How to Prepare an Invoice

Clients often ask us the correct way to go about setting out an invoice so we thought we'd put together this useful guide to help you get it right first time and ensure you include all the required information.

If you ever encounter issues with non-payment, you'll find that including the right wording on your invoices will make it much easier for you to state your case.

What Information is required on an Invoice?

Company Details
Your company's name and trading address, telephone number, email address, registered office address, company number and VAT registration number (if VAT registered) must all be stated clearly on your invoice.

Agency/Client Details
The full name and address of the agency/client that you are invoicing should be included on the invoice.

Fees
List details of the services or products provided, the gross amount payable, any VAT amount due (if you are VAT registered) and then the final amount due. If you charge an hourly rate for your services, state that rate.

Purchase Order Number or Contact Reference
If your client or agency uses Purchase Orders, clearly state this number on your invoice so as to speed up the payment process. If Purchase Orders are not used, state the name of the contact that ordered the products or services.

Invoice Number
Each invoice should have its own individual invoice number. The number can also include letters which may help you identify particular clients.

Dates
Include the date the invoice was produced and the payment due date. Usually the due date will be 30 days after the invoice was raised although terms do vary from between 7 and 60 days.

Payment Terms
Confirm how you would like to receive the payment, either by cheque or bank transfer and clearly state when your invoice should be paid.

With a cheque payment, clearly set out who the cheque should be made payable to and advise the client to write the invoice number on the back of the cheque to aid you in identifying the payment once received.

For bank transfers, state your bank account details: account name, sort code, account number and payment reference (usually the invoice number) to enable the agency/client to forward the money to the right account.

Late Payments
To help protect yourself from late payments you may quote the Commercial Debts Act which allows you to charge a late payment fee of £40 once your stated terms are exceeded. Include the following wording:

'We understand and will exercise our statutory right to claim interest and compensation for debt recovery costs under the late payment legislation if we are not paid according to agreed credit terms.'

Timesheets
If your client or agency requires a timesheet to back up the invoice then remember to include one. Don't forget to take a copy before submitting it!

Sending your Invoice
You can send your invoice by email, fax or post and normally your client will advise you of their preferred method. If sending by email, always convert it into PDF format so that the document cannot be altered. PDF printers can be downloaded free of charge from PDF 995.

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Investors in PeopleThe Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

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