Let’s say you’re a photographer who’s taken a few wedding photos, leaving behind a couple of happy clients. And while the instant gratification of a Venmo request and instant payment seems like the easy way out, creating an invoice is a better financial choice. Sales invoices help paint a picture of your business’s cash flow, confirm that you’ve delivered the services you promised, and help forecast future business.
What is an invoice?
An invoice is a document sent to your customer or buyer that tells them what goods or services you have provided them with and when those goods will be delivered. The invoice may also include an itemized portion of the final charge indicating sales tax, shipping charges or any other external charges. The information on the sales invoice includes:
- Contact information.The names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses of both you and your customer appear on the invoice.
- Invoice date. This is the date you create and send the invoice to the customer.
- Services provided. The invoice must indicate the items products or services delivered to the customer, including the charge for each item and the total amount to be paid.
- Term. This is the date when the total amount on the invoice must be paid. The usual invoicing period is 30 days (called “Net 30”) or 60 days (“Net 60”). Before providing goods or services to a customer, determine which payment schedule you prefer and discuss a payment schedule that works for both of you. This helps prevent late payments that can disrupt your cash flow.
- Terms of payment. Depending on the type of business you run, your invoice is also a place to include any payment terms such as accepted payment methods or your late payment penalty policy. Payment terms can be agreed upon by sending your client a formal contract detailing the goods or services you have agreed to provide, the time frame in which they will be delivered and your business’s financial policies.
- Invoice number. Every invoice sent to a customer must have an invoice number. This differentiates between multiple invoices for the same customer and helps track payments.
What is the purpose of an invoice?
A sales invoice is used to inform a buyer or customer of the goods or services they have purchased and the total amount they owe. On your side, invoices accounting assistance—these are official documents that track the total cash flow going into your business. Additional benefits of sales invoices include:
- Tax documentation. When your business is audited, invoices prove the facts of your business cash flow. In addition, your invoices can calculate your expectations accounts receivable and confirm that the annual tax documents from the client, such as 1099, are correct.
- Legal needs. What can you do if you have provided a service to a customer and they have not paid? This is where an invoice with due dates and invoicing can be a legal aid. The date of invoicing confirms that you have sent the customer a document for payment of the services provided with the appropriate message. The due date indicates when the customer’s bill is due. Invoices, as well as contracts and other communications with the customer, can legally prove that you have a right to default, if necessary.
- Marketing and budgeting. Reviewing your invoices allows you to forecast your work for the past quarter and project the next to plan for busier or slower months. In addition, your invoices show the demand for your goods or services. You can use this knowledge to market yourself based on what people want.
How do you write an invoice?
Creating a professional sales invoice is easy when you use invoice or accounting software, which allows you to fill in the blanks on invoice templates and send them by email in minutes. Other inexpensive or free templates are available from programs such as Google Documents and Microsoft Word. To complete your invoice, gather the relevant information and prepare to include:
- Contact information. Include both your contact information (name, address, email address, phone number) and the customer’s contact information.
- Dates. Note both the invoice date (the date you create and send the invoice) and the payment date.
- Invoice number. Create a new invoice number to distinguish the project and payment from other existing ones.
Description. In the description part of your invoice, you can specify the amounts you charge for which services. Be sure to record any details such as times, dates, number of items or hours of operation.
Frequently asked questions about invoices
What is the difference between an invoice and a receipt?
A sales invoice is sent to the customer to request payment goods or services provided. A payment receipt is issued after the customer pays this bill.
What is the difference between invoices and invoices?
An invoice and an invoice are similar and can be the same document. The difference between an invoice and an invoice is the place of origin. Sales invoices are sent to request payment from the business owner to the customer after they are issued products or services. When that invoice reaches the customer, it becomes the customer’s bill.
What is the difference between a sales invoice and a purchase invoice?
An invoice, otherwise known as a purchase order, is sent by a customer to a company to order a specific quantity of products or services, but it does not require or provide payment. Invoices tell business owners when the customer wants goods delivered to them, how much they will pay for those goods or services, and when the business can expect payment when it’s done.
What is included in the bill of sale?
A sales invoice includes contact information for both you and your customer. It also includes the invoice number, invoice date, due date, amount due, payment terms and a description of the services or goods that were supplied.
https://www.shopify.com/blog/sales-invoice What is an invoice? Guide to Creating Sales Invoices (2022)