There isn't a standard format for preparing an invoice and if you buy goods from a number of suppliers you will find they will all be different. However there is certain information you must include on an invoice for your customers' benefit, for your own benefit and which is required if you are VAT registered.
So our top tips for invoicing are:
Numbering - every invoice must have a unique number and if you are VAT registered it must be unique and consecutive. The invoice number is the reference for both you and your customer.
Date - your invoice must have a date. It should be dated today or a date very close to today but ideally as close to completion of the work as possible.
Your details - make sure your invoice has your company name, address and contact details. If you are a limited company it must also contain your company registration number.
Address - your invoice must have the correct address of your customer, even if you are emailing it, and it must be addressed to the person who will deal with it. Find out well in advance if there is a particular person you need to send it to so it is authorised and paid.
VAT number - if you are VAT registered you must show your VAT number.
Purchase Order No - many organisations will not pay an invoice without a PO number so if you have been given one include it on the invoice. It is also useful to attach or send the PO with the invoice so that the Accounts Department have all the information they need to authorise and make the payment.
Detail - your invoice should set out clearly what you are invoicing.
Amount - If you are VAT registered you must show the net, VAT and gross amounts separately. If you are not VAT registered you can show a single total but do not indicate that it includes VAT if it doesn't.
Payment terms - these are vital if you want to be paid on time.
Payment method - if you prefer to be paid by BACS (which is quicker and cheaper for both parties) include your sort code and account number.
Make your invoicing prompt, clear and accurate. Don't give your customer a reason not to pay you.