Daily management

23 February 2018

How can you, as a specialist in your trade, make your invoicing watertight? A few things to be aware of:

Always rushing around to put out fires for your clients... Until one day you have fires of your own to put out, because it appears that someone has not paid you or your accounts don't add up. Whoops! Don't play around with your business, but make your invoicing watertight once and for all. This is how it works:

1 Stick to the ground rules
What if your client does not agree with a given invoice?

Sometimes it's right under your nose. Are all the required data on your invoices? Your company name and VAT number are obvious, but don't forget for example (to adjust) the date and invoice number. Not required but nevertheless handy: terms of payment and/or a due date. That way your clients know when and under what conditions they must pay.

As a specialist in the construction sector, you are subject to VAT. Three months are soon gone by, so don't forget to do your quarterly report to the VAT administration. A bookkeeper can help you with this - that is not at all an undue luxury.

Take note: once the invoice has been sent, don't make any changes or cancel it. Does your client not agree with a given invoice? In that case, you have to issue a credit note. Otherwise, you run the risk that your books and those of your client no longer match.

2 Be ready to deal with late payers
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: be careful in choosing who you will work with

Good arrangements make good friends. Communicate clearly and from the outset about your expectations as regards payment. Use general terms and conditions in which the terms of payment are set out, and make sure both of you sign this before you start working with a new client.

Losing patience with late payers? Charge them interest or a fixed additional fee if they pay late. You can set this out in your general terms and conditions as well. But of course an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... So be careful in choosing who you will work with Better one reliable client who works well than various "small jobs" that ultimately can turn out to be costly.

3 Avoid chaos and disorder

Order, clarity and transparency are necessary in order to make your invoicing watertight. In an ideal scenario, you can quickly find the necessary documents and invoices when you are looking for them. For that reason, it is essential to avoid all forms of chaos or disorder.

How can you do that? Verify that your clients are paying on time. A late payment is no disaster: a reminder is often sufficient. But with a search on-line, you can quickly find more information about the financial situation of your (future) clients. Based on that information, you can decide whether to work with that client or not.

Another handy tip: avoid having to adjust everything manually. Mistakes will inevitably be made. If, for example, you have to copy and paste your invoices afresh each time, there is the risk that your numbering will not be updated. Avoid such oversights and chaos with an invoicing tool such as ING Invoice Solutions, which automates the entire process. Result: orderly and clear accounts!