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Overview of the Invoice

Outline the necessary payment details if you sell a customer a product or service with this invoice template. As a seller you will need this invoice template to send a bill or fee note to a purchaser. Alternatively, you can use it to sell goods or services to a purchaser. This invoice covers the goods or services to be sold or purchased, the price and payment terms, as well as VAT details, if necessary. This invoice template will calculate the sub total, discount, vat and purchase total automatically for you.

Use this invoice

  • as a seller, to send a bill or fee note to a purchaser
  • to sell goods or services to a purchaser

This invoice covers

  • the goods or services to be purchased
  • the price and payment terms
  • the details of the seller and the purchaser
  • how payment may be made
  • VAT details (if relevant)
  • any discount applicable

An invoice is essentially a bill submitted by a business to its customers or clients in respect of goods supplied or services rendered. It's a crucial part of the business transaction and also serves as a record for tax purposes. Invoices generally include details of both businesses involved in the transaction - and often consumers (particularly in e-commerce transactions) - as well as a description of goods and services provided, individual costs and a total amount to be paid.

An invoice should not be confused with a receipt, which is an acknowledgement of payment.

All VAT registered businesses are legally required to submit invoices to any clients who are also VAT registered. However, it is good practice for all businesses to generate invoices as part of the overall transaction process, irrespective of their VAT status. Furthermore, most business clients will only pay for goods or services once they have received an invoice, so ensuring that invoices are processed in a timely fashion facilitates payment and avoids discrepancies and delays. Keeping an accurate record of invoices is also crucial for annual tax returns, in terms of calculating business turnover, profit and expenses.

An invoice should include the following information:

  • The word "INVOICE" should be clearly displayed at the top of the document
  • An invoice number which uniquely identifies this invoice
  • The date of the invoice
  • Your company name (this should be the full company name as it appears on the certificate of incorporation) - or your personal name and business name (if you have one) if you are a sole trader
  • Your company address - or an address where legal documents can be delivered
  • Contact details, including an email and phone number
  • The name of the client that you are invoicing - and optionally their address;
  • A brief description of services rendered or goods supplied and individual costs/fees
  • The total amount being invoiced
  • Your preferred payment method and details (eg. bank account number and sort code) and
  • A purchase order number (if required by your client)

VAT registered businesses must also include:

  • VAT registration number and
  • Details of VAT charges

VAT invoices should be used where both businesses involved in the transaction are VAT registered. See the GOV.UK website for information on VAT invoices.

You should ideally negotiate payment terms with your client prior to sending an invoice. However, an invoice can include a reminder of the payment period agreed, or a preferred payment period if one was not discussed. Many small businesses require payment within 14 calendar days but larger organisations may agree to up to 60 days (or longer if reasonable to both businesses). If no specific payment period is agreed, clients must pay within 30 calendar days of receipt of the invoice, and 30 days is generally considered to be the standard payment period amongst businesses.

Most businesses pay by direct bank transfer, so you should remember to include your bank account name, sort code and account number in any invoices. Alternatively, you can ask to be paid by cheque - in which case you should specify the best postal address. Some businesses also offer the option of card payment; however, note that this will often incur a processing charge and there are rules on passing on these processing fees.

The Rocket Lawyer invoice only allows you to charge one rate of VAT or one rate of discount applicable to all the products or services. If you wish to charge different rates or VAT for different items, then you can either create multiple invoices or Ask a lawyer to get help drafting a bespoke invoice.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • advice on setting up a business
  • finding out about international sales including web sales
  • advice if you charge different rates of VAT or discounts

Other names for Invoice

Bill.