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Get paid on time: Avoid these 5 common SME invoicing mistakes

by Sable International | Sep 30, 2015
  • Many SME owners face delays when they try to collect the fees that are due to them. These late payments are often caused by mistakes which were made at the invoicing stage. Our accounting team has put together a short list of tips that will help you draw up your invoices correctly.

    Get your VAT right

    Ensure that you charge the correct amount of VAT for the correct items. Be clear with your client which items are zero-rated and which are reduced-rate. If you have a VAT number, be sure to furnish the client with it.

    In our experience, a lot of invoicing errors are VAT-related. These issues are relatively easy to solve; if you are unsure of any VAT related issues, please do not hesitate to call your accountant.

    Client details

    If you get your client’s personal or business name wrong, you will have to issue a new invoice. This is not only unprofessional and far from best practice, but it will cause a delay in payment.

    When your client owns multiple businesses, take care that you identify the correct business on your invoice.

    Describing your service

    Be very clear when you describe the services that you rendered for the client. If there is any ambiguity, or if the description is vague, the client may dispute your charges. 

    Clients typically pay numerous contractors and SMEs every month. If your invoice is not clear about what you are billing the client for, they will likely query the charge, delaying payment.

    Double check your price

    If you have changed your prices recently, make sure that the prices included on your invoice are the prices you have agreed to charge the client. It is not unusual for small businesses to make mistakes at this stage, so it is important to confirm that your pricing corresponds with the amounts appearing on your invoice.

    Make payment as easy as possible

    Clients are more likely to pay you quickly if you make the payment process easy. Make sure your payment details are clear and easy to use; ensure that you have a range of payment options available. If there are any barriers to completing your payment, you should expect to run into problems.

    If you own a small business and have any queries related to invoices, get in touch with our SME accountants. You can also call us on +44 (0) 20 7759 7553 or email us at

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

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