Invoices are the bread and butter of every business. But what does a professional invoice look like? Which of its elements hold the most meaning for your company, and why?
Well, you’ve come to the right place to find answers. In this article, we’ll go over each aspect of a professional email template, explain its use and meaning, and teach you how to leverage them to get paid earlier and build better, long-lasting relationships with your clients.
But before we get into all that, let’s take a step back…
Why are Professional Invoices important?
Imagine a situation like this: You’ve finally wrapped up a project, sent the invoice, and… nothing. You wait ten, thirty, sixty, maybe even ninety days, and yet no payment is in sight. Instead, all you receive are more and more questions regarding your invoice and requested amendments. What’s going on?
Aside from shady customers, the case may be that you need to rethink your approach to invoicing. Professional invoices are supposed to be easily legible and only mention the necessary transactional and legal details to ensure no problems arise. This allows you to complete your projects and sales with minimal hassle and get paid as quickly as possible.
The question is, what details should you include to create a professional invoice?
What to Include on a Professional Invoice
There are several vital pieces of information each professional invoice needs to include. To help you double-check your existing invoices for potential faults, we’ll detail each necessary aspect below, as well as highlight it in the following image.
Take a moment to delve into the diverse world of invoicing and observe the distinct appearances and formats of various invoice types.
1. Invoice Number & Name:
Each invoice must include a unique identification number. Typically, this combines the year and the invoice’s number (i.e., 2023001).
Furthermore, depending on the customer’s country of origin, you may need to use a different name for the invoice according to local legislation. For example, VAT invoice in the UK or tax invoice in Australia and New Zealand.
2. Your Business Information:
All your invoices need to include your business information, including the name, address, contact information, and identification number of your company.
3. Customer’s Business Information:
Similarly, as in the previous step, you’ll want to include the name, address, contact information, and identification number of your customer’s company.
Furthermore, depending on the customer, you may need to include a TIN (tax identification number). This is particularly relevant for non-profit and child-care service industries.
4. Issue & Delivery Date:
For legal and taxation purposes, each invoice must include when it was issued and delivered.
5. Logo, Stamp, and/or Signature:
A professional invoice should also include a visual confirmation of your (the sender’s) identity, either in the form of a logo, stamp, or signature. This gives your invoices more weight and makes you look more trustworthy as a professional. A logo especially helps customers easily differentiate your invoices at a glance.
6. List of Services or Products Delivered:
To help your customers rest easy knowing that you’re not scamming them, you should include a list of all products or services provided, their amount, price per unit, and total price per item. You can also add a description underneath each item to make the invoice (and price) as clear as possible.
7. Total Price:
Your invoice should include the total price at the bottom of the page and any taxes or extra costs the customer needs to pay.
8. Fine Print / Boilerplate:
Every professional invoice template has a space for your business boilerplate / fine print to list your Terms & Conditions. This typically includes the number of days a customer has to pay, accepted payment methods, and potential penalties and late fees.
This is vital because if you do not state these details explicitly, your customers may take weeks, if not months, to pay you, and you’d have no legal ground to stand on.
9. Thank-You Box:
At the bottom of your invoice, there’s space you can attach a small “thank you”. On top of being a nice customer service gesture, this provides a unique branding opportunity where you can address your clientele to ensure your company stays on their mind for a long time.