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The Basics of Invoicing

What is an invoice?

An invoice provides customers with a statement of the amount owed for a list of the goods or services they purchased. It includes a breakdown of the cost for the individual products or services and a description of both the seller and purchaser involved in the sale.

When would you use an invoice?

Invoices are usually sent on a prearranged date, or when the customer is expecting them. By ensuring you’ve communicated that an invoice is coming before it is sent, you can set appropriate expectations with your customer, and avoid awkward conversations around collecting payments. Invoices are essentially bills. When a customer owes your business money because of something you have provided, then you can send an invoice. You can customize an invoice to reflect your specific payment terms, for example, you could specify it needs to be paid within 30 days, note if a partial payment or deposit has already been received, or detail additional payment terms between the buyer and seller.  

Who usually uses invoices?

Invoices aren’t often used for industries like retail where the customer pays upfront for goods, receives a receipt, and then has the goods sent to them. Industries that provide goods or services before payment is received are more likely to use invoices, these include manufacturing and whole sellers, IT services, legal services, trades and home service providers and creative services or agencies.

Because these industries often have large purchase orders for their products or provide a service-based business, invoices give them the flexibility to adjust the final amount owed based on the final amount of work provided or product purchased. For large orders, an invoice gives the purchaser time to make arrangements to pay for the goods or services they are purchasing. Invoices can be used by both B2B and B2C businesses.

What should an invoice look like?

Helcim Commerce comes with a robust system that can help your business collect payments using professional, customized invoices, learn more here. When you sign up for Helcim, you have the ability to send unlimited invoices to customers. Any electronic invoice that is emailed also includes a pay now button making it easy for customers to review the details from any device and quickly submit payment using their credit card.  

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