More often than not, an invoice is the final piece of communication that you’ll have with a customer or client. Much like the efforts made to give a positive first impression, you’ll want to make sure that your customer is leaving with a good feeling about you and your company.
To ensure that the transaction runs smoothly and provides a long-lasting, positive impression, you’ll want to make sure the terms you include in your invoice are perfect. This will minimize the risk of any problems arising during the transaction and ensure that payment is fast and without issue. Not sure where to start? Here is a brief guide to writing invoice payment terms for your business.
Decide on Your Wording
The first thing you’ll want to decide on, before you even put pen to paper, is the kind of wording you’re going to use for your invoice. This includes determining your tone.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re sounding polite yet remaining professional and formal. Try to match the tone of your voice and your language to the branding of your business. By being polite and courteous, you can increase the chances that you’ll be paid on time.
Bring Structure to Your Invoice
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not missing anything. Make the payment terms as plain as day so there’s no reason for a customer to contact you after the fact to make changes or ask for clarification. This will help you get paid on time and ensure that you avoid harming your business’s reputation.
Think about including elements such as these:
- Date of receipt
- Description of goods
- Description of each item
- Price of each item
- Total price
- Any tax on the invoice
- The date you want to be paid
Including all these details will reduce your chance of getting hit with a chargeback and will help you defend your business in the event that you are confronted with one.
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Check for Accuracy
Because the invoice is an important and official document, you’ll want to make sure that it’s as professional as possible. This means checking your content to ensure that it’s free from mistakes and errors that could harm your credibility. Here are some online tools that can help:
- Grammar Check and Via Writing: Online tools that you can use to check the grammar used in your invoice document.
- Paper Fellows and Ox Essays: Professional custom writing services that can write your invoicing content on your behalf.
- State of Writing and My Writing Way: Blogs that are full of writing guides that you can use to help you improve your general writing skills.
Include Information on Late Fees
Of course, the majority of companies will be happy to pay your invoice when they receive it and you should have a nice relationship with your long-term customers. However, you’ll occasionally encounter a customer who tries to get away with not paying for as long as he can.
You can minimize this risk by including with your invoice a note about any late payment fees that customers can anticipate if they don’t pay within a certain time frame. Thirty days is a reasonable amount of time.
You’re not trying to scare your customer into paying, but adding a late fee is a great way to make sure customers are paying on time, minimizing the risk of disruption for your business.
Implement Universal Payment Terms
Businesses differ, but it’s worth noting that many businesses operate using universal payment terms, making it easy to be on the same page. Use these terms in your invoice for clarity:
- Net 7: Payment due in 7 days
- Net 30: Payment due in 30 days
- Net 90: Payment due in 90 days
- CIA: Cash in advance
- COD: Cash on delivery
- 1% 10 Net 30: Customer is able to claim a 1% discount if payment is received within 10 days or must pay full price for a Net 30
Discounting Early Payments
As you can see with that last point, adding a small 1% to 5% discount for early payments is a great way to get your customers to pay their invoices before they are due. This provides a win-win for both parties: you get your payment and your customer gets a little discount!
Do you deal with B2B invoice payments at your business? What invoice payment terms have helped you increase clarity and cash flow? We’d love to hear from you!
Editors Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.