If you are using a limited company as your payment structure you will need to raise invoices for the services you provide or goods that you sell, this article explains how to prepare one with an example, the best practices you need to know, double taxes case example, proforma invoice example and in the end I will give you tips about how to find a good invoice example online, I will also include a couple of invoice example free download in Microsoft Word and Excel format for you to use.
1. How to prepare an invoice – examples and introduction
Information that should be included in an invoice includes:
A generic invoice should contain: The word “invoice” A unique reference number (in case of correspondence about the invoice) Date of the invoice Name and contact details of the seller Tax or company registration details of seller (if relevant) Name and contact details of the buyer/ customer – Purchaser’s name or firm name Date that the product was sent or delivered or the service or services rendered,or the work that was done. Purchase order number (or similar tracking numbers requested by the buyer to be mentioned on the invoice) Description of the product(s) -(sales invoice) or of the services ( service invoice) Unit price(s) of the product(s) (if relevant) Total amount charged (optionally with breakdown of taxes, if relevant) Payment terms (including method of payment, date of payment, and details about charges late payment) Discount,total before discount,and total after discount. (if relevant) Tax,total before tax,and total after tax. (if relevant) Shipping details if different from buyer details.The US Defense Logistics Agency requires an employer identification number on invoices.
If you are permitted to submit your invoice via email then it is useful to convert the invoice into PDF format so that it cannot be altered. There is a free PDF creator which you can use at PDFCreator. This creates a PDF file from any application which can then be emailed to the client.
Better off, if you can use a software system, it will automatically generate invoice in PFD format, you can also email it straight away from within the a software program.
2. Invoice examples and best practices
Invoices are just part of the picture that mirrors the company’s image and business standing. A successful business will have a good template that has all the details. The important details are of the company, the buyer and the shipment. There should be the logo and contact details of the company on the very top of an invoice. This should be followed by details of the buyer and the destination of the shipment. The details of the shipment should clearly outline what it consists of, the quantities as well as the unit cost of each item. This should be followed by the cost of the purchase, other costs, any tax that has been included and lastly the total cost of the shipment.
Your invoice should be prompt, so that you can get paid by your clients on time, while invoicing is not a fun task, it’s a necessary one: by keeping clients informed of your expectations, you will get paid punctually and reinforce your professionalism.
After going over some best practices for creating invoices, I will review some great (and not so great) invoicing practices, so that you can spend less time creating invoices and more time doing the things you love!
So here are some general guidelines, best practices and examples that will help you make sure your invoices are up to specification.
a.Their Details and Yours – must be complete This is basic stuff, but you can’t afford to forget it. In addition to the client’s address, make sure to include the name of the client’s contact person who handles your account! A company with three employees can figure out what you’re doing; but in big companies, invoices get misplaced, especially if there’s confusion over who belongs to which project.
You’ll also need your company name, your name, address, telephone number and email address. If they have any questions about the charges, contacting you should be as easy as possible.
b.Itemized List of Services – must be specific People want to know what they’ve paid for. Most people will not pay for something described merely as “Design.” Tell them exactly what they have received: e.g. “Design of three-page static website for Sporting Goods Department.” Be as specific as possible. In five years, would both you and the client know what you meant by your description? Also, specify whether the charge is project-based or hourly.
c. Include Your Terms – must be clear When do you expect the client to pay you? What happens if they miss the deadline? To be able to send follow-up or overdue notices or to charge interest, you need a rock-solid paper trail that no one can argue with.
d. Let Them Know How to Pay You – must be easy Do you want a cheque mailed to you, a money transfer, flowers? Be explicitly clear about what you expect and in what form. It is usually best to discuss with the client beforehand their preferred method or to come to an agreement about a method you both like.
If you want a money transfer, provide all the necessary information. Foreign transfers need more than your account number: in some countries, you need your International Bank Account Number (IBAN) or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). International transfers also double-charge you: the client’s bank might charge you $20, and your own bank might charge you another $15 to accept the payment. Make it clear which of you will absorb these charges, and talk it out with them. PayPal is another option, but you still get charged a percentage of the transaction.
e. Numbers and Numbers and Records and Books – must be trackable Referring to “invoice #9048,” rather than “That invoice I sent you last month, I think on a Tuesday,” is much easier to track for both you and your client.
Assign numbers to your invoices systematically, consistently and chronologically. Some people number their invoices by year (for example, 2009043 would be the 43rd invoice of 2009). You could also specify a code for the project. For example, ABC06 would be the 6th invoice for the ABC project that you’re currently working on. Having an invoice and project numbering system keeps everything in line.
f. Thank Them, and Ask Them to Thank You – must be sincere Money is often a touchy subject, so politeness about it is a good idea. Your clients are paying you money that they’ve earned with blood, sweat and tears, so let them know you appreciate it. You should also invite them to contact you if they have any questions and, more importantly, make it clear that you appreciate their present (and future) business.
