Posted 3 years ago by Tracy
At a basic level, an invoice is a document that records a transaction between a buyer and a seller. Invoices can take many forms, such as an Excel spreadsheet, Word document or pdf.
Having a quick, efficient invoicing method is crucial for tracking transactions, maintaining cash flow and even reducing customer billing queries. Manually creating invoices, however, can be time consuming and can increase the likelihood of errors if data is being inputted by hand. This makes invoicing functions within accounting software a great option that can both save time and improve your company image. Remember, invoices may well be the most frequent documentation your clients receive from you, so it’s important that they are accurate, timely and professional.
There are some details you must include on an invoice, depending on whether you are VAT registered or not.
Sole traders must include:
Limited companies must include:
When issuing invoices there are a number of requirements that VAT-registered companies in the UK must fulfil. These include:
In general, the following additional elements must be included on your invoice:
VAT invoices must be issued within 30 days of the date of supply, or within 30 days of payment (if you are paid in advance).
Crucially, you cannot reclaim VAT using an invalid invoice, pro-forma invoice, statement or delivery note, so it's essential that these criteria are met. Although be aware that there are a few exceptions, namely:
There are three types of invoices in the UK:
For those companies operating internationally, you can convert invoice amounts to sterling, but this isn't a requirement. If you choose to issue VAT invoices in a foreign currency or language, however, you must show the total VAT payable in sterling on your VAT invoice if the supply takes place in the UK. You must also be able to provide an English translation of any invoice within 30 days if asked to do so by a visiting VAT officer.
Note that if an item is exempt or zero-rated, this must be made clear. Also, if you use the Cash Accounting Scheme, you have to stamp an invoice with the amount of cash paid and the date.
Once this information has been included, personalising your invoices can be a great way to highlight your company and make it stand out from the competition. For example, adding your logo to the invoice takes only a few seconds and can help to encourage brand recognition. Also consider introducing colours that complement your logo, or a page design and font that supports your branding. This can be particularly important for creative companies, such as writers and designers, where a well-crafted invoice can act as a place to showcase your skills.
Any personal touches you add should reflect your brand tone, so if your other branding is formal and simple, it probably wouldn't work well to introduce complex colour patterns and informal wording on your invoices.
Once you have a design you're happy with, save this as a template so you not only have a professional-looking invoice that enhances your identity, but you will also help reinforce your branding.
Creating and sending invoices using AccountsPortal couldn’t be simpler. To get started, head to the Sales section and click New Invoice. You can use one of the predefined professionally-crafted templates or create one of your own by following the step-by-step instructions.
From here you can add a new customer or search your existing contacts, add the relevant details for each item and your invoice is ready to go.
Invoices can then be approved, and sent via email at the touch of a button. AccountsPortal will even track the email to confirm whether it’s been successfully delivered and opened by the recipient.
Your clients can view their invoices via a PDF attachment to the email, or online. One of the key benefits of online invoices is that payment can be made via PayPal or any debit/credit card.
Keeping track of your invoices is also simplified thanks to the clear AccountsPortal dashboard that makes it easy to identify any outstanding invoices and send payment reminders.
If you are managing multiple invoices and regularly billing the same clients, AccountsPortal can save you even more time. It possible to generate Recurring Invoices, and AccountsPortal will automatically generate and send the invoice to your clients on the right date.
Other time saving tools include the Clone feature that allows you to copy an existing invoice rather than having to manually re-enter details. In addition, if you already have a quote recorded in AccountsPortal for a customer, this can be converted into an invoice as soon as you’re ready without having to input customer details again.
These are just some of the ways that AccountsPortal can take the hassle out of generating and sending (invoices)[https://www.accountsportal.com/features/invoices] while making it easier to track (cash flow)[https://www.accountsportal.com/features/dashboard]. To find out more, please get in touch with us via our support pages.