An invoice deserves more attention than it gets.
Here’s a list of 7 essentials for invoices to help you get paid faster, add contextual information, track invoices and at the same time make things simpler for your customers.
1. Immediate Contact:
Imagine your customers who receive an invoice but are not familiar with certain terms on it, or want to ask a question. They scan the invoice for someone to contact and instantly find the contact details of your firm.
As a business it is quite vital that you include your address and contact details, making it easier for customers to contact you.
2. Purchase Order (PO) Number:
The PO number is a point of reference which is assigned to a particular request to buy something. Internally the PO number can be used as a guide to co-ordinate sales, inventory, and match shipments with purchases; it also reduces unnecessary delays.
3. Items on the line:
Including line items is a transparent method of allowing your customers to see exactly what they have paid for. Line items are a breakdown of products/services and additional charges along with tax(es), which gives an idea of how much your customer spends on a particular item. You can also include a description of the products on the line items.
Using this method reduces questions and disputes during the sale. It is also clear where certain things are being added along the whole selling process, making it easier to hand things off to the production team.
4. Track an invoice:
Do you ever send an invoice and then wonder, what happens now?
More importantly, how do you know when a payment is on its way?
That’s where an invoice status comes into play.
Each invoice is assigned a status based on where it is in the invoicing process. With a quick glance, you can determine whether an invoice is paid or not, refunded or void. Including an invoice status helps track payments that are made and follow-up on the ones that are due.
We’ve seen many an advertisement that displays amazing offers that are hard to believe. It often comes with a little star at the end of the advertisement and that star explicitly explains the offer in detail at the bottom of the page.
Similarly, an invoice note can be used by you to include additional information for your customers. Contextual information such as terms and conditions, product guidelines or promotional offers can be included in an invoice note. Maybe even a thank you note.
You might have something different to say to each customer, you can do that with notes.
Adding a note helps customers get a clear picture of the product and may lessen the load on your customer support team.
Additionally, general notes can be added that are common to all invoices sent out.
6. Link up and get paid!
When you email an invoice to a customer, surely you would like them to pay as soon as they receive it.
Wouldn’t it be easier for your customers to know where exactly they have to pay?
Here’s something you could do:
Just add a link on the email containing the invoice that takes your customers to the payment page. In turn, you get paid faster. This way, the customers would not have to log on separately to pay, which they might forget to do.
Another tip would be to include a list of all available modes of payment that your business supports at the bottom of the invoice, giving your customers varied options if they are not able to pay via a particular method. Card payment, cash on delivery, cheque, bank transfer, direct debit are to name a few.
What would be even more helpful is to have a guideline on how to pay via these different methods in your site, and mentioning the exact date on which the end-customer has to pay will be more effective rather than just mentioning “pay within 30 days” or “due upon receipt”.
7. Number One:
The invoice number is not just a mere set of numbers that’s used for accounting or internal tracking. It is of importance not only to your customers but you as well. It depends on how you end up using it.
Recently one of our customers brought up a very interesting angle to the invoice number. They use the invoice number as an indicator of the number of customers that the business deals with in a month/year.
You can include the month as a prefix for the invoice number. For example, CBJun003. This will be helpful in tracking the number of customers in a particular month. Additionally, including the invoice date would help customers know when to expect their next invoice.
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