Top 5 tips for invoicing
1. Be polite
You can increase the likelihood of receiving timely payment if your invoices and interactions with your client are polite and professional. A ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ goes a long way! Remember that every interaction you have with your client is an opportunity to enhance your relationship which will increase the likelihood that you will be paid promptly and help you secure future work.
2. Invoice specifics
Reissuing invoices often increases payment time frames. Get it right the first time by asking your clients how they prefer to pay and what information they require on their invoices. For example, some clients may prefer to pay by direct debit and/or require that all goods be individually listed on the invoice.
Read more on how to customise an invoice
3. Be quick
Send out invoices in a timely manner. Clients are more likely to prioritise payment when they get a sense that it is important to you.
4. Carrot and/or stick
Include early payment incentives on the initial invoice. You may consider offering a small discount or additional service for up-front or early payments. Incentives are often effective in motivating timely payment. Late payment fees can also be effective in adding urgency to invoices.
By leading your client to pay on time, with ‘carrots’ like discounts, you are more likely to be paid. This may be a technique you may wish to consider building into your terms. Whilst this may be the logical equivalent of a late payment penalty, it sounds very different, and some companies find that they get better results with this approach.
Set up automatic reminders to advise clients when bill payments are near due or overdue. Some accounting software can be programmed to follow up on unpaid invoices. However, you may wish to follow up by phone.
This can be used as a client relationship exercise. You can call to check that they are happy with the product or service, ask about any plans for future supply, and also raise the issue of that their bill is due shortly, or the due date that has recently been missed.
Read more on payment reminders