by Katy Mrvova
This post is written by our partner, Sufio. Sufio is the first automatic invoicing app for Shopify stores that wants to change invoices from boring pieces of paper to your new effective brand-building tools.
If you run an online store, you probably know that you always have to send invoices and receipts to your customers with every order you ship. Sending out official transaction documents is important for both yours and your customers’ accounting and tax purposes.
Many store owners struggle with their invoicing and find it an everyday hassle. If this applies to you, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll try and prove to you that invoicing doesn't have a to be a pain and that it can actually enhance your shopping experience and move your brand to the next level.
Why is invoicing important for your online business?
Unlike a receipt, which is simply an acknowledgement of payment and includes only limited information, an invoice (titled ‘tax invoice’ in some countries such as Australia or Singapore) contains information such as:
- Supplier info
- Unique invoice number, issue date, due date (in some cases delivery date)
- Supplier’s company identification number (VAT/GST numbers, ABN, etc.)
- Client details
- Payment details
- Client’s company identification number
- Supply details (Item names, description, quantities, unit prices etc.)
- Tax rates
- Detailed tax breakdown and tax amount paid
- Total amount
Now you might ask: Do I need this?
You’re partially right, in some countries, such as the US, proper invoicing is not mandatory when selling B2C within the United States.
However, there are still many countries, such as most European states, where you have to send invoices for all your online sales. Also, if you aim to ship internationally or offer your products to businesses, you need to create and send proper invoices.
Still, invoicing is not popular with many online merchants. It is mostly because manual invoicing is tedious and time-consuming.
Sufio invoicing app spares you the hassle by automatically creating invoices from every order in your store and sending them to your customers, also automatically. This saves you plenty of time and makes your invoicing a breeze.
You know what they say, only two things are certain in life — death and taxes. Yep, you have to charge them right if you don’t want to mess around with tax authorities.
An invoice is an official tax document every business has to keep in order if they ever got checked or audited by their local tax office. That’s why you have to make sure you display your taxes on your invoices correctly.
If your online store sells to both consumers and businesses, you have to keep in mind that invoices you send to your end consumers slightly differ from those you issue to your business customers. Aside from the usual, business invoices need to contain detailed company info, company identification numbers, and complete tax breakdown.
On top of that, in some countries, consumers and businesses need to be taxed differently. For instance, if you’re selling your products within the European Union, consumers should be charged VAT, whereas business customers with valid VAT numbers should not.
Many online merchants were forced to set up a separate store for B2B or manually refund the tax amount to their business customers after the purchase.
Sufio automatically captures your business customers’ VAT numbers, validates them and sets them as tax exempt. This means that your wholesale customer won’t be charged tax at the checkout and the tax won’t appear on an invoice created from the order.
How to create invoices for international orders?
Issuing invoices is particularly important when you're shipping your products globally. Tax authorities are especially alert on overseas sales and purchases which is why it’s best to always issue a proper tax invoice with your international shipments.
In many countries worldwide, it is even mandatory that businesses issue proper invoices for their international sales. Also, many merchants add invoices into packages together with packing slips and return forms.
Before you start selling in a particular country, you need to research what tax rules apply in that region and whether you need to charge taxes or not. The invoices you issue for such international orders have to be compliant with that country's tax legislation.
The tricky part is that every country can have a slightly different legislation. It can be quite a hassle for online merchants to manually customize their invoices to make them compliant. Sufio invoices are automatically compliant with tax legislations in most countries worldwide, so you won’t need to spend hours researching and customizing.
Also, international invoices can serve to boost your customer experience. Imagine you would send an invoice to your foreign customer in their language and their local currency. This doesn't only simplifies their accounting but is also that little something extra that makes a big difference.
Invoices as an effective branding tool
But have you ever thought about invoices in terms of design? Most online merchants don’t really think about the looks of their invoices and other documents they send to their customers.
But this is a lost opportunity in building a stronger brand.
In fact, invoices are a part of your branding experience.
Imagine you would be sending out beautifully designed invoices that would be in line with your brand’s overall design. Wouldn’t that make a better impression on your customers than a plain piece of paper?
Just compare a classic, boring invoice on the left with a branded one on the right. Look at how awesome your invoices and other documents such as packing slips could look like:
An invoicing app Sufio is soon launching a new version with several beautiful invoice templates you can customize according to your own branding style.
Interested in being a content partner? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at marketing @ easyship . com to start the conversation.