How Do I Invoice a Client?

No matter how much you love what you do, getting paid for your products or professional services is one of the most satisfying parts of the job. Unfortunately taking care of your invoicing can be a bit like doing the weekly food shopping – a bit of a nuisance, but worth it.

That’s why it pays to make the invoicing process as stress-free and painless as possible, so you can simply enjoy the fruits of your labour. Whether you’re preparing to send your very first invoice or looking to improve your invoice management, we’ve got you covered with some expert advice.

What information should I include on a client invoice?

What is the best way to send an invoice?

How can I make sure clients pay on time?

Invoicing time-saving tips

If you use invoicing or bookkeeping software, you’ll usually only have to answer a few prompts and the software will auto-generate the invoice for you with all of the necessary information. Your invoice is a request for payment, so it’s a bit different to a receipt.

If you’re creating an invoice template manually, here’s everything you need to include:

  • A header titling the document as an ‘Invoice’
  • Your name, business name and legal address
  • Company registration number if you operate as a limited company
  • Your contact details
  • The recipient’s name, business name and legal address
  • Date of invoicing
  • A unique invoice number
  • Purchase order (PO) number if the client requires it
  • Date of supply
  • A brief description of the work carried out
  • Cost breakdown
  • Total amount payable
  • Preferred payment method (such as your bank details, a payment link, or your PayPal name, for example)
  • Payment terms (e.g. to be paid within 30 days)


Invoicing for VAT-registered businesses

If your business is VAT-registered business then you’ll need to include your VAT reference number on every invoice you send, as well as:

  • A detailed breakdown of each item included on the invoice, making it clear which ones are subject to VAT, and what rate of VAT you’re charging
  • The date on which VAT becomes due (also referred to as the tax point)
  • The total amount VAT being charged

Businesses which are brand new to being VAT-registered can still send an invoice whilst they wait for their VAT number.

This largely depends on your and your business, but you do have a number of options such as sending invoices via email, or even directly from your accounting software.


Via email

The most basic way is to simply attach your invoice to an email and send it directly to the client. If you do this, make sure to send it as a PDF or some other non-editable format so it can’t be amended in any way.


Via your accounting software

Good bookkeeping software will make it easy to create invoices and send them directly to your clients. This is often the most efficient option because the software will automatically create a log of both the transaction, as well as the fact that it’s been sent. No more wondering where you were up to if the phone rings halfway through.

Chasing clients for outstanding invoices can feel awkward and uncomfortable but if you don’t, late invoice payments mean there’s a danger their debts will become your debts. Eventually, you will run into cash flow problems of your own, so it’s often helpful to take preventative action such as sending reminders before the due date even arrives.

We’ll list some more tips to help you get paid on time (or at least reduce the number of late payers you’re having to contend with) below.


Make sure your invoices are easy to understand

A standard format which is organised and easy to follow makes it easier for your clients to find the information they need – so they’re more likely to pay on time. Hiding your payment details away is only going to prolong the process!


Offer multiple ways to pay

One of the best ways to make payment as quick and easy as possible for clients is to offer them multiple ways to pay. Some of the most common include:

  • BACS/bank transfer
  • Direct debit
  • Standing order
  • Online payment portals such as PayPal
  • Cheques


Apply late payment fees

If an invoice remains unpaid beyond the agreed payment terms, you are within your rights to apply late payment fees. Statutory interest is 8% plus the current Bank of England base rate.

Hopefully, the prospect of late payment fees is enough to prevent a client from missing the payment deadline. If not, having to pay late fees once should be enough to make them want to avoid having to do it again.


Reconsider working with serial late-paying clients

At the end of the day, if you can afford to stop working with clients who consistently fail to pay you on time, it might be the best way forward.

It’s not just the bumps in your cash flow they’re causing, it’s also the time you’re wasting chasing their debts that you need to consider. That’s time and energy you could be investing into bolstering relationships with clients who do pay their invoices on time.

If that seems like a step too far, you could set a credit limit which restricts how much a client can owe you, and pause any future orders until they bring their account up to date.

From creating templates to chasing late payments, managing invoices can seriously eat into your valuable time. But with the following tips, you can streamline and speed up the whole thing.


Automate your invoicing process

Hurrah for lovely accounts software that lets you take a shortcut whilst it takes care of all the admin, such as:

  • Creating invoices for a group of clients and sending them in bulk rather than individually
  • Automated payment reminders to give gentle (or strong) nudges
  • Produce invoices on a recurring basis
  • Converting a quote into an invoice, instead of creating a whole new document

Using software to manage your invoicing isn’t a legal requirement, but future-you will be grateful.


Stay up to date

Do you need to invoice a client right now? Go, go, go! Invoice for work promptly to reduce the waiting time. It will help save time spent scrabbling through emails in the future.


Use templates

If you don’t use software to automate the process for you, consider compiling templates for each of your clients so you don’t have to input their information every single time you want to invoice them.

Interested in learning more about how Pandle can help streamline your bookkeeping and make managing your invoices a whole lot easier? Create your free account to start exploring.

Stephanie Whalley

Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.

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