invoicing

More Invoicing Tips & Tricks

  By Mariah Venus       Email Mariah

Today I want to talk through invoicing features and some other important aspects of invoicing.

Great Invoicing Features

Most invoicing modules have pre-built tools to gain efficiency and consistency.  Some examples of these tools are listed below:

  • Recurring invoices - most invoicing add-ons and accounting software applications have a recurring feature for invoices.  Utilize this for clients for which you do regular recurring services or have a monthly contract with.  This automation will limit your need for data entry and give you back valuable time!
  • Copy or duplicate - often you may find yourself creating invoices with the same basic items and descriptors.  Most invoicing add-ons and accounting software applications have the ability to copy or duplicate a previously created invoice.  You can do this either for the same customer who often has the same needs or across customers with similar sales.
  • Items - you can create pre-detailed items that include all the applicable data (name, description, price) or even create generic items that have some of the common info -- and allow you to fill in the rest on individual invoices.  i.e. - you provide a service that changes slightly from client to client but is always charged at the same rate. Create a generic item called Services, provide a generic description with room for you to modify it later and leave the price section 0.00.  When it is time to create an invoice, use this item, fill in the blanks in description and update price according to the agreement with your client.   
  • Job costing or business expensing - many tools will actually allow you to associate specific costs or expenses directly with a customer, making it easier to track the items you need to charge your customers.

Planning

Invoicing should be done in accordance with your company policies and processes.  You will want to decide how, what, and when before services even begin.  Keeping your invoicing consistent will not only make the process easier for you, it will keep your clients happier!

Remember, just because you’ve been managing your invoicing the same way forever, doesn’t mean you can’t go back and change settings and modify policies to get things ship-shape now!

 

Accuracy

Finally, check, double check and triple check your invoices before sending them to clients.  Data errors, misspellings, bad grammar or punctuation and/or incorrect totals will cause your clients to lose faith in you and actually make it less likely they’ll pay you quickly.  Remember, your invoices are samples of your business advertising and branding, and you want your invoices to be perfect.  Not only that, but as the communiqué that gets you paid, you want the terms and details to be perfect.  

 

Make sure to check out my first Invoicing Tips & Tricks, too. Subscribe to our posts to get updates sent to your inbox, or check back frequently. 

 

Happy invoicing!

Invoicing Tips & Tricks From a Master Bookkeeper

 By Mariah Venus      Email Mariah

Branding

Your invoice is often either the first or last indication of your brand, depending on whether you bill before or after service. You should trademark your invoice in common with your business. Not only should it include your actual brand logo and contact details, but it should match your company image in tone, terminology and character. Most accounting software systems (such as Xero or QuickBooks) and invoicing tools (such as  FreshBooks or Harvest) have invoice templates that are modifiable to accomplish a great deal of business branding within your invoice templates and even have multiple options for templates. For instance you may want different invoice styles for recurring invoices versus one time sales.

Content

The content of your invoice is vital to getting paid. It not only tells your client how much to pay you, but why, when and how. All the major items that should be included in content are listed below:

  • Client details - client name, contact info and details about project or job - these will often auto feed from your accounting software,  or specialized invoicing tool providing the data is complete and the template includes it.
  • Services, items, fees and taxes - most invoicing modules will allow you to create "items" with pre-entered descriptions, prices and mapping to specific types of income.  This can be very valuable and time saving if you offer specific services, items and charge scheduled fees.  Use quantities and different items to really give your clients details about what you have charged them.  Make sure to use terminology that is clear to your client and in line with your business brand.
  • Terms - be sure to include not only the date of service and invoicing, but also the terms for payment so that the client knows when to pay you!
  • How to pay - the easier it is to pay you, the faster the client is likely to pay.   
  • Invoice number - this is really valuable information to both you and your client. It provides much needed tracking information to make sure you get paid, and so they can make sure they have paid you!  Be sure to use a number system that makes sense to you and is easy to incorporate into your accounting software or invoicing system.  Most invoicing systems will auto create invoicing numbers but are somewhat modifiable in the number format.
  • Notes - An invoice is a great opportunity to tell your client  that you appreciate their business, encourage them to give feedback -- or even notify them of upcoming sales, events or changes. In actuality, you can make your invoicing solution a promotional tool!
 

We'll have more invoicing tips and tricks to share next week! Subscribe to our posts to get updates sent to your inbox, or check back frequently.