A Guide to Invoicing

What is an Invoice?

An invoice is a request for payment. It lists the goods or services you’ve supplied to your customer, and what they owe you in return.
Your invoices are also tax documents. You’re required to keep copies to show what revenue you earned and any tax you might have collected on the sale. 

Why are invoices so important?

Invoices are a request for payment, so it goes without saying that you need to get them right. If you make a mistake, a customer may refuse to pay, or they may pay you the wrong amount. That can cause a lot of embarrassment and frustration on both sides.

Invoices are also tax documents, so you may get into trouble if they don’t comply with tax office requirements.     

What to put on an invoice

An invoice should identify the supplier, the buyer, and the goods or services that were exchanged.

 Here’s what to put on it: 

  • your company name, address and the invoice number
  • your customer’s name and address
  •  details of the goods or service you provided and the cost
  •  instructions on how and when to pay
If you collected tax on the sale, then you also need to show how much the amount is on your invoice.

Invoice due date and payment terms

What use is an invoice if it doesn’t get you paid on time? Make sure you tell your customer when payment is due, and how to send the money. Include information like:


  • Deposit required: The amount of any deposit required.
  • Due date: How many days (from the invoice date) the customer has to pay and the date when payment is due.
  • Discount or late fees: The amount of any on-time discounts or late fees.
  • How to pay: The methods of payment you offer, eg, internet banking, credit card, PayPal, cash, cheque. Include your bank account number or a link so customers can pay online. 

Payment Terms Example

  • Payment is due 7 days from date of issue on dd mmm yyyy.
  • Discounted amount if paid by dd mmm yyyy: $xxx
  • Bank account for payment: [xxxx xxxxx xxxxx].
  • Payment can also be made via PayPal or credit card.
  • Please include the invoice number when you pay

Different types of invoice

Now that you know what a basic invoice is, let’s look at some of the different types out there:

  • Sales invoice – if you send an invoice, then it’s a sales invoice (if you receive it, it’s a purchase invoice).
  • Tax invoice – invoices that include GST may also be called tax invoices. GST-registered businesses send tax invoices.
  • Interim invoice – if you require progress payments on a big piece of work, you could send one or more interim invoices.
  • Final invoice – the last in a series of interim invoices, a final invoice signals that the work is complete and that no other invoices will follow.
  • Recurring invoice – if you charge your customer the same amount every time, you can just send a recurring invoice. These are great for subscriptions or leases.
  • Pro forma invoice – these are often used to show the price of goods so that an importer can calculate the customs costs before buying. They are not a record of a sale.
  • Commercial invoice – these are also used to calculate customs on imported goods but in this case the transaction has taken place and the sale is official.
  • Credit memo or credit note – these reverse a charge from a previous invoice. They’re issued when goods are returned or when a customer was overcharged.

Source: Xero.com

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