Design invoices that get paid

Written on 31 May, 2012 by Giles Donovan
Categories Accounting & FinanceTags accounting software

Most business owners wish for a perfect world where they get paid as soon as they have finished a job. But, as they learn quickly - the reality is far from perfect. Invoices do not get paid easily and timely. Tracking unpaid invoices and chasing overdue payments are a business owner’s worst nightmare. But thankfully there are ways to ensure your work is converted into cash.

Jonathan Younger who has been running a successful communications consultancy business for 10 years says that the secret lies in good invoicing. “What does your invoice look like, the information it contains and when and how you send it- it all contributes to speedy payments by your clients.”

Use a professional invoice template.

“An invoice is a reflection of your company - make it look stylish and professional, “ Jonathan adds. Use an invoice template that allows you to insert your logo and your company details, including your ABN. It adds credibility and shows you have an eye for detail.

Where to find a good template?

No need to pay top dollars to a graphic designer. Look no further than your computer. Popular word processors like MS Word have a library of useful templates. If you have a PC, click New and find the link to Templates. On a Mac, go to File then Project Gallery. The web is also a rich source of templates as well. Browse and choose from hundreds of free templates from the Microsoft Office website.

State all details clearly.

Make it easy for your clients to pay you. Put down your terms and conditions so your expectations are clear. For example –

  • What’s the invoice for? Make a reference to the job it relates to.
  • How to pay and when? Include your BSB, bank account number, and details on other modes of payments you offer like PayPal.
  • Ensure your address is up to date, in case of cheque payments.
  • If you have a late payment policy, state it.
  • Do you take returns? Specify it.
  • Would you exchange the product or return the money? Within how many days?

Think like a client and answer all the questions they may have. Don’t wait for them to ask you - it will only delay your payment.

Highlight what’s most important.

It’s one of the most important details that get overlooked. Eye catching information gets you paid faster because it makes the job easier for the person processing your invoice. They don’t have to seek important information- it’s all laid out for them.

Send it away- now!

John emphasis that getting the timing right is crucial. “I always send my invoices along with the final delivery of my service- not a day or week later.” Forget snail mail - email your invoice. The sooner you send it the sooner you get paid.

An integrated invoicing solution saves money on bookkeepers.

As your client base grows you need more than Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to keep track of invoicing. You will also need a smarter system to manage complex invoicing issues like part-payments or one payment covering several invoices. Try an integrated solution that helps you with all your invoicing matters PLUS helps you track GST and lodge BAS. It costs much less than a bookkeeper.

Gone are the days when business owners were restricted to hiring expensive bookkeepers and forking out money on complex software like MYOB. Sophisticated and affordable online software have enabled business owners to manage their everyday accounting tasks themselves- online, in no time and without going through hours of training to learn the system. Ensure you choose a solution that’s designed for you, not an accountant. Look for features like an intuitive interface, mobile access and ability to send alerts for overdue payments. With the right software you may even start to enjoy invoicing!

Written by Giles Donovan, CEO Reach Accounting.

For a smart way to invoice, try Reach Accounting. It is all about keeping it simple, affordable and mobile for small business. Test drive for free for 30 days on www.reachaccounting.com.au