An invoice is a legal financial document of which you have to keep records by law. Invoice layout and design can be used as part of your marketing and re-inforcement of your business brand i.e. by using your company colours, logo, etc. However, there is certain information that you must include on your invoices to meet the statutory requirements.
The information that you will need to require will be greater if you are VAT registered, or a registered Ltd company, so we will start with a sole trader or partnership business, and add to these.
This is the basic information that you MUST include on your invoice.
1. Your business name and address details
2. The name and address of the company you are invoicing (and the contact name if you have one)
3. A unique invoice reference / number that will relate to this invoice only.
4. A date for the invoice (which will generally be the date on which the invoice is created - or in accounting parlance, "raised")
5. A list of the products and / or services that you have provided, line by line, and the cost of each of these.
6. A total amount for the invoice.
7. The payment terms for the invoice (i.e. how long the customer has to pay)
In addition to this information the following is useful to also include on the invoice:
8. Telephone / Fax contact numbers.
9. Company email address.
10. Customer Purchase Order Number - so they know which purchase order the invoice relates to if they are using an order management system.
11. Details on how to pay, including bank account details for BACs / online payments.
If you are VAT regsitered you must also include:
12. The amount of VAT on each line of the invoice and the VAT Rate charged
The total amount of VAT charged on the invoice, and the rate, if VAT applies to all items on the invoice.
13. Your VAT Registration Number
Finally, if you are a registered Limited company, you must include:
14. Your Company Number
15. Your full registered company address.
If you are using business software like Business Builder, then creating an invoice can be automated from a Sales Order - you just click a button and the invoice document is automatically created with the necessary information included. It doesn´t get easier than that!