We should all strive to do work that makes us feel energized. But no matter how exciting your business is to run, you still need to create invoices if you want to get paid.
No one likes creating invoices, but it’s necessary. And creating a professional invoice ensures that your clients get a good impression of your business. Heck, they might even pay you quicker if they find your invoice to be aesthetically pleasing!
So how do you create a professional, good looking invoice? Simple! Follow the tips mentioned below.
Start with Good Invoicing Software or Tool
Let’s be honest, no one really enjoys creating invoices from scratch in Excel. One of the best ways to ensure that you create a professional invoice without spending too much time doing it is to use good software or tools. Professional tools like these are created with accountant knowledge, so the invoices they generate follow best practices. And yet, you don’t have to be an accountant to use these tools.
You can even use professional, pre-built invoice templates for convenience. Simple PDF invoicing templates come with all the necessary fields that need to be populated for a professional look.
Your client is sure to be satisfied and even impressed with templates like these. Make sure to use the same template for each recurring invoice, as it gives a uniform and professional feel.
Ensure The Invoice is Easy to Understand
When choosing a look for your invoice, make sure that it’s easy to read and understand. Also, make sure you list items or services in a way that makes it simple for the customer to know what they’re getting billed for.
As an example, instead of listing product SKUs, writing out the product name lets your customer know exactly what they’re paying for. Be sure to include your company’s logo in a prominent place on the invoice so it’s apparent to the customer what business they’re dealing with.
Send Invoices to the Right Person
When sending an invoice, ensure that it’s actually being sent to someone who’s in charge of handing out payments. It’s also a common mistake to send the invoice to too many people. What happens in this case is that each one of those people might assume that someone else has taken care of the invoice, in which case you’re not going to get paid at all.
Make the effort to find out who is in charge of handling payments, and try to get their direct email address. It might make sense to send your invoice to the business owner, but they might not forward it to the right person on time, which again leads to payment delays for you.
Send Invoices Quickly
It goes without saying but you should aim to invoice your clients as soon as you have finished delivering their work. Psychologically speaking, the client is likely to pay you more quickly as the value of your work is still fresh in their minds.
And really, why wait until Friday or the next week if you finished the work on Monday? Send your invoices on time and it conveys professionalism and the sense that you value your time and money.
Incentivize Early Payments
If you find yourself dealing with late payments consistently, it might be time to give clients an incentive to pay early. This could include simply offering a small discount on early payments. Now you may be wondering, why would you provide a discount for work?
That could be for a number of reasons, the biggest being that you want to retain that client and they do offer quality work. By rewarding clients for their business in the form of incentives, you might even get more work from them time to time. And be sure to include information about incentives in the invoice.
Uniform Invoicing Policies
No matter what kind of client you may have, they will always appreciate consistency. Aim to create invoicing policies that are consistent and laid out in a clear and concise manner. This makes you appear professional. Of course, this goes without saying but make sure you agree on the invoicing terms beforehand, with your clients. This keeps the clients from getting surprises that they may not be fans of.
Be sure to mention your invoicing policies on the invoice. These can include a provision to charge late fees for payments made after the due date. Additionally, make sure you send client invoices on a set date. Clients appreciate it when you invoice keeping the dates consistent, and you’re more likely to get paid on time this way.
Offer Flexibility in Payment Options
In order to make sure that you get paid on time, present several payment options so that your clients have no trouble actually paying you. Your clients may have personal preferences on payment methods. Most online payment companies offer various payment methods that are built into the invoice.
Remember, the more types of payment you accept, the easier it is for your clients to pay you. Payment method preferences change from one country to another, so having multiple options enable you to work from clients across the globe. These days most businesses prefer making online payments, often as a requirement.
Number Your Invoices
While it may not appear to be particularly significant, numbering your invoices goes a long way toward making you appear professional. It provides a point of reference for your clients. You can even consider adding client-specific identifiers to your invoices.
Include Your Contact Details
A professional invoice wouldn’t be complete without contact details. So make sure to include your business name, email, phone number and fax (if you still use it) on the invoice. Also make sure that clients have no problem reaching out to you if they have any questions regarding the invoice. It also doesn’t hurt to include special instructions if needed for sending you the payment.