A professional invoice isn’t simply a bill for services rendered. It’s a reflection of the relationship you have with the customer, and of the company’s image. It’s important to be consistent with pricing and to create professional looking invoices that really make your business stand out.
What Is An Invoice Anyway?
An invoice is a professional document that lists items purchased or services rendered, the price of said items, and your company’s information. It’s a connection between you and your customer that finalizes the business relationship when the payment is made.
An invoice is the “last contact” so to speak of the business deal, and so it should end on a good note. That’s where a little creativity comes in.
Invoices Reflect Your Brand’s Tone
Once you’ve answered the question of “what is an invoice”, you can focus on customizing yours to reflect the tone of your brand.
Every brand has a feel to it, a tone that is reflected not only in its products and services but also in the style of your paperwork.
Your invoice should be free of errors and professionally designed. If you’re unsure how to design an invoice, you can use an online invoice generator to create custom, professional looking invoices for free.
The generators use expertly designed templates that offer maximum customization, so your invoice can adequately reflect your brand’s tone.
An Invoice Can Show Off Your Design Skills
If you are a designer and familiar with document designs, a custom invoice can be a great way to showcase your abilities. Pull out your best designs for your invoice, but don’t overdo it. Too many graphics can be distracting or even unpleasant, so keep it simple and aesthetically pleasing.
You Can Use Invoices To Strengthen Customer Bonds
An invoice doesn’t only have to communicate the expected payment. It can also be used to add custom messages or comments that strengthen your bond with the client.
“It was a pleasure working with you” or “I’m looking forward to our next transaction” are simple but effective statements that let your customer know you appreciate their business.
Invoices Contain Your Company’s Contact Info And Logo
Your logo is the instantly recognizable symbol for your brand, and so should be used on every invoice to create brand awareness and recognition.
In addition to a logo, your company’ contact information should be located somewhere close by. Your name, as well as a phone number, extension, and email address, should be clearly presented. Any questions regarding your invoice should be addressed immediately.
Invoices Encourage Punctual Payments
A complete and accurate invoice increases the likelihood that you’ll be paid on time. There’s no need to edit, change, or adjust anything on a complete invoice, and your customers will appreciate that they don’t have to send it back.
Additionally, a complete invoice with a “due by” date provides a solid date by which the invoice is to be paid. Clearly expressing expectations in this way encourages your customers to pay on time, especially if the customer was satisfied with your product or service.
Invoices Help Track Transactions and Earnings
Each invoice should have an invoice number to allow for easy tracking. This is especially useful during tax time when you have to generate earnings reports. Organized invoices are substantially easier to work with than unnumbered stacks of paperwork.
Your invoices can also help you identify sales patterns and seasonal trends, which help you plan for production costs.
An Invoice Can Clear Up Bookkeeping Errors
If your company balances the books in a digital program, there’s likely to be a few errors. That’s why hard copies of invoices are so important.
Hard copies are indisputable, containing everything you need to know about the sale and what was earned. If you use a cloud-based storage system, be sure to organize invoices in folders by date or customer for easier access.
An Invoice Provides A Layer Of Legal Protection
A completed invoice establishes your company’s right to be paid for the services or products you’ve provided, which can be useful should you ever find yourself in a courtroom. Being able to prove that you provided an item and were not paid as you should have been could be the deciding factor in a court case.
You should also keep invoices from any contractors or other businesses you work with, for the same reason. Both parties benefit from having a document that details a business transaction.
An Invoice Serves As Proof During An Audit
Ideally, you’ll never be audited by the IRS. If you find that your company comes under tax investigation, properly stored invoices serve as accurate records of any income you received during the tax year.
Occasionally, mistakes are made when filing taxes, which is the most common reason why audits occur. In order to keep your company safe from tax penalties, maintain accurate invoice records of all expenses and income.
An Invoice Is The Professional Way To Request Payment
A legitimate business sends a professional invoice to maintain its status as a reputable organization. An invoice says “we care about our reputation” and lets the customer know that their business matters to you.
Whether you send electronic or paper invoices, always remember to provide a payment date, invoice number, company logo, contact information, and details of the sale. Remember that incomplete invoices cause bookkeeping issues as well as customer dissatisfaction. When you create consistent, quality invoices, your business maintains a reputation of professionalism and respect.