What is an Invoice

If you let things fall to the wayside or have a disorderly invoicing process, it could send the signal that you’re unprofessional. Especially when you’re dealing with costly projects (say, if you’re an event planner or contractor), that’s not exactly great for your brand—or for getting repeat customers. The solution is to allow customers to access invoices and supporting documentation together.

Typical terms are “Net 30” or “Net 14”—meaning 30 days or 14 days, respectively. In the event you get audited, you’ll need organized, numbered invoices, so you can explain to the IRS where your money came from. If the exchange rate changes after the invoice date, the business can lose money. It is important to consider offering several payment methods to remove these barriers.

What is an Invoice

Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. You can create a very simple invoice using Free Invoice Generator. When you use the tool, it automatically saves your info, so you can create invoices more quickly in the future. If you’re not fond of spreadsheets, you can create a .docx file with this free template. Every invoice you send should be clearly marked with a unique number. This number can in fact be a combination of letters and digits.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute What is an Invoice legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date. The extra costs, time, and complexity all need to be considered. Transaction fees and margins added to the exchange rate reduce the amount received.

  • Likewise you would not issue an invoice to a customer, after they’ve finished eating at your restaurant, considering you would be expecting payment right then.
  • There may even be some in your word processor, depending on the program you use.
  • The buyer could have already paid for the product or services listed, thus, in this case, the invoice acts as a receipt.
  • Much like a Honda is a type of car, but not all cars are Hondas.
  • SoftwareKey featuresXeroThis is a subscription-based service with real-time management and reconciliation of invoices.
  • Having invoices is important for the firm to keep a trail of payments and sales, stock levels, and balance sheets.

A receipt is documentation that payment has been received to authorize a sale, which can be used as proof of ownership. Printing and sending out invoices through the mail is a costly and time-consuming process. If each individual invoice costs between 50 cents to a dollar to mail, then you could be spending thousands of dollars each month on a cost you thought was nominal. And that doesn’t even account for the cost of the labor it took to print invoices and stuff envelopes. Bills generally do not contain customer information and are more generic than invoices.

Past Due Invoice

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What is an Invoice

Business invoices may also serve as legal protection because the document can be viewed as proof of an agreement between the company and a buyer on a set price. Therefore, invoices may potentially protect the vendor from fraudulent lawsuits, but you should consult with your company’s legal counsel. Invoices are an essential bookkeeping tool for business owners that are used to document sales.

What Is The Difference Between An Invoice And A Receipt?

Within the European Union, an invoice is primarily legally defined by the EU VAT directive as an accounting voucher and secondly as a Civil law document. Trade finance represents the financial instruments and products that are used by companies to facilitate international trade and commerce. A voucher is a document recording a liability or allowing for the payment of a liability, or debt, held by the entity that will receive that payment. A transaction is a finalized agreement between a buyer and a seller, but it can get a bit more complicated from an accounting perspective. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

What is an Invoice

Getting paid, and getting paid fast, is the backbone of any successful business, but invoicing is not always as straightforward or easy as it could be. We’ll break down the purpose, key elements, and various ways of invoicing for your business so you can master this important tool and get on with your success. These are known as purchase invoices because you made the purchase and owe the vendor. Learn how thousands of businesses like yours are using Sage solutions to enhance productivity, save time, and drive revenue growth. Sage Intacct Advanced financial management platform for professionals with a growing business. This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post.

This invoice acts like a bill indicating that the retailer still needs to pay for the goods it received from the manufacturer. The invoice is a critical business document with a lot of different pieces, but invoicing doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider what your own business invoicing needs are, and find the solution that works best for you.


It’s easy to use, very professional looking and printable invoices. Net 30 specifies that the buyer has 30 days to pay the invoice. That means if you carry a range of similar items, you’ll need to use an identifier like an SKU or product ID number.

The credit invoice provides documentation of the amount refunded. An interim invoice is issued when a large project is taking place and needs to be billed across multiple payments. They help a business manage cash flow by allowing them to collect payments during the course of a large project. As it sounds, this is when a business asks for payment in advance of the goods or services rendered.

  • Outstanding cash and collecting past due invoices can cost a business time and money.
  • A debit invoice is issued when a company needs to increase the amount of a product or service.
  • Depending on the invoice, this can be any amount of time, but standard times are net-30, net-15, and net-10.
  • Typically, when paying an invoice, a remittance advice will be sent to the supplier to inform them their invoice has been paid.
  • An invoice is issued to collect payments, whereas a receipt is issued as proof of payment.
  • This is essential not only for ensuring that owed payment is actually received, but for balancing the company’s books.

Electronic invoicing, known as e-invoicing, is a form of electronic billing. It generates, stores and monitors transactions between your company and your customers to ensure terms are fulfilled. Electronic invoicing can help your company get paid sooner rather than later than sending paper invoices via the USPS, which is experiencing delivery delays and may slow down cash flow. This feature makes Google Docs and Sheets more comfortable for business owners who travel from one place to another place. They can access their invoices from anywhere and make changes to them anytime and send them to the clients. Google also provides outstanding invoice templates for the ease of companies; you just have to open the invoice you would like to practice and start editing it and sending it. Standard part of doing business, but there’s no single standardized form to use for invoicing.

