We all want to get paid faster, but is your invoice keeping your customers from paying? Here are top tips for redesigning your invoice to increase your business’s cash flow.
- Include the word “Invoice”.
It may seem obvious, but including the word “invoice” provides clarity for the customer. Without it, the customer could think you are sending them a paid receipt or a past due bill.
- Itemize your invoice.
No one likes paying money when they do not understand what they are paying for; and vague line items do not work. By itemizing your invoice, you are making the customer take the time to search back into their records to check what was purchased.
Remind the customer of the exact services or products that were provided with sufficient details to remind them how much work you invested. For example, if you provide graphic design work for a client, instead of putting “Graphic Design” as a line item, put “3 Social Media Graphics, 2 Website Landing Page Graphics, 1 Homepage Web Design.”
Just don’t overdo it; a several page invoice for only one or two items is unnecessary.
- Be polite.
Doing business with an impolite person is no fun. Adding please and thank you to your invoice humanizes your company. According to a study by Freshbooks, adding a phrase like “thank you for your business” can increase the likelihood of payment by 5 percent.
- Optimize the invoice for each company.
Create relationships with your repeat customers and track their habits. Does the company always ask for the job number or tax ID number? Do they need tax as a separate line item or a certificate that the item is tax-free? Whatever the case, notate these preferences and customize each invoice for the customer. While it may take more work from your accounts receivable department, it will encourage prompt payment.
- Be more specific with your contact information.
Instead of addressing the invoice to the company or the accounts payable department, be specific with your point of contact. If the main point of contact is not listed on the sales order, contact the purchaser to receive that information. But note, you should always follow the directions on the sales order if the company specifies how they would like to receive the invoice.
- Use color.
We have blogged before about color invoices and the connotation that colors have on the human mind. Make sure your invoice stands out and creates a connection for the customer. It will motivate your customer to pay.
- Let them know how to pay.
Don’t make your customer guess because they will either get it wrong or just decide not to pay. Be explicitly clear with what forms of payment you accept. If you accept money transfers, provide all of the banking information as part of the invoice.
- Do the scan test.
Scan over your invoice. What stands out? The payment amount and due date are the two most important pieces of information followed by the payment methods. Print these in larger, bolder font so that they are easy to find.