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7 Min. Read

How to Send an Invoice via Email

Most invoices today are sent by email because of the benefits emailing provides, but mail is still often used. Invoices can also be generated and sent via an accounting software program, or hand delivered by a vendor at the same time a product is delivered or a service has been concluded.

Here’s What We’ll Cover

How to Send an Invoice via Email

Why Send an Invoice via Email?

Should I Mail an Invoice?

How Do I Make an Invoice?

What Information Needs to Be on an Invoice?

How to Send an Invoice via Email

How to send an invoice by email will depend on the type of computer you’re using (PC or Mac), and of course, the email program. For more details on this, please consult “printing an invoice”.

Why send an Invoice via Email?

There are a number of benefits to sending an invoice via email. They are:

Emailing an Invoice Is Free

No more stamps, no more envelopes and less paper to buy. These costs can add up over the life of a business.

Emailing an Invoice Saves Time

No longer do you need to find and address an envelope, add a stamp, go out to a mailbox, and drop it in. Instead, simply attach a PDF of your invoice to an email, and send it.

With mail, depending on when you drop the invoice into a mailbox, up to a day can be lost while the mail awaits pickup. Then there’s weekends and holidays where mail can’t be delivered. Lots of time is wasted with this method. As a result, even a local address can take up to a week or more to see your invoice arrive.

Emailing means there’s no chance your invoice will get “lost in the mail”.

It Makes the Invoice Delivery Trackable

The moment you hit “send” on your email program, there’s a record of you sending your invoice. You can just go into your “sent” folder to see the date and time of your email.

In addition, before sending the email, you can also request a “delivery” receipt or “read” receipt. A delivery receipt notifies you when your email has arrived in a client’s inbox. The read receipt is when the client actually opens it.

It’s Convenient

An emailed invoice is much easier to access than a paper one, filed away in a drawer. If a vendor is talking to his client on the phone and a question about an invoice comes up, the vendor can just instruct the client to check his emails, or the vendor can re-forward it immediately.

Emailing an invoice is also particularly handy if a vendor is on a mobile device and doesn’t have access to a desktop or laptop computer to call up the original invoice. Say a client asks “what did you charge last time?”, the vendor can simply go to his sent mail, and access the information.

It Speeds up Payments

Let’s say you email your invoice. Now, your client has it a full week faster than it would have taken via mail. Now he has to get it to the accounting department to start the payment process.

Many companies have introduced digital accounting software to their workplaces, meaning employees no longer have to print, sign and code an invoice – now they can do what needs to be done online. With a few button clicks, an invoice can be coded, approved and transferred into a company’s accounting software program. Now there’s no time wasted with interoffice envelopes containing physical invoices being sent down to the accounting department. Because the invoice was emailed, the payment process can now start sooner too.

Should I Mail an Invoice?

There’s nothing technically wrong with mailing an invoice to a client, however, there’s a reason that mail is called “snail mail”. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Mail is Slow (Con)

The whole process of sending an invoice via mail is slow. There’s extra supplies and work needed to get an invoice ready to be mailed, and then once dropped in a mailbox, it has to be picked up and transported to a depot, sorted, and put out on a delivery run. Your invoice could get delayed or even lost.

You Business Could Be Considered Obsolete (Con)

Technology is everywhere today. By sending your invoice the old-fashioned way, it sends a message that maybe you’re not digital savvy. This could affect future business coming your way.

Mail Gets Opened (Pro)

Mail is becoming such a rarity in the workplace that it is very likely to be opened. The act of receiving mail always feels special to the recipient. Upon opening your invoice, the client now has a physical item that he must deal with. As such, unlike an email, there’s little chance that your invoice will be forgotten about, or not processed.

How Do I Make an Invoice?

You can make an invoice any number of ways (please see the next section for what should go into an invoice). Here are some options:

Create an Invoice in Word or Excel

You can simply create your own template. You would update the relevant information every time you needed to create a new invoice. The drawback with this method is that often old information is not updated. For instance, a vendor sends out a new invoice with an old invoice number on it. Now the client has two invoices with the same number, resulting in a delayed payment.

This does not mean you can’t use this system, you just have to double-check the invoice before you send it, to make sure it is completely updated.

Find an Invoice Template Online

This is the simplest, and most cost-effective way of making an invoice. It means most of the work is done for you. You don’t need to ‘design’ anything at all, you just download the template to your desktop, and update it with the relevant information. Although this saves you some time initially, it does present the same problems as above in that you must ensure the information is always accurate, when updating.

Use an Accounting Software Program

Although this will incur you a monthly fee, there are certain advantages to utilizing a software accounting program. The software will provide an invoice template that you can customize and enter your details into, and the system will also automatically update certain information (like invoice numbers and dates) every time you create a new invoice. It can also classify and keep track of your expenses, which can be a help at tax time.

Some accounting software, like FreshBooks, offer a one-month free trial. This means you can check out the software first, and see if it meets your needs, without committing to a monthly plan.

What Information Needs to Be on an Invoice?

The following information should be included on an invoice:

  • Date of invoice
  • Invoice number
  • Vendor details:

• Contact name
• Company name
• Address
• Phone number
• Email address

  • Client details:

• Contact name (typically the person who placed the order)
• Company name
• Address
• Phone number
• Email address

• Quantities
• Unit prices

  • Date that the products were delivered or services were provided
  • Subtotal
  • Taxes
  • Grand total
  • Payment terms (when payment is due and the acceptable payment methods, for instance, PayPal)
  • Late fee warning
  • Payment options

Including the above information when invoicing is almost as important as how the invoice is presented. It needs to be clear and concise, so it’s easy to understand without you needing to explain it. In other words, the client should not have to hunt for the information, because the font size is too small, or information is jumbled together. This will allow for quicker processing.

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