|Donna Stone is the founder of the multi award winning Consulting & Bookkeeping business Stone Consulting which provides solutions on MYOB, QuickBooks,Xero and Cashflow Manager. Donna is also the author of Stepping Stones to Business Success – a book of over 200 tips on how to succeed in business, borne of over 25 years experience working with businesses.
Learn more at www.stoneconsulting.com.au or www.donna-stone.com.au.
Many business owners think invoicing is just a means of communicating an amount of money owed. Invoicing done well will do so much more – here’s how:
Of course an invoice should have the basics – your name, address, ABN, words “tax invoice”, client name, client address or ABN (if invoice is over $1K) and the GST amount listed separately; that’s standard. Ensure all this is included in a neat and clear matter. Bold or make the amount due larger – so there is no confusion.
Ensure your invoice is branded the same as your sales and marketing material. Use the same corporate colours, logos and style. This piece of paper is representing you – what message does it send?
This might seem basic, but some businesses do not include a contact phone or email, or illogically, only include their sales office number and not the accounts number. Include an email too. Maybe you only want to communicate via one way – but in business it is not all about you.
Use your invoice to educate your clients. As a bookkeeping business, if I can give my clients tips to improve their business, that’s sure to mean a client with more transactions and business strength – which will need more bookkeeping. Selfish? Well none of my clients have complained about me helping them to be successful!
Use your invoice to market your businessInclude specials or product of the month, advice on your other services, promos or run a generation competition. Know your high margin products or services and give them extra coverage.
Make it easy for people to pay you.
Have your contact details on the invoice, have a full enough description on the invoice, ensure your terms are shown clearly, or better, also have the due payment date in bold. Give clients lots of payment options – direct deposit, where to mail a cheque, BPay or credit card. Include your BSB and account number for a direct deposit. Streamline any payment method. If clients have to ring to get your bank details, you’ve just added an extra step, which might be the difference between payment today … or not.
Now you are probably wondering how you can possibly fit all the above onto one piece of paper – I assure you that you can – I do. If you need any help with customising your invoice or statement templates in your accounting programs, we service MYOB, Quickbooks, Cashflow Manager & Xero. And my final tip – invoice as soon as possible. Cash flow is critical to every business and the sooner you invoice, the sooner you can be paid, and certainly the sooner you can begin chasing payment. Leave invoicing to end of month or end of project and don’t be surprised if you have massive cash flow challenges. Happy invoicing!