By Sondra Martin - April 10 2018 09:21:47
An invoice is a pillar of the sales process. It is the main document that serves as a bill for the service or products your business has provided. A properly created invoice is a legal document that provides a binding agreement.
Invoices may be mailed or emailed or faxed to a customer. When a customer pays, the invoice number should be noted on the sales receipt and matched to the sales receipt in your accounting software, so it is clear that the invoice has been paid. The payment takes the outstanding amount out of your accounts receivable account.
But that invoice is often needed by the buyer for other reasons. They need that record. They need to prove that they paid you, often so they can write off your payment. In my years of writing, I have only had one client, a magazine, that did not need an invoice. I am not sure why or how they managed that.
In the original article that I wrote about invoices, I stated that I just stick with a Word document. If I have time, I will change it to PDF, but that does not always happen. Another common practice that I have seen is using an Excel spreadsheet to generate the invoice. But one important consideration that I did not mention back then is the plethora of accounting software out there. Due to affordable small business-targeted options such as Freshbooks or Quickbooks, you may never have to generate an invoice yourself anyway. I have heard wonderful things about these applications, but have yet to check them out.
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