a payment to you. Provide an easy, digital method of payment to make sure you keep your place in the payments queue.
Examples of ways to pay easily online include...
- Bank transfer via online banking (particularly if you get a regular, recurring amount from the client)
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7. Avoid invoicing at the end of the month
This tip won’t always be possible, but it’s something worth bearing in mind. There tends to be a lot of deadlines around this period, and you might find the person you’re invoicing is already overwhelmed with other payments to make. You don’t want your invoice to get lost in the madness. Skip invoicing on the 30th or 31st, and you’re likely to get paid more quickly.
8. File it all away
Keep your files in order, and keep track of everything you’re sending out. Especially if you’re regularly invoicing, you need to stay on top of your organisation. Otherwise, important documents could easily be lost and forgotten about.
Whether physically or digitally, keep your invoices in an easy-to-access folder. If digitally, make sure these invoices are backed up to an external drive, or to the cloud. Make the process easy for future you, who might need to come back to any invoice at a later date.
9. Don’t be afraid to send a reminder
Whatever the sector, and whatever the size of your company, everyone gets busy. While unpaid invoices might be at the front of your mind, they’re unlikely to be at the front of your client’s. Don’t be afraid to send a polite payment reminder, nudging the customer about the money they owe you.
Nail invoicing today
Understanding business basics can seem daunting, but if you break things down, you’ll quickly learn the ropes. Invoicing is easy once you’ve set up processes that work for your franchise.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©