Commercial Invoice

OAGi also includes support for these Technology and Methodology specifications within OAGIS. Continuation or Recurring Invoicing is standard within the equipment rental industry, including tool rental. A recurring invoice is one generated on a cyclical basis during the lifetime of a rental contract. The same principle would be adopted if you were invoiced in advance, or if you were invoiced on a specific day of the month. ScaleFactor is on a mission to remove the barriers to financial clarity that every business owner faces. If you are running a small business and want to collect payment regularly, you might not want to spend lots of money on expensive billing software.

While you’re at it, ask if they have a purchase order number for you to include on the invoice. If not, add the name of your main contact so they can approve the invoice. Invoices are a request for payment, so it goes without saying that you need to get them right. If you make a mistake, a customer may refuse to pay, or they may pay you the wrong amount. That can cause a lot of embarrassment and frustration on both sides. GoCardless is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number , for the provision of payment services.

Keep in mind that a company that uses accrual accounting will record the number of invoices as accounts receivables. Customers owe you the money for goods or services, which means they have accounts payable. As soon as you complete an order, project, or service, a sales invoice should be created and sent out. Failing to invoice quickly can lead to delayed payments and a higher DSO .

Some invoices are no longer paper-based, but rather transmitted electronically over the Internet. It is still common for electronic remittance or invoicing to be printed in order to maintain paper records. Standards for electronic invoicing vary widely from country to country.

A monthly statement can be used as a summary invoice to request a single payment for accrued monthly charges. From a seller’s point of view, an invoice is a sales invoice. From a buyer’s point of view, an invoice is a purchase invoice. The document indicates the buyer and seller, but the term invoice indicates money is owed or owing. Since the advent of the computer era, people and businesses have found it easier to rely on electronic invoicing as an alternative to paper documents. If you are not comfortable with Excel Sheets, you can also create your invoice using MS Word . It provides exclusive invoice templates that are easy to fill in and customize.

Invoices provide a record of business activity and transactions. Asking customers to pay EOM means you want them to pay by the end of the month indicated on the invoice date.

The Timesheet Invoice is used to charge customers based on the number of hours employees spend on their projects. The Quantity field on the Timesheet Invoice is populated with all of the employee’s approved hours. The Price section displays the project’s customer charge rate per employee. There are sites online like the “Invoice to me” that allows you to produce a basic invoice. When you use the tool, it remembers your information so you can create invoices faster in the future.

Electronic Invoicing: Good For The Planet And Your Bottom Line

A commercial invoice is typically created when there are international transactions involved. They are considered customs documents to be used when a company is exporting goods globally. The information you include on a commercial invoices will be used to calculate tarffis, so it’s vital that everything is accurate. Subscription-based companies often bill customers at a specific time each month and automatically withdraw funds from the corresponding bank account via accounting software. An invoice shows the actual time taken and actual cost of a job or transaction. For a customer, the invoice is a “purchase invoice.” For a supplier, it’s called a ‘sales invoice’. Having a solid handle on all things invoicing is paramount to the success of your business.

Online solutions may send automatic reminders, but some customers may require a warmer touch and will require a few check-ins by phone or email. If your company works on different projects at the same time, then it is advisable to use project ID to assign the invoice number.

Invoices are an official request for payment issued from a business to its customers. Since they are legal documents, invoices require specific details in order to be considered valid under US law. This article explores what an invoice is, what information needs to be on them, and how you can easily start creating professional, compliant invoices with invoicing software. A pro forma invoice is a document that outlines the seller’s commitment to providing products and services to the customer at a predetermined price.

These “manual” invoices can then be sent electronically or by mail and usually must be tracked by hand for accounting purposes. An invoice is a bill sent to a customer after they have already received a product or service. If a customer purchases something without paying immediately, you will send an invoice. https://www.bookstime.com/ If you’re a small business, and you don’t send many invoices, you may not be ready for specialized software or a service like FreshBooks. In that case, you can quickly create invoices online using free templates and generators. Here are a few of the simplest and most effective, organized by format.

Businesses issue a past due invoice as a method to renew the payment if the payment deadline has passed and your customers fail to pay their bills on time. There are various types of invoices a business can prepare depending on their customers and projects. However, one thing to be kept in mind is that while invoices may differ, the components, as discussed before, are the same and must be included in each invoice type. All sale invoices must be recorded and maintained for a business to report its income and pay the correct amount of taxes. Therefore, invoices help to keep track of business income for tax purposes. At its core, an invoice is the document that marks a transaction between a buyer and seller for goods or services sold. As a seller, an invoice is the document that shows you have sold something, and ultimately gets you paid.