This section deals with the invoices that you yourself raise, when you charge your clients. It ensures that invoices are processed correctly and that the proper controls and procedures are in place to prevent fraud from happening. Remember, this is what you send out when you are asking for money, so please make sure that it is professional and that all the figures are added up correctly and the spelling of all the names of transactions and/or services are listed in chronological order – it makes no sense to list what you did on the 5th of the month and then after that list what you did on the 1st! Think carefully about what you are doing – if you are not 100% sure in your head, jot it down on a piece of paper first. It might be a good idea to use your diary to record not only what your movements and/or appointments were but also what you did and for whom – be sure of your facts – imagine how embarrassed you will be if you charge Joe Soap for the stuff that you did for Jo Bloggs! If you have several clients that you are working with simultaneously, it might be a good idea for you to do a monthly schedule for each client, which you need to fill in on a daily basis (while the memory of what you did is still fresh). A copy of a monthly worksheet is available at an additional cost.
1. If you use invoices that are pre-numbered or alternatively have a reference number (other than your own) make sure that all the numbers are there and that they run sequentially. If, for example you are issued with a batch of numbers and one is missing, you will be held accountable for that missing invoice – so make sure that you received it in the first place. If you are using a pre-numbered reference numbered invoice, don’t use that number as your reference number. Have your own unique invoice number, if you want it to reflect only your business – then personalize it – instead of 001 have IA 001 (INTERNAL AUDIT 0001). If you have an accounting package the computer will automatically generate your invoice numbers sequentially.
2. Use a register to help ensure that you do not have any missing invoices (in the case where you are using invoices with a pre-numbered reference number, it will also ensure that you use your own invoice numbers sequentially. A copy of a register is available at an additional cost.
3. When an invoice is cancelled, for whatever reason – make sure that it is marked “cancelled” and that you keep all of the copies. If, for whatever reason, you are being audited by the SARS or even for your own accountant/bookkeeper, you have proof that the invoice was in fact cancelled and that you haven’t tried to do anything illegal or fraudulent.
4. Check from time to time that the sequence is correct and that nothing has been missed or lost – it will save you a lot of time when you are sending your documents to the bookkeeper/accountant/auditor. Sign on the spread sheet when you have checked this – this will show you when last it was done and will also prompt you to do it on a regular basis. Again, prevention is always better than cure!
5. For those of you who are in business units and/or a Franchise type agreement, have copies of your invoices been forwarded to Head Office by month end. It may be a good idea, just to send them as and when you raise them – why wait until the end of the month?
6. On your invoice, record that payment is required within 7 days from the date of the invoice, or COD, or whatever your arrangements may be. It is a good idea to have the 7 day statement on all invoices other than COD ones, as there are many companies who do not necessarily have cheque runs on specific dates and they may very well issue the check on presentation of the invoice – this means that the money could be in your account before the end of the month.
7. When you receive payment for an invoice that you have sent out – record “paid” on the invoice and the date that it was paid, and if you have more than one business account – state the account that the payment has gone into – this will prevent problems when you have a query, especially if the payment has been made months after the invoice has been raised and presented. Update your invoice schedule, so that you can see immediately when there is a problem, if someone hasn’t paid you or if they have paid you short.