Want your business to look more legitimate? Invoicing is key. Simply scrawling out a client's bill on a used napkin won't cut it. You need a professional invoicing system (like the one we offer!), and part of that involves using invoice numbers to track everything. Not only do invoice numbers show your customers you mean business, but they can also help you stay more organized. Let's go over the basics of an invoice number so you can make sure you're using them right.
So... just what is an invoice number? Basically, it's a sequential number you can attach to every invoice. That way, every bill you send your customers will be unique, so it will be easier to know if they've paid for a particular service or not. You don't miss collecting or double bill your clients! These numbers also help come tax time, as they can be a good way to document income from a certain year.
When it comes down to it, invoice numbers are all about convenience and organization. Everything will be sorted by these numbers, making it easy to track down previous statements if your client has questions. No more digging through old shoeboxes filled with receipts!
Assigning an invoice number shouldn't be a guessing game. It's not like picking out the winning Powerball numbers. You should have a designated method for determining your numbers.
One of the most common systems is sequential invoicing. Basically, you just start at 001 and go up from there. It's simple and to the point.
You could also try a chronological method, where you add the date in front of a sequential number, like 20210225-001, 20210225-002, etc. This might make it easier for organizing invoices into particular days.
Some people like to assign every client a number and then order each customer's invoices sequentially. For example, this might look like 87-001, 87-002, etc. That way, you can quickly see all the invoices associated with a certain customer.
If you'd really like to get crazy, you could even combine all of these methods! Combining dates and client numbers lets you easily see what invoices you wrote for a certain client on particular days. That said, these invoice numbers can get kinda long — 20210225-87-001 using the numbers we provided above — which might increase the chance for errors. That's why we recommend just sticking with a simple sequential system. It's easier for everyone!
The thing with invoicing is, you need to make sure the number is always accurate. Otherwise, you could get multiple invoices with the same number, which can lead to mixed-up payments (and angry customers).
You may want to use a template to make things easier for yourself. That way, you'll know exactly where the invoice number needs to go on every statement so you don't need to go on a wild goose chase. Your customers will appreciate the visual consistency as well. After all, part of giving them an invoice is showing that you're a respectable business that they can trust.
You'll also need to make sure you stay consistent with your numbering system. It's not a good idea to decide to suddenly switch to client-number-based invoicing if you've been doing things sequentially — just think of how messy that will make your filing!
OK, we'll admit — conquering invoice numbers isn't rocket science. As long as you pick a numbering system that works for your business, it will be easy to track down invoices when you need them for client questions or taxes.
That said, the entire invoicing process can take a lot of time and energy — valuable resources you could be using to better your business. Why not just hand off the invoicing process to an expert like FieldPulse?
Our full-service business management app automatically creates itemized invoices — with personalized invoice numbers — all without you having to lift a finger. It couldn't be easier! Want to learn more? Contact us today to set up your free demo.