One of the most important things any business owner should emphasize is getting paid on time. Regardless if you’re a freelancer or small business it’s imperative to have an invoicing system in place that ensures your payments are on-time and your cash flow stays positive. There are many different platforms you can use to create your invoices and streamline this process. Regardless of which ones you use, keep these three tips in mind to make sure your invoicing system is efficient and effective.

1. Use a Template

Whether you’re using an online invoicing platform or your own custom template it’s always important to start with something. This will benefit both yourself and your client. It will save you an immense amount of time when you need to create and send new invoices. In addition, your clients will get used to your template format and will save them time as well when they are processing your invoices. Not to mention they’ll become more familiar on how to get your invoices paid and filed.

2. Organize by Numbers and Dates

This may sound like an obvious one, but many people fail to utilize this strategy properly. Each invoice you create should have a unique number or code attached to it. Typically they are a mix of a letter and a set of numbers. A good strategy is to number your invoices by clients. For example if your client is John Smith, you can number the invoice JS123. This way you can keep track of your invoices and reference them quickly at anytime. When creating an invoice there are a few dates that need to be available. First, include the date that the invoice was created or when the project was completed. This is imperative in keeping track of your outstanding payments. Although not necessary it’s highly recommended to include a “pay-by” date, so your client knows when you’re expecting the completed payment.

3. Itemize your Services

When creating your invoice, it is very important to be as specific as possible when listing your billable services and hours. The more specific the list is, the less confusion there will be with the client and the quicker you will get paid. Make sure to include the hours worked per item and the date. Make sure to also include any applicable fees or taxes as you want to be clear on all charges. At the bottom of your invoice, make sure the grand total stands out in bold and include any terms or conditions at the very bottom of the invoice.

Creating invoices for your clients may seem like a simple task. However, in order to invoice effectively there are a few things to keep in mind. Use these three tips when invoicing your clients, and you’ll surely be paid on time.

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I'm Chalmers and I'm the Co-Founder and CTO of Due.com.

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