- It is important that invoices are clear and correct first time. Raising credit notes and reissuing invoices takes time and will, of course, delay payment.
- You should ask customers what they need on the invoice in order to approve them simply and quickly and to avoid queries and delays in payment.
As a guide you should include the following:
- Your full name and address and any internal reference
- Invoice date
- Correct customer name (see Know Your Customer)
- Correct customer address
- Delivery address (if different)
- Delivery date and method
- Customer Purchase Order number (if provided)
- A clear description of the goods or service supplied
- Accurate quantities, prices, any discounts and total amount due
- Payment terms and due date
- How and where payment should be made.
- Your VAT registration number (if applicable)
Sending the invoice
- You should raise and send your invoice immediately after you have supplied the goods or service. The sooner you invoice, the sooner you can get paid.
- Invoices should always be sent by first class post or, if possible, by email.
Dealing with disputed invoices
- It is essential that you have a process in place for investigating and resolving disputed invoices promptly.
- Do not put off dealing with queries or disputes, leaving matters often results in an escalation of the problem, making it more difficult to resolve.
- Be aware that customers may use a small query as a tactic to withhold payment. It is often the case that queried or minor disputes can be resolved quickly by a phone call to your customer.
- In more serious cases of dispute, you should ask your customer to set out their reasons for disputing the invoice in writing, as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of all documentation and communications relating to any disputes, in case you are unable to resolve the dispute, you may need this information at a later date.
- Finally, log the details of any disputes to identify any trends and avoidable root causes.