CPA and blogger Angela Williams brings us another instalment in her series on accounting for food bloggers. Income, expenses, doing your taxes … they can all send shivers down the spine of even the most experienced cook or restaurant reviewer. But Angela breaks it down and shows us that bookkeeping for your food blog doesn’t have to be hard at all! Today she introduces us to the nuts and bolts of invoicing clients.
Now that tax season is behind us and you hopefully came out relatively unscathed, it’s time to start planning for next year. I know we’d all like to hide and pretend that tax season isn’t going to come around again, but it will. Putting in some extra time up front will save you tons of time at the end of the year. Not to mention, we’re already halfway through the year (yeah, I’d rather not think about it in those terms).
Depending on the types of work we do as bloggers, we’re quite often required to invoice a company. While preparing an invoice isn’t crazy difficult, and accounting software can handle the invoicing requirements for you, sites like Invoiced allow you to upload your company data to create free and professional invoices, like the sample invoice below.
What to Include on an Invoice
There are a number of items you should always be including on your invoice, as indicated on the sample invoice template.
Who You Are
1. Your company name (you may want to make sure this name matches the name your bank expects to see on the cheque as many Accounts Payable departments do not search through your invoice to see who the cheque should be made out to!)
2. Your address.
3. Invoice number - you can determine your numbering system; I use a combination of year and number, so 17-xx for all 2017 invoices. This may not seem too important but it makes it easier for Accounts Payable departments to reference an invoice number if they, or you, have any questions about its processing.
4. Invoice Date The date the invoice was created (this is typically stated in your contract).
5. Payment terms. All of mine are due within 30 days of sending the invoice. Again, refer to your contract. Many large multi-national food brands will only pay 60 or even 90 day terms but 30 is the most common.
6. Due Date that reflects the payment terms. While this may be seen as redundant, this will help you to know when you can expect payment, and also help your customer.
7. Client Name Be sure to address the invoice to the correct person/department as well as the brand's legal trading name. If you have a contract, this should be specified per the contract.
8. Fees for your services as outlined per your agreement. You can add multiple lines here should you have multiple services to charge for.
9. Taxes If you charge GST/HST it will be calculated here. You must always include your GST/HST number on all of your invoices if you charge GST/HST. The exception to this would be if the customer is considered GST/HST exempt. This is not something you should need to ask, as they will tell you and also provide you with sufficient documentation. If in doubt, charge GST/HST (if you don’t, you will still be responsible for remitting it to the CRA).
Additional Invoice Notes
10. Additional Notes I use the notes area to highlight any payment notes. I ask for all cheques to be made out to me, not my blog, and also provide my PayPay or eTransfer email address as I prefer those payments go to my personal email and not my blog email address. If you are working with an international company you may be required to provide additional banking information (account number, transit number, branch information and your bank's SWIFT code)
11. Project Notes Any additional information should be included in the terms section. This would likely be a copy/paste from the contract or may include a Purchase Order (PO) Number. If a brand provides you with a PO number you must include it on your invoice to insure your invoice is processed on time.
Using either accounting software (which I will cover next month) or a site like Invoiced can help you ensure all of the necessary information is included on your invoice, which will keep your customers happy and help you to get paid faster for your services.
More Invoicing Tips
Finally, make sure you always send invoices that are non-editable. By sending a PDF you can ensure the receiver doesn’t accidentally edit your invoice and pay you incorrectly.
And always be sure to keep a file of all of your generated invoices. Yes, even if you do use accounting software. In case of a discrepancy, you always want to be able to pull up what you sent.
- Accounting for Food Bloggers: A GST/HST Primer
- Accounting for Food Bloggers: What Counts as Income?
- Accounting for Food Bloggers: When & What You Should Expense
Accounting