Some people also welcome testimonials; for example, by adding, “Let us know how we did. Write a testimonial and sent to… ” If you’re building your website’s testimonials page or want to complete the feedback loop, this is a great way to get clients to give feedback on your work. If they have suggestions for making the process smoother, it’s also a great opportunity for you to improve.
g. Don’t Forget: You’re a Designer – must be professional Imagine this, you’re at an expensive restaurant. Every detail is perfect: the food was fantastic, the service excellent and the atmosphere rich and plush. Then, you receive the bill, which is printed on cheap paper with low-quality ink. What would you remember about this experience?
Most people spend hours on their website design, business cards and resumes but then use a template for their invoice. The invoice is your last contact with your client, and it should share the attention to detail, branding and style of your other elements. By creating a beautiful, clear invoice, you are saying that you care about the little details.
Most importantly, make sure you have all the necessary information. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes and that your spacing is consistent. Customize your invoice as much as you can. Your logo is a must, but colors and a style that match your other branding items will make it a joy to pay (well, as much as is possible).
3.Invoice example With GST & PST An invoice not only shows the customer or client how much money is due but provides tax information, in some countries multiple taxes may apply, for example in Canada it is required to put the Supplier’s identification numbers for GST and QST taxes purposes. Whenever a taxable sale is made, the customer must be informed that GST and QST are added to the selling price. As there are no standard invoices required by law for this purpose, you must indicate the amount of the taxes on the cash register receipt; on the invoice or contract remitted to the customer. If you choose to indicate the GST and the QST, the amounts must be stated clearly.The European Union requires a VAT (value added tax) identification number on invoices between entities registered for VAT.
There are certain pieces of information that have to be on your invoices if you are charging GST, HST and/or PST. Your invoice must include:
•your business name
•the date of the invoice
•your Business Number (also known as the GST Registration Number)
•the purchaser’s name
•a brief description of the goods or services performed
•the total amount paid or payable
•the terms of payment
•an indication of items subject to GST at 5% or HST at the appropriate provincial rate, or that the items are exempt, and either the total amount of GST/HST charged, or a statement that the GST/HST is included and the total rate of tax
•if applicable, an indication of items subject to PST (also known as RST) at the provincial rate, or that the items are exempt, and either the total amount of PST charged, or a statement that the PST is included and the total rate of tax.
4.About proforma invoice
A Proforma invoice is an invoice provided by a supplier in advance of providing the goods or service. A quotation in the form of an invoice prepared by the seller that details items which would appear on a commercial invoice if an order results. It is more of a customs declaration form used in international trade that describes the parties involved in the shipping transaction, the goods being transported, and the value of the goods. It is the primary document to declare value for customs. It is not a true invoice, because the seller does not record a pro forma invoice as an accounts receivable and the buyer does not record a pro forma invoice as an accounts payable.
Proforma invoices basically contain much of the same information as the formal quotation, and in many cases can be used in place of one. It should give the buyer as much information about the order as possible so arrangements can be made efficiently. The invoices inform the buyer and the appropriate import government authorities details of the future shipment; changes should not be made without the buyer’s consent.
As mentioned for the quotation, the points to be included in the proforma are:
1.Seller’s name and address
2.Buyer’s name and address
5.Prices of items: per unit and extended totals
6.Weights and dimensions of quoted products
7.Discounts, if applicable
8.Terms of sale (include delivery point)
9.Terms of payment
10.Estimated shipping date
When a buyer asks for a quotation the seller should always provide a pro-forma invoice. A pro-forma invoice is an invoice sent in advance of the commercial invoice, which is the final bill that the buyer agrees to pay. Some of the advantages of pro-forma invoice to the importer include to show to his government for foreign currency allocation, opening letters of credit and most importantly, to have a detailed information on the transaction that can help him plan. An accurate and professionally submitted pro forma-invoice can help buyers to make a decision and agree to the quotation.
5.How to Find a Good Invoice Example Online
If you are a new businesses and need to issue official business documents like invoices, receipts, purchase orders and the like. It is not easy to come up with an appropriate format or template in a few minutes. Fortunately, the internet has been providing information such as finding a good invoice example.
As long you are looking for something online, you have to be prepared to face some hurdles. There are numerous hurdles that you will encounter and the top on the list are scams. Although you may find an invoice format or template that you think is good, you may be made to pay a lot of money for it. It is thus important to look for trustworthy sites that will not use up a huge chunk of the company funds.
One such site is the Microsoft site. The site offers businesses different templates for all the forms and documents needed to keep a company running. It is also the best place to find an invoice example, which will look perfect and above all official and professional.
The following are a few types of Microsoft Word and Excel invoice example I had developed which you can download and use freely from my blog link at the bottom of this article.