You can also organize an invoicing system that will help you determine when an invoice has been paid or needs payment. Avoiding duplicate invoice payments and having all your invoices paid promptly keeps your business running smoothly. A few extra steps are required for payments made to a duplicate invoice number. Ideally, you want to revise the duplicated invoice number and send this revised invoice to the payer. In writing, both parties agree that payment will go to the new invoice number. For very strict institutions, such as banks, you’ll want to refund the money, cancel the duplicate invoice, and re-issue it properly.
There are several types of invoices that are used for different purposes, in different industries, and with different legal statuses. Types include the proforma invoice, commercial invoice, or final invoice. Simply ordering invoices from “1” can get confusing as you scale up your operation. The next invoice number should be a sequential number that’s easy to keep track of.
- An invoice number helps you track multiple invoices sent to clients to indicate payment is due.
- If you issue three separate invoices to one customer, the invoice numbers won’t necessarily be sequential for that client since another company may be issued an invoice in the interim.
- Invoice numbering should be a system in which each number is a unique identifier — not just for invoice numbers, but all forms of business tracking.
- How you formulate your invoice number sequence is purely based on personal preference.
The example to the right is a less common way of numbering invoices, but technically speaking, it works the same. An invoice number is used as an identifying and organizational feature on an invoice. Invoice numbers can help a business keep track of its expenses and incoming payments in an organized manner.
Therefore, each payment is verified against the respective invoice without human intervention. Finom’s clients don’t have to think about how to generate their invoice numbers. Invoice numbers aren’t limited to sequential or chronological invoice numbering systems.
Receive your financial superpowers
This is a huge relief when your invoice numbers reach double or even triple digits. FreshBooks’ invoicing system helps you track old invoices, avoid duplicate payments, and prepare for future invoices. It may be easier to discover invoices with invoice numbers when you need them. For example, you could need to respond to a client inquiry, confirm payment status, or refer them to your accountant. Invoice numbers, regardless of the nature of the work, the identity of the same client, or the cost of the project, give a handy way to look up and identify individual invoices.
With every new invoice number, you’re getting confirmation that people value you, want to work with you, and love what you do. And on every invoice, there’s a reminder that nearly two-thirds of people wish they could be doing what you’re doing. Keep your invoice numbers logical and straightforward, and leave the gimmicks behind. Working as a freelancer or small business owner is a dream for many. A recent survey by Vistaprint found that almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents wanted to be their own boss.
Managing business transactions beyond the invoice number
Beyond helping you get paid faster, having a straightforward invoice number system helps you at tax time and if you are ever audited. You’ll have clear records of all your transactions and will be able to share any documentation easily. The information contained within the invoice number can include the date, customer’s name, project number, and chronological sequence number of the invoice.
- For instance, if a project is numbered as 183, an invoice linked to it could be , , and so on.
- It is commonly presented as a unique identification number, often preceded by the word “Invoice,” “Bill,” “Purchase Order,” or another similar term.
- Here are some common mistakes to avoid when choosing your invoice number system.
- Ideally, you want to revise the duplicated invoice number and send this revised invoice to the payer.
The invoice number should always be clearly stated on the invoice – without an invoice number, an invoice is not considered a legal document. Invoice numbers are one of the most important aspects of invoicing as they ensure that income is properly documented for tax and accounting purposes. They also make it easier to track payments and manage overdue invoices. Always place the clients’ names and the total amount owing on a separate sheet when time-consuming manual numbering.
Free receipt templates
If you issue a duplicate invoice number, the solution depends on where you are in the payment process. If you catch it before sending the invoice to the client, change it and send it to the customer. If it’s sent but not yet paid, send a quick email or make a phone call to inform the customer you’ll be sending a new invoice with the corrections made. For tracking purposes, invoicing software will tell you when a payment is overdue. At that point, you can easily reference any invoice numbers when you reach out to the client to check on payment status. It’s best to speak to an accounting professional about what to do with invoice numbers from prior businesses.
That is because every new invoice should have a unique number generated to help sort and identify invoices in an accounting system. QuickBooks automatically assigns simple and intuitive invoice numbers, making your payment history easy to search. Because of your well-organized invoicing system, you can quickly check your records for the particular invoices previously billed to your client.
Four Primary Methods for Generating an Invoice Number with Examples
For example, your first client’s third invoice might be 1003, and your fifth client’s first invoice might be 5001. Jason Ding is a seasoned accountant with over 15 years of progressive experience in senior finance and accounting across multiple industries. Jason holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and is a designated CPA. Jason’s firm, Notion CPA, is an accounting firm with a business-first focus. In his free time, you’ll find Jason on the basketball court, travelling, and spending quality time with family. Let’s use our old friend Hollywood Limousine Services again for this example.
Want More Helpful Articles About Running a Business?
With SumUp Invoices, it’s easy to keep track of your invoice numbers. As proforma invoices are not ‘true’ invoices, they shouldn’t be assigned invoice numbers. With the basic invoice number pitfalls out of the way, you can beef up your business and keep living your best freelance life with these tips.
Using numbers and letters
Letters can also be used to distinguish invoices from other documents, such as credit notes or quotes. Otherwise, there are best practices and general business norms, but ultimately it is up to your business which numbering system you choose. Invoice numbers make reviewing invoices and accounts generally a lot simpler. Failing to accurately keep track of invoices is particularly important when it comes to overdue invoices.
What is an Invoice Number?
An invoicing system is a simple but important tool to help you do just that. Once you have a good invoice number system, your business and your clients will benefit from the clarity and convenience it brings. Besides assigning invoice numbers to each invoice, the following information is all essential to add to each invoice. Separator characters also help avoid mistakes caused by the type of errors sequential numbers and letters can cause. The first step to achieving this is to devise a clear and efficient invoice numbering system.