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A Step by Step Guide for Writing an Invoice
There’s a huge difference between starting a company and getting things operational. If you are a student of finance and accounting or pursuing your higher studies in business administration, you must have come across the term called "invoice." Actually, anyone, who has purchased anything from a genuine store (online or offline), must have received an invoice that carried all the necessary details of the purchased items and the price owed. But do you know how to write an invoice for a business?
Well, if you are going to start a business someday, or want to play a key role in a company’s finance and accounting department, you need to know how to create invoices. And if you are looking for a step-by-step guide for the task, you are in luck, because we are about to discuss how you can prepare an invoice from scratch.
Step 1: Personalize the invoice for professional use:
In the first step, you need to put the invoice together. You can achieve that using a word processor or Excel. In fact, you can also use a variety of customizable free invoice templates that are available online. You can also have a number of free templates on the word processor, depending on the program you are using.
At start, you can choose a colour that represents the brand the best, and upload the brand's logo. This way, you can give your invoice more professional and personalized look. Whether you want to prepare a formal invoice or want to know how to write an invoice for freelance work – this step can offer you the options to lay the foundation for the invoice preparation.
Step 2: Clearly mark the invoice:
When you hand over the invoice to a client, they need to acknowledge it as an invoice readily. To make your invoice look like a proper invoice, writing "Invoice" at the top won't be enough. So, you need to mark your invoice in a specific way. This way, you will be paid on time, as the client can distinguish your payment request from the other documents given to him/her.
Here’s what you need to include:
- Clearly display the word ‘Invoice” at the top of the document.
- Add the unique identification number for record-keeping purpose.
- Maintain a sequence of number that gradually increases with each invoice.
- You can also use specific letters in the unique identification number to distinguish a specific client.
Usually, the government outlines the generic requirements for the client invoice. So, you should check out the government website of your country to see if there is anything else to add besides the points mentioned above.
Step 3: Add the necessary information regarding your business:
In this step, you need to add business-related information. That includes information about your company as well as the details of the company you are invoicing. The business invoice must include the following details:
- The name, address and contact details of your company.
- The name, address and contact details of the company you are invoicing (the client company).
- In case you are a limited company, you must include the registered office address and registration number of your company and the formal company name.
When you are a limited company, and you choose to add the name of your directors on the invoice, then you need to add the name of every director of the company.
Step 4: Write the description of the goods/services you are charging for:
Keep the description of the products or services simple. They do not need to be long. Just make sure that the description is detailed enough for the customers to know what they are paying for. The description should include the following things:
- A clear description of each product or service, including the details regarding its measurements (if applicable).
- The quantity of each product or service
- The price for items
Step 5: Don’t miss out on the dates:
There are certain important dates that you need to mention in the invoice. They are:
- The supply date: when the goods or service was provided
- The invoice date: when the invoice is made
If you want, you can add the supply date in the description of the goods or service. The invoice date should go at the top alongside the company details and contact information.
Step 6: Add the full money owed:
You need to mention the price for each item in the product description. Along with that, make sure to mention the full amount owed, while preparing the invoice for the client. You need to add these following things while charging the total amount:
- The cumulative price of the items or services
- Any discount if applicable
- Taxes (VAT, GST, etc.) if applicable
You need to calculate these things and present the total amount owed on the invoice.
Step 7: Mention the payment terms:
Even if you agreed on a set of terms with the customer beforehand, it is better to mention it, in the invoice. If you expect the client to clear the payment within a certain number of days, it may be a good idea to remind the customer by including it in the invoice.
Moreover, mention it in the invoice how the customer should make the payment. If you want the customer to make the payment directly to your bank account, it is necessary to mention the bank details of your company.
Now, that’s how you should be writing an invoice.
If you still have doubts about how to write an invoice, maybe you should go through a sample invoice like the following.
Hopefully, you have a clearer idea about how to make an invoice after going through this invoice sample. However, if you still don’t feel confident about how to write an invoice, the necessary support is just a few clicks away.
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