UK Invoicing: Getting It Right

It may seem simple, but for many businesses, UK invoicing can be a tricky process, especially for those new to the UK’s tax and revenue system. But getting it right needn’t be difficult if you follow a few basic rules, as Glenda Tickle, relationship manager at Paul Beare Ltd explains:  

It’s really important to make sure that your invoice goes out in a timely fashion in order to help you get paid on time,” she says. “And if you create a checklist of information that needs to be included then your invoice should go through first time at the other end – which makes it much likelier to be approved and paid quickly.” 

“There are a number of details each invoice must-have, but of course the most important thing to include is the bank account details in order to receive payment,” she says.  

What should every UK invoice include?

Beyond that, Glenda says, every invoice should include the following:  

  • a unique identification number 
  • your company name, address and contact information 
  • the company name and address of the customer you’re invoicing 
  • a clear description of what you’re charging for 
  • the date the goods or service were provided (supply date) 
  • the date of the invoice 
  • the amount(s) being charged 
  • the date payment is due (whatever your standard company terms are – eg 14 or 30 days) 
  • VAT amount if applicable 
  • the total amount owed 

“It might also be a good idea to include the registered office details as a footnote at the bottom with the Companies registered number on – that may also be a good idea,” Tickle says.  

“And there is scope to devise a system that works for you. For instance: Numbering your invoices is an excellent way to keep track of your records (and avoid any issues with missing documentation). There are multiple methods of doing this, but all employ a sequence of consecutive numbersit may be that you use a code with letters and numbers.  

For instance, you could allocate different products or services different letters, then add in the day and month along with a simple counter system. For example, 20 P/12-3: 0023. In this instance, P for is parts, 12-3 for 12th March, the date of issue, followed by 0023 for the 23rd invoice you’ve issued so far in 2020.  

“In short, choose a system that is simple enough for everyone to understand and that will help you reconcile payments and make your record-keeping easier,” says Glenda. 

Ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure that your invoice has all the right details on it. Even though a lot of invoice processing is increasingly automated, having a good sense of what you need to include on your paperwork can save you a lot of headaches – specifically chasing vital payments – further down the line.  

If you would like advice on how to set up your UK invoicing then please contact us to find out how we can help your business.