We want to avoid writing a blog post that gives painfully obvious invoice advice. Instead, here’s a look at five basic parts of an invoice and what you can do to enhance each section.
The Amount Due
When your customer opens an invoice, this is the first thing they’ll scan the page for.
Since you have their attention, go ahead and put an “advertisement” here. This could be a rebate program for paying the invoice early (the carrot) or a reminder of the late fee policy (the stick).
Chances are the customer is looking at the invoice on their computer or phone vs. printing it out so, if you do offer a rebate, redirect them to a landing page on how this works. Use hyperlinks and buttons wherever you can to turn the document into a smart invoice.
The Goods and Services Purchased itemized
This is as much for you as it is for them. Having a clear record of this on paper avoids any confusion if the customer replies back, “I don’t know where this number came from.”
Payment Due Date
Put this in a prominent place. And stick with what’s in the contract.
For example, let’s say a deal comes in late Friday and you’re not able to send the invoice out until Monday (or later that next week). Don’t automatically assume you need to push the payment date back. Stick with the original 30 days out from when the contract was signed.
If they reply, “Hey, this is only 27 days away,” use this as an opportunity to have a larger discussion on payment expectations. Maybe they want things on the 15th and 30th of a month. Gather information to make this a better experience next time. Or leverage FinanceFuel to ensure the turnaround time is as short as possible.
Do we have this right?
Along the bottom of the invoice, ask the question if everything is correct. Do we have the billing address right? Is there someone else we should be sending this to? You should include this in the communication message of the email as well.
Match your company brand/personality
There are several companies out there mixing things up with invoice design, no longer sending standard design invoices.
I’ve seen invoices with cartoon characters, crazy fonts, and jokes scattered about.
And if you are a quirky company, maybe that’s the right path. If I got an invoice from Cards Against Humanity, I’d expect it to be funny. But if that’s not your style, don’t force it. I would scratch my head if my energy bill showed up with cartoon characters and tons of colors. My first thought might be, “This doesn’t look legitimate. I’m not sending my money.”
A good strategy here would be tasking the invoice design to someone on the creative or graphics team. They’ll capture the specific company brand and style.
When in doubt, there’s nothing wrong with using a standard template. Having the right information on the page will always be the most important part.