By Rita Derrick - March 13 2018 16:12:09
Invoices are important not only for keeping track of sales and payments, from balances to stock levels, but they can also be used in the case that a payment is overdue or missing and is followed up with more formal actions.
The difference between an invoice and a bill is the focus and standpoint. The invoice is created by a supplier, and it is a statement of services or products produced and delivered to a customer, including the amount owed. An invoice may be created before or after the product or service is received. It is common for an invoice to be included with products being delivered, so the recipient can check off the items to make sure they are all there.
Today, online invoice software makes it easy to create and send invoices. Cloud-based online software is available at any time, anywhere you have an internet connection and smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The usual sections in an invoice include:
~ The date that the invoice was created. Do not forget this! The date of the invoice starts the clock ticking on the customer. If you have terms (a time limit for payment), you want to include the date so everyone knows when the payment is due.
~ Names and addresses of customer and supplier. If you are creating the invoice in accounting software, you may only need the email address of the customer, but it is still a good idea to collect and include the physical address, in case you need to send a real letter or document.
~ Contact names of individuals at the two businesses (or business and individual). It is a good customer relations rule to make sure you spell names correctly.
~ Description of items purchased, either products or services, including prices and quantities. Often you will have standard item descriptions and inventory numbers. But be as specific and detailed as possible, when you create the invoice. This avoids confusion and "I did not know" issues.
~ Terms of payment. For example, the provider might specify "net 30 days," which means that the entire amount is due within 30 days.
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