A central part of business is invoicing customers for services or products. There are a number of items that have to be included on an invoice template such as date, the business name and address, the customer details, the amount billed, vat or tax, details of the product or service, payment dates and other terms. It is important to ensure that you choose the right template for your business.
A limited company has to include certain information by law on an invoice. The template should include the full company name (as shown on the certificate of incorporation), any other business name and the company address. A sole trader only has to show the business name and address.
It is possible to create an invoice template using a program such as Word or Excel or the Open Office equivalents. There is also dedicated software designed specifically to create invoices and these may be part of larger accounting packages such as Sage. A search on the internet will reveal a number of sources that provide templates for download and these may be free or charged.
Invoice creation software is available from online retailers such as Amazon.
What’s on an Invoice
An invoice should contain the following items:
- Invoice number (unique identification number)
- Company/business name
- Company/business address
- Company/business telephone number & email
- Company number if applicable
- VAT registration details if applicable
- Date of invoice
- Date payment is due
- Other payment terms
- Customer details
- Clear description of products or services
- Total amount due
Invoice Business Payment Terms
The invoice template must include terms of payment to state the time in which the invoice should be paid and by what method.
Typical payment terms would be 30 days from the date of the invoice, or any other time period agreed with the customer.
The method of payment could be cheque, cash, or bank transfer. The invoice should give the payment address for cheques and the bank account details of the business if bank transfer is required or an option.
There may be penalties specified for late payment.
Invoice by Print or Email?
An invoice template can be used to produce an invoice for printing and posting to the customer, or it can be used to produce a PDF that can be sent by email. It is becomming quite common to use email for invoicing and PDF is the ideal way to do this as it stops any editing of the invoice and is readable on almost any computer. It will also print out reliably.