I’ve noticed there are two kinds of invoices: those I can pay right away, and those that confuse me. The confusing ones get put into a pile that I need to ask my client about. They will likely not get paid for weeks. How can you keep YOUR invoices out of the confusing pile? I’m glad you asked. Please make sure your invoice contains the following:
- your company name and address (this should go without saying, but, sadly, it does not)
- your phone number (in case I have a question)
- your email address (in case I have a question but I am shy)
- the word “invoice” (the words “transaction” and “sale” do not stimulate the pay gland in us bean counters)
- an invoice number (I want to know whether I have paid this thing before, and a unique number is the best way to ease my worried mind)
- a clear description (what am I paying for?)
Once you have made sure your invoice contains all of this information, then you have to be sure it is received. Emailing an invoice is fast and cheap; give it a shot. But there are people out there who will not take the time to print it and make sure it gets paid. Pay attention to which customers pay late and see if they do better with a real life paper invoice delivered by their friendly mailman.
Cash flow is a huge issue for most small businesses. You need your cash to flow in with the minimum amount of effort on your part. Take a few minutes right now and make sure your invoice is doing the job it needs to be doing.