Being paid on time is essential to the financial health of a business and good cash flow management. It is therefore important to encourage your customers to pay you promptly. One way that you can do this is by invoicing your customers properly.
Sending out Accurate Invoices on Time
One of the key ways that you can avoid late payments is by ensuring that you send out invoices on time and that they are accurate.
If you are in a service business then keep careful records of your billable hours and send out invoices as often as your contract with your customer allows.
If your company sells products, then make sure that you send out an invoice at the same time as the shipment.
In both cases, the sooner the invoice has been sent out, the sooner you will be paid.
The Information Your Invoice Should Contain
There are certain items of information that an invoice should always contain so as to reduce the risk of confusion.
- Date all invoices and specify clearly when the payment should be made by.
- Outline any penalties that you have set for late payments.
- Outline any discounts you offer for payment that you receive before the deadline.
- Describe the products or services to which the invoice relates.
It also helps to use invoices that are numbered sequentially. It facilitates conversations with customers about specific invoices and also helps you to keep track of the invoices.
Good Invoice Practice
Prior to sending out an invoice, call the customer and confirm the price that you are planning to charge.
Be aware of your industry norms when setting your payment schedules. For the most part, 30 days is standard however there are some industries for which a 45 or 60 day payment cycle is usual.
Find out about your customers’ payment practices so that you can send out an invoice that fits in with their payment cycle.
Services to reduce late payments:
Reducing Debtor Days
Debtor Day Reduction