Common Invoicing Errors

Are your sales invoices up to scratch? Invoicing mistakes create a poor image and cause payment delays your business can’t afford. Common invoicing errors include:

Confused invoice format.

Your invoice must be legible and include all of the following details:

  • 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,

  • VAT amount if applicable,

  • the total amount owed.

Invoices that are too small, or hand-written, are especially difficult to read and more likely to confuse your customers. Ideally, your invoice should be designed for printing on a standard A4 page.

Wrong contact details.

You’re more likely to enter the wrong name or address on your sales invoices if you aren’t reviewing and updating your contacts. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) requires you to review and update your customer and supplier records on a regular basis.

Purchase order number incorrect or missing.

The customer may reject your invoice or delay payment if it doesn’t include the purchase order number. If you don’t have that number, check with your sales team or the customer before issuing the invoice.

No credit terms or payment instructions.

The three most important bits of information to communicate are:

  • your invoice amount due,
  • the payment due date,
  • your bank details.

Be sure to include these details on your invoice and make them stand out.

Arithmetical errors.

It’s easy to get the figures wrong when you’re processing a lot of invoices, or when you’re distracted or tired. Check your sums, then check again before sending the invoice.

Unclear product or service descriptions

Confusion may arise if you use jargon instead of plain English, for example. Avoid writing product or service descriptions that are too vague or require specialist knowledge to decipher them.

Charging twice for the same product or service.

No one likes being over-charged. Invoicing your customer twice for the same product or service is an embarrassing situation that’s likely to happen if you don’t have a sales system telling you who to invoice, when to invoice, and when to expect payment.

Forgetting to send invoices.

Issuing invoices late, or not at all, is a serious problem and a sure sign that you don’t have a reliable sales system in place.

What can be done to avoid these common errors?


Making the same invoicing mistakes again and again creates a poor image for you and causes payment delays your business can’t afford.

Here’s how to avoid them:

  1. Use accounting software to generate sales invoices that are legally compliant and easy to read.

  2. Review your customer records and check your accounting software settings periodically, updating and amending where necessary.

  3. Double-check the figures and complete all data fields on your invoice before sending.


Taking these simple steps to eliminate common invoicing errors will ease your cash flow and improve your customer relations.

Better still, hire a professional like me to do this work for you so you can focus instead on running and growing your business.

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