5 Things to Double Check on Every Invoice You Send
Sending invoices and tracking down payments can be a frustrating part of life for any small business owner. To many, invoicing can be a particularly tedious task.
It’s important to give your outgoing invoices the attention they deserve though, so you can avoid causing confusion, or even delaying payments, because of missing or incorrect details. To get into the specifics of why accurate billing is so important to small business financial management, we want to share five items you should absolutely double check on every invoice you send:
#1: That You’ve Charged the Correct Rate
It’s surprisingly easy to bill a customer for the right item or service, but the wrong amount, simply because you’ve forgotten to factor in specials, promotions, pre-paid discounts, or other adjustments. Not only is this kind of mistake likely to hold up your payments, but it could lead your customer to wonder whether you have purposely overcharged them, and that’s never going to be a good thing for future sales.
#2: That You’re Sending it to the Right Person
Sending the right invoice to the wrong person is almost guaranteed to slow the payment process down. This is particularly true in large organizations, which may have inter-departmental mail procedures that take time to work through, and hundreds or thousands of invoices to process at any given time. Double check that you have the right contact and address before sending any bill.
#3: That the Appropriate Job or Project is Listed
It’s important that the recipient of your invoice be able to understand not only what kind of work was done or product was sold, but also which job or project it needs to be billed to. In fact, it’s a good idea to double check with your customer to see if they have specific codes they need you to use for invoicing different items. Knowing and including those could cut down the back-and-forth time between your customer and their accounting department significantly.
#4: That You’ve Included Two Good Company Contacts
Every invoice should have at least two contact names and telephone numbers prominently displayed: one for the person who authorized the invoice from your business — probably you, as the business owner — and another for the person who authorized the purchase at the client company. That way, if there is any confusion about what the expenses were for, or if payment of your invoice needs to be approved by a manager, it will be easy for them to locate the individual in question. To make things even clearer, you could include the dates that the work or product were ordered and delivered.
#5: That Your Address and Phone Number are Correct
If you have moved offices at some point, or expanded your business to multiple locations, then you should go out of your way to make sure the customers know where to find you… and where to forward payments to. Having a check sent to the wrong mailing address can mean waiting weeks for it to be forwarded by postal carriers, or much longer if a new payment has to be reissued.
While invoicing might not be an enjoyable task, sending out accurate bills and statements is the most important step you can take towards being paid quickly and correctly. Get into the habit of double checking the invoices you send for all of these items and you’ll greatly reduce the odds of finding yourself tracking down a missing customer payment later.
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