Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer who is still having trouble coming up with a perfect invoice and bill to your clients then the following advice might just be able to help you out.
When creating invoices and bills, it can be difficult knowing where to start and what information needs to go on the document. Here we give five top tips for writing great invoices and bills – so you can get paid quickly and easily!
1. Use the right software
Of all the steps in writing accurate invoices, selecting the right template should be one of the easiest – but many people find this part daunting too. There are plenty of online tools which will help you create attractive templates, so there’s no excuse not to have one!
2. Start with the basics
For new freelancers, invoicing can be a bit of a dark art – it is really just a standard sales document. The most important thing to remember is that you should bill for your time by the hour or day – not after work has been completed. Make sure that this information is clear from the invoice’s heading and then list all of the tasks you have carried out in chronological order so it is easy to understand.
3. Specify what clients will pay for
There are two types of costs associated with running a business: fixed costs and variable costs . These terms may seem confusing but they basically mean how much does something cost? And how much does something cost, per unit?
For example, your fixed costs may be the rent for your office space – this is likely to stay the same each month. Your variable costs would be how many cups of coffee you buy at €3 per cup. Make sure these are clear on invoices so clients can see where their money is going
4. Require payment upon delivery
Many businesses give discounts for early settlement of accounts; however, there are good arguments against this approach . For one thing, it’s easier to keep track of what’s owed if everything is billable. Also, charging upfront means that you should never end up out-of-pocket!
5. Keep records accurate and organised
Particularly important if you decide to invoice early (see point 3), you should keep track of all your invoices and bills in one place – this will allow you to see how much money you are owed at any given time.
If keeping track of invoicing sounds like too much hassle, there are plenty of online accounting software systems available which help with the entire process – try out PeachPay, for example. For freelancers or small businesses without an accountant, these can be a real life-saver!
6. Be clear about payment terms
Finally, think carefully about how long clients should take to settle invoices; don’t assume it’ll be 30 days! Set out your terms clearly on the invoice (including what happens if they’re late) and consider offering early payment discounts for prompt settlement.
More Tips On How to Conduct Buisness The Right Way
Establish clear expectations in the contract and be clear about what happens in the event of a breach. If you don’t include such terms in your agreement, you might find yourself in an unfair position if – heaven forbid! – you ever need to take legal action to protect your intellectual property rights.
Ensure that all parties understand and agree to these terms upfront so there is no dispute later on. If you are not confident in your negotiating skills, consider engaging a solicitor to assist with the drafting of the agreement.
It may seem like common sense to use appropriate language when writing an agreement , but it is surprising how many people get this wrong – and what’s worse is that even if there is no legitimate claim for copyright infringement or breach of contract, a party can still seek legal costs from another where inappropriate language has been used .
Including terms such as “all rights” in an agreement might give one party more rights than they need, so it’s important to be clear about what is required by each individual client. You should set out which third parties you will share their content with and under what circumstances you will do so.
Make sure that you have a clear agreed scope of work in the contract. What happens if you complete the project but the client asks for additional work? This can be extremely frustrating for freelancers, so make sure it’s explained in the agreement up-front. If this does happen, however, it may be appropriate to charge an extra fee or even abandon the project entirely .
Ensure that any third parties are mentioned clearly in your agreement too, including suppliers and subcontractors who will carry out parts of the project on your behalf. Make sure these third parties understand how important their role is – without them, there would be no project at all! The client should recognise this in the written agreement.
For most people, invoicing clients seems like a simple enough task – but it can be all too easy to make a serious mistake. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your accounts are accurate and up-to-date – before it’s too late! Remeber to always ask yourself the following question before you invoce your client.
‘Is my invoice clear enough for my client to understand?’
If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and make some amendments!
How to invoice and bill clients the right way