By Sondra Martin - April 10 2018 23:28:17
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.
A bill is a request for payment. A bill is usually considered from the customers standpoint. It is common to receive a bill without an invoice, as in a restaurant or retail store. A bill is usually given with the expectation of immediate payment.
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.
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.
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