Sometimes, as an entrepreneur, it can feel like you’ve been tossed into a cold lake on a frosty winter morning. Just when you think you’re prepared for all of the challenges that might come along, things still tend to surprise you. But you realise that with running a business, things are often different in practise than any preconceived ideas.
And with your invoicing and accounting, it’s the same. So here, we aim to give you the basics for getting started with your invoicing on solid ground, as well as some tips to help you get paid fast.
Write professional invoices
Perhaps you’ve already started considering how you’re going to create, send, organise and keep track of your invoices. And maybe the main aspects of managing the accounting side of your business as well. You might have also found and downloaded a Word or Excel invoice template to get started fast.
But are you sure that invoices you create with that template will meet the requirements to be considered legal documents? Before sending out any invoices to your customers, ask if your invoice:
- Includes your company name and address?
- Also lists the name and contact details of your customer?
- Provides your customer with your VAT number, if applicable?
- Clearly state that it is an invoice?
- Possess a unique invoice number?
- List the date that the invoice is issued?
- Provide details of your product/service, with quantity and price?
- Give a clear indication of price breakdown and the total amount due?
A quick expert tip: there’s no need to check your invoice each time if you use invoicing software like Debitoor to create and manage your invoices. With our online invoicing templates, you can rest assured that every invoice you create meets the legal requirements.
Online payment options for your invoices
Another great way to get started invoicing and getting paid quickly and easily is by activating online payment options through invoicing software for your invoices.
By offering your customers the ease of paying via PayPal, GoCardless or payever on your invoices, you could get your money up to 10% faster!
It’s easy to connect with your Debitoor account - simply connect your PayPal business account for example, and that’s it - each and every invoice you send to customers will include a link for them to log in to their account and pay you via PayPal.
Pro tip: add a discount to speed up payment
In addition to ensuring that your invoices all meet the regulations and potentially providing an option for easy and instant online payment, you might also consider adding a discount to certain orders or for certain customers.
A small discount for fast payment can make a big difference in how quickly you receive the money owed to you. Even by offering just 3-4% off payment for an invoice within 1 week, for example, is a great incentive for your customer to make their payment fast.
Extra: add a clear note on your invoice to promote discounts for quick payments!
Pay attention to your invoice design
While it’s crucial to create legal invoices, part of being professional is also indicating your unique brand and company image. While this is typically a marketing task, it should also be reflected in all of your communication with your customers, including your invoices.
But while you want to include your branding, you want to also ensure not to cross the line into unprofessional. Of course, some fields allow for significantly more creativity when it comes to official documents, but keep in mind that your invoices send a message to your customers when you’re working on design.
Specifically, your customers expect the following from your invoices:
- A common structure: a clear header, body and footer
- Information found in certain places: the logo at the top of the page, bank details in the footer
- A professional design: muted colours, classic fonts
Invoicing software like Debitoor gives you the tools to customise your invoice layout and design, all while ensuring that you stick to well-structured layouts with all the necessary information.
Be aware of special circumstances
While most invoices will follow the same format and include the same information, you might run into different situations when invoicing EU countries, for example. If you’re currently registered for VAT, the intra-community transaction rules would apply and affect the inclusion of VAT in your invoice.
A few other situations wherein your invoice might be affected by certain rules is if your business or your products or service fall under a different VAT rate. For example, children’s clothing is zero-rated. So, you guessed it, while VAT does apply, it is a VAT rate of 0%.
With invoicing software, it’s no problem to include these sometimes tricky rate differences. Debitoor invoice templates take care of the calculations for you.
Invoices also sometimes need to be created in other languages or currencies (or sometimes, it’s just a nice gesture to your customer). In Debitoor, you can translate your invoices to some of the major world languages with just a click.
Need to invoice in a different currency? Just select it from a drop down menu, enter the current exchange rate and update your invoice details as necessary. Debitoor invoicing software takes care of the rest.