The secret to getting your invoices paid on time
“If your invoices aren’t getting paid, you’ve got a hobby not a business.” – Rachael Chiverton
It’s so important to include the right information on your invoice if you want to get paid on time. Getting the detail right makes it far easier for customers to pay you.
Yes, there are a gazillion guides to invoicing out there. Search and you will find loads of advice about the obvious things to include in an invoice but from my experience, people often forget to put in the detail and sometimes don’t realise some information is a legal requirement
The more information and clarity you can include, the quicker you’re going to get paid. Pay attention to the finer detail, put yourself in your customers shoes and ask yourself if the invoice you’ve just prepared makes sense.
Questions delay payment
Queries on an invoice will delay payment, especially if your invoice needs to pass through several layers of approval process when it reaches the client.
Send your invoice to the right person
I can’t stress this enough. Just because you’ve been dealing with Bob from ABC Co Ltd, he may not be the person to send the invoice to. Some large companies have a central accounts department and if your invoice isn’t on their system, you won’t get paid. One client I know has to send her invoices to a central email address where it is logged on the system and only then will be passed on to Bob for approval.
How to send your invoice
Check with the client to find out the best way to submit your invoice. If you are not sending your invoice to the person who ordered the services, find out the best way to send it. Some companies say invoices must be uploaded to their system by the supplier, in PDF format only. To be on the safe side you could send it to both.
Who instructed you and when?
Did you get a purchase order? Great, but make sure you include the reference on your invoice. There’s a very large organisation near me who operates a “No PO number, no pay” approach.
When is payment due?
Include your payment terms but also put the due date. That’s because if your payment terms are 14 days, your customer may think it’s 14 days from when they received the invoice. Always put something like: “This invoice is due for payment on 14 December”
What’s this invoice for?
State clearly what the invoice is for. Break each item down with a quantity, description, unit cost and total cost so the client can see exactly what they’re paying for. If you’re dealing with an international business, is your bill in Euro, Sterling, Dollars? State what currency. Sounds obvious because us Brits will automatically think in Pounds but your French-owned business client will think in Euro!
How to pay?
Let your customer know how you want to be paid. Do you take credit cards, PayPal, cheques, BACs, Bitcoins? If you raised your invoice in another currency, how will you apply the transaction charges?
Big and Bold
Clearly state the payment details in a font and typeface that’s clear and large enough for someone to read without glasses.
If someone needs their specs to read your invoice and bank details, then it might delay payment. If they’ve left their specs at home, your invoice is going to the bottom of the pile until tomorrow.
The legal bits – things you must include
The very helpful people at UK Gov share a helpful checklist of information that must be included on your invoice:
- a unique identification number
- your company name, address and contact information
- the company name and address of the customer you’re invoicing
- a clear description of what you’re charging for
- the date the goods or service were provided (supply date)
- the date of the invoice
- the amount(s) being charged
- VAT amount if applicable
- the total amount owed
What do you do to get invoices paid on time?
Have you thought of a genius way to get your invoices paid on time? Why not share it here and we’ll gather all your creative suggestions.