Invoices are important business documents. We examine an example invoice and explain what information you must include on your business invoices.
Most invoices follow a straightforward format. It’s generally a good idea to stick with these conventions, as in our example invoice. You can be fairly sure your customers will be familiar with them. Your business invoices must include these essential pieces of information:
Your invoice format:
- Key information
About the invoice itself:
- The word ‘invoice’
- A unique ID number
- The invoice date
- About your business:
- Address and contact details
- Correspondence address (if different)
- About your customer:
Name and address
About the charges:
- Description of what you are charging for
- Date the goods or services were provided
- Amount(s) being charged
- Total owed
- Limited company invoice format
If your business is registered as a limited company, you must also include:
- Company registration number
- Which part of the UK your company is registered in
(England and Wales, or Wales, or Scotland, or Northern Ireland)
- Invoice format for VAT registered businesses
If you’re VAT registered then you must include some extra information. Our example invoice shows this too.
- VAT registration number
- The amount of VAT on each item
- The VAT rate charged on each item
- It’s worth familiarising yourself with the other rules about VAT invoices if you’ve not created one before. GOV.UK has a good, simple summary.
Other information to include
Strictly speaking, your business invoices don’t have to include these pieces of information. However, adding them may make your invoice easier to understand and help customers pay you more quickly:
Your bank account details, for direct payments
Any other payment options (for instance, can customers pay by card?)
Your payment terms (how many days do customers have to pay you?)
A purchase order number, if your client has provided one
Finally, it’s not a bad idea to put a message to your customer thanking them for their business, just like on our example invoice. It never hurts to be polite.
Because business invoices are a very common business document, you may wish to add some branding. Consider including your logo and choosing a layout, colour scheme and formatting to match your brand.
Consider invoice software
Most packages have built in invoice examples, which you can edit and change to meet your requirements. They’ll generate your customer invoices for you, inserting the correct details automatically and creating the invoice format you require.
For more information on running your business and business invoices, visit our small business centre.