Lost, incorrect, and incomplete invoices are the bane of every accountant and business owner. You may sell the best products or provide great services, but if your invoices have errors, you may not get your money on time. Issuing erroneous invoices makes the payment process longer and more complicated. You won’t get any payment if your invoice is lost. How do you avoid such problems? How to deal with lost, incorrect, or incomplete invoices. Read the article to find out more.
Lost, incorrect, incomplete invoices – table of contents:
- Lost invoice – consequences
- How to avoid losing invoices
- What happens, when your client gets an incorrect invoice?
- How to avoid issuing incorrect invoices?
- Incomplete invoice – what kind of problems to expect?
- How to avoid issuing incomplete invoices?
Lost invoice – consequences
What is a lost invoice? It is a document, that has never reached the client. There may be many different reasons for such a situation. The most frequent reasons are:
- Incorrect address data
- Sending an invoice to the wrong client
- Invoice was not issued
- The letter was lost by the mail company
The consequence of losing the invoice is a lack of payment from the client. The client, who hasn’t received documents from you will not pay. It is not easy to find out that your invoice has not been paid yet – the only way is to collect confirmations from your clients on an ongoing basis otherwise the only sign of an unpaid invoice is the lack of payment on your account. In such a situation, you will be forced to send the lost document again with the new deadline for payment. It means you will have to wait a long time for your money.
How to avoid losing invoices
If you use a traditional form of mailing try to choose registered mail or mail with confirmation of receipt. This will assure you that your documents have reached their destination. Check carefully the address of your client before sending your mail to be sure that the invoice will be delivered to him. Electronic invoices are a better option, you may send them by email and the solution is much faster than traditional mail. There is a receipt option in the email system that allows you to receive a confirmation of your mailing. With such options, you will quickly learn that your invoice has reached the right person.
How to avoid making mistakes in the email address? Invoicing software is very useful in such situations. You have to input the correct data of the client just once to be sure that the address is always as right. Invoicing software will help you with issuing repetitive invoices and generally will help you with the better organization of your documents.
What happens, when your client gets an incorrect invoice?
Each invoice should clearly state what is the main object of the transaction. The buyer should not have any doubts about what the invoice is for. Imprecise determination of the object of the transaction may make the payment process longer. You may understand all the terms and phrases used in your document but your clients may not understand them, especially if you tend to use jargon or imprecise wording.
The phrase “service no 5” is understandable for you only, but the company, which makes orders for tens or hundreds of products will have a huge problem with the identification of the product or service from the invoice. Such wording may cause many doubts – here it is not even clear if the number 5 describes the seller or the buyer. There is no information about the object of the service either.
Similarly, the phrase “goods accordingly to the order no 5” is unclear. We don’t know much about the goods, their number, type, shipment, or price. Such invoice will be circulating across departments of the buyer’s company and you will not get paid until all the issues will be solved.
Some mistakes may occur concerning the wording used in connection to the payment section. Don’t use the phrases: after receiving, at the end of the month, the last working day – this may lead to mistakes. Your client may understand such expressions in his way. Imprecise information about the term of payment may cause a delay in payment – you won’t get your money when expected.
How to avoid issuing incorrect invoices?
The only solution is the precise, correct wording. Invoices that are easy to understand make payment processes faster. On your invoice use the same wording that is on the client’s orders. Similarly, if you have the agreement with your client, use the wording from the agreement. Thanks to this your client won’t have to think twice about the items on the invoice.
What if you have neither the order nor the agreement? Try to use EAN (European Article Number) number or GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) number – those numbers identify the items sold unequivocally. What about services – describe them precisely, give the date of provision.
If you issue partial invoices include additional information. It will help your client to check the correctness of the invoice. It can be a detailed list presenting the scope of performed tasks. One good practice is to include some of the provisions of the contract. The more transparent and understandable document is the faster its way to the payment department.
Setting the date of payment gives the exact day on which your invoice will become due. Inform about rebates for earlier payments, if you use them. Inform about the charges for delayed payments. Your clients have to know ahead what to expect – it helps them to manage their payment schedule. Such careful management of invoices will bring many benefits to your clients and you as well – reconciliation of invoices will be much easier for sure.
Incomplete invoice – what kind of problems to expect?
An incomplete invoice slows down the process of invoicing because supplementing data requires time. Incomplete invoices are usually moved at the end of the payment queue. It is very unlikely that an incomplete invoice will be paid by the client. Missing information has to be found and explained. Somebody has to deal with this issue. Clients don’t like to waste their valuable time dealing with such issues. Generally, if your invoice is incomplete once it is not a problem, but frequent mistakes may encourage your client to stop cooperation with you. Incomplete invoices speak poorly of the state of your management. Errors in documents of such value and importance as invoices induce doubts in clients and questions. You cannot keep order in invoices, hence there is no order elsewhere in your company.
How to avoid issuing incomplete invoices?
Before sending your invoice check again all the important data. Pay careful attention to the date and method of payment. Incomplete data will result in a lack of payment on the set date. It is better to avoid such unpleasant occurrences. Use ready-made templates to issue your invoices. A good value template should have all the necessary elements required by law. It is beneficial to use invoicing software with templates made professionally by the specialist. With such templates, your invoices should be neat, tidy, and complete. The process of invoicing has to be well-organized and your invoices should be flawless and error-free.