There’s basically only one reason why you issue an invoice and that is to get paid.
The primary objective of all invoices remains largely the same but the effectiveness of invoices hitting their mark can vary with a large list of factors ultimately determining whether or not an invoice helps you get paid faster or actually slows down the process of getting paid. One of these factors is the design of the overall invoice.
It is imperative that your invoice is laid out in an appealing and well-organized format. Poorly designed invoices can be quite confusing for the receiving party and may eventually cause unnecessary setbacks that benefit neither your clients/customers nor yourself.
How would a receiver differentiate your invoice from other invoices (of which they probably receive plenty)?
How well do they understand exactly what items they’re being charged for? These are important considerations that you need to take into account before issuing an invoice. In order for you get paid in a smooth, timely and orderly fashion, you have to ensure that the details of your invoice are clear and display proper context.
Here are a few tips to help improve your invoice design:
Make Your Mark
Branding is a powerful tool. It can be used to establish your business’ identity and separate you from the crowd of competitors that surround your market. Visually, this includes color schemes and logo design as well as specific fonts and trademark layouts. These all come together to convey a message of consistency and reputability through the assets that make up your brand’s visual vocabulary.
Invoices that you issue are another means of establishing your brand. This doesn’t just clarify who the client is dealing with, it also helps you enhance your invoice aesthetically (think of the difference between a plain text invoice and one with a logo, layout, color scheme, signature fonts…etc).
There are numerous tools that you can use to create custom templates for your invoice. WorkflowMax is one such tool and it lets you import files from Microsoft Word or utilize sample templates in the software itself.
Simplify Your Payment Process
It’s important to understand that you’re not the only one that’s busy. Your clients/customers are often running businesses too and it’s safe to assume that they have a hundred other things on their to-do list on any given day. In light of this, you should focus on making your payment process as easy as possible so they don’t have to deal with headache-inducing formats or reaching for their magnifying glasses before finally finalizing your payments.
Readability is a large part of your invoice’s design. Vital information such as account numbers and terms should be simple, readable and straightforward. Keep your font size at a readable point, try using branded colors in your headings and subheadings while keeping main sections neutral black on white. Additionally, make sure that your logo is neatly positioned and isn’t obtrusive. White space is a great way to keep your invoice looking clean.
Details like a clearly visible invoice number, company logo, the name of the recipient, cost breakdown and project description should all be included in a format that is soothing to the eyes and mind.
Watch Your Language
Nobody likes parting with money, it can be a sensitive issue and many of us prefer to avoid cringe-worthy discussions or brutal disputes related to money. A simple way to avoid any confrontations when it comes to getting paid is to just be courteous and keep tabs on your language. Your invoice must be filled with carefully worded and appropriate sentences. Clarity, politeness and respect are important in practically everything that you deal with and must exist on your invoice as well. Terms and conditions, as well as any other corresponding letters, should also follow on from this line of thinking.
If you have clients/customers, you’re essentially dealing with a product or service and you should never overlook the importance of gratitude when it comes to your business dealings. Your invoice is not just a way for you to request payment. It is also an opportunity to convey your appreciation to those who have given you the opportunity to serve them. All it takes is a brief and pleasant sentence at the end or at the beginning of your invoice. No need for long poems or love letters, a simple “Thank you for your business” will suffice. If a particular client/customer is extra special, you can add a personalized note as an exception. This can also be a good way to encourage positive feedback. By gently requesting that they leave a testimonial on your social media/business page, you’re not just giving them the opportunity to thank you in return but strengthening your reputation as a reliable business.
The Name Game
It may be a subtle addition but it’s an effective one nonetheless. Our names are what instinctively draw our attention. From a psychological standpoint, it’s what we’ve been programmed to fixate our focus on even in a room full of noise and this concept is no different on paper. Consider using the recipient’s name instead of the name of the business that he or she represents. You may just receive a swifter, nicer response and may even get paid earlier than expected.