Invoice

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An invoice document should clearly state it is actually an invoice. The recipient should be able to tell an invoice apart from, for example, a delivery note or an offer of renewal for a subscription.

You should aim to send your invoice the same day as the goods or services are supplied. Businesses choosing to send invoices on one or two occasions every month will lose out financially in the long run. Every day of credit results in tied-up capital.

An invoice should contain this

  • Date of invoice
  • Invoice number
  • Name and address of seller and purchaser
  • Seller's Vat registration number
  • Purchaser's Vat registration number in certain cases (e.g. for intra-Community acquisitions)
  • Transaction type and extent
  • Date of delivery or supply, or the date any payment on account was made, if differing from the invoice date
  • Specifications, that is to say, what is covered by the invoice
  • Price
  • Taxable basis for every Vat rate, or exemption
  • Applied rate of VAT (VAT base)
  • VAT amount
  • If VAT exempt, reference to relevant regulation

For limited companies, these details are mandatory:

  • In which municipality the company is domiciled
  • The company's corporate identity number
  • The company's exact, official business name.

Your invoice should also show this

  • Payment terms and penalty interest terms
  • The seller's bankgiro or plusgiro number
  • The seller's F-tax status
  • What type of invoice it is (e.g. part-payment invoice or credit invoice)
  • Reference details for both seller and receiver
  • Reference to any orders or quotations
  • Terms of delivery

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Credit

When writing the payment due date on your invoice, for example "payment terms: 30 days", it means you leave a credit for 30 days. For someone who just started up a business this may be devastating since you most often need capital to your business. A good idea might be to invoice your customers promptly and look over your existing terms of payment. If you have had payment terms of 30 days for some time, consider reducing this.

Credit information

Before selling to a new customer on credit, you should carry out a thorough credit check. It can even be worth doing this for existing customers every once in a while. There are several companies selling credit information, for example your bank or credit information agencies.

In the event a credit information check gives you cause for alarm, you can:

  • request cash payment
  • insist on cash on delivery
  • request an advance payment ahead of delivery.

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