7 Essential Details Every Invoice Needs

No matter the size of your enterprise, proper invoices are essential to any successful business. They create a professional impression and ensure that you’re paid correctly and on time.

7 Essential Details Every Invoice Needs

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an accountant to create a striking yet streamlined invoice in just a few minutes. All you need to do is take the generic invoice format and personalize it.

Here are the 7 details you must include in every invoice for your business:

1. Your Company Logo

To give your invoice a professional quality and so that it’s easily identifiable, your company’s logo should appear somewhere near the top of your invoice. If your business doesn’t have a logo yet, you can simply print your or your company’s name in a clear but striking font.

Common practice is to place the logo in the top left-hand corner of an invoice, likely above the sender’s name and contact details. This applies in English-speaking regions, where documents get read from left to right. Sometimes, the logo is also placed in the top centre.

Be sure to use a high-resolution image that is large enough for clients to spot easily but not so large that it overshadows the rest of the document.

2. Your Company Name and Contact Details

Next, you need to provide your company’s name and contact details, left aligned at the top of the invoice, below the logo. If you operate under your own name, use this here instead. Contact details to include are generally your or your company’s physical address, telephone number, and email address. You can also include your website URL, if you have one, here.

Regulations in your area of operation may also necessitate that you furnish certain other details. For example, if you’re registered for value-added tax (VAT), then this is the section of your invoice to specify your VAT number.

3. The Client’s Name and Contact Details

Using the same format as for your own information, your client’s name and contact details should obviously also get included in your invoice. Most often, this information gets placed directly in line with your own details but aligned to the right margin of the page.

Details to list here include the client’s full name or the full title of the company, plus their physical address, email address, and at least one contact number. Ideally, you should be aware of the particular individual and department responsible for settling accounts and specify these here. 

Being specific in this way and sending the invoice straight to this entity, instead of a generic company email address, will ensure the document reaches them directly. This is the best way to eliminate payment delays and errors.

4. The Invoice Number & Date of Issue

Just below these names and contact details, you should indicate the date of the invoice and the invoice number. The invoice number can appear on the left, below your address, with the invoice date on the right, below your client’s address.

Note that the invoice date should reflect the date of issue and not the day you generated it, should these differ. You may use whatever convention you choose, so long as it reflects the year, month and date of issue. Sometimes, the invoice date reflects the date of services rendered or products purchased. Nevertheless, these dates should still be indicated in the itemised list below.

Your invoice number may include digits only or incorporate some letters. These letters may, for example, indicate the client's name, for ease of reference. You have the option to integrate the date into your invoice number too, although you must still indicate the date separately.

Of course, if you’re using accounting software, this information should get generated automatically, but you should still check it. Alternatively, if you’re manually editing a free invoice template PDF, remember to update this information accordingly.

Also, although this will be indicated again later, it’s a good idea to mention the due date of payment here for clarity and emphasis.

5. An Itemised List of Services and/or Products Supplied

Clarity is key in an invoice, but not being clear is a common mistake in invoicing. There should be no room for confusion regarding the items you’re charging.

In date order, each item (i.e. product/service) should be listed in a separate line. These lines make up the rows of a table, which also features a number of columns. Each column provides further relevant information regarding the product in question. 

Invoice columns usually read from left to right, as follows: date, item name and description, the number/quantity of items, rate per item, and subtotal (rate x number of items). If applicable, include a product code along with the item description or do this in a separate column.

6. A Summary of the Invoice

Directly beneath the itemised list, aligned to the right margin, you must sum up this information under the title “Invoice Summary”. The first line of this section will indicate the sum of all items listed, referred to as the “Subtotal”. Underneath this, separately list each applicable tax to be added. Be specific about the type of tax (e.g. VAT) and percentage.

Finally, indicate the grand total by adding the tax value to the subtotal. This is simply referred to as the “Total” and signifies the total monies that your client owes you. Since this is the primary bit of information that your client will be looking for, it’s a good idea to emphasize this number in bold print.

Be sure to check and double-check this total to avoid payment errors and client frustration.

7. Invoice Terms, Including Due Date of Payment

The last section of your invoice should contain all necessary payment information, plus any relevant invoice terms.

Payment details must include all available methods of payment; for example, cheque, bank transfer, credit card, third-party providers (e.g. PayPal), and the like. This is where you will provide relevant bank details and direct payment links, which you should ensure are up to date.

Significantly, this section should clearly indicate when payment is due, as well as policies related to returns, late payments, and so forth. 

Final Note: Thank Them in Advance

End off your invoice with a short message, thanking your client for their business and, in advance, for their payment. While not essential, it establishes goodwill and gives your invoice a professional quality.

If you include all seven of these elements, your invoices will look professional, be clear and concise, and encourage prompt payment. Exactly what every business aims to achieve.