How to Write an Invoice: What Your Small Business Needs to Include

The average small business in America is sitting on more than $80,000 worth of accounts receivables. 

These unpaid accounts cripple cash flow and hamstring small enterprises. Entrepreneur magazine reports that inadequate cash flow actually kills 82 percent of businesses. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Entrepreneurs can fight back against this trend by upping their invoicing game. Small tweaks can make a big difference in getting paid hassle-free and on time. 

Check out the following primer on how to write an invoice that gets the job done and start getting the money you’re owed today. 

Look Sharp

According to Forbes, consistency in branding increases customers’ trust in and recognition of a company. For business owners, this means it’s crucial that your invoices match the rest of your branding.

Not sure what to include on an invoice to this end? Start with your logo and any signature fonts and colors you employ. 

Once you’ve got that down, the next priority is to make your invoices easy to read. If people don’t know what they’re looking at or can’t figure out what to do with it, you’re not going to get paid. 

Here’s the short list of what needs to be on an invoice and easy to see:

  • Individual products and services rendered and the date of delivery.
  • Applicable taxes or surcharges.
  • Total owed.  
  • When, where, and how to pay. 
  • Who to contact and how if the customer has questions. 

Be explicit. Don’t take checks or certain types of cards? Spell it out. 

Getting clear on payment deadlines and terms isn’t rude or pushy. It’s a service to your customers because it helps them schedule and prioritize their bill paying. 

The Legal Stuff

When considering what to put on an invoice, don’t forget to look at legal compliance standards. In almost every case, to meet legal standards your invoices must show these key items.

  • Business name and EIN (or another applicable ID number).
  • Business address, phone number, or other preferred contact information.
  • Customer name, address, and ID number (where relevant). 
  • Invoice date.

How to Write an Invoice: Boss Mode

Now that you’ve gotten past the basic question of “what should an invoice include?” you can start leveling up.

Take your invoicing skills to boss mode by applying these savvy tricks to make yourself stand out.

  • Use size and color to emphasize key dates or numbers.
  • Use specific and uniform descriptions of products and services to avoid confusion and increase consistency. 
  • Avoid visual clutter, elaborate fonts, and anything else that might be distracting or hard to read.

Sound complicated? Invest in your business by purchasing expert-designed invoice templates that do the hard work for you. 

Using Invoicing As a Power Tool

Some entrepreneurs start a business already knowing how to write an invoice. Others walk in asking, “what does an invoice look like again?”

Wherever you started, giving your invoices and your invoicing process a once-over is a power move. Protect your business from crippled cash flow by scheduling a review of your invoice policy today.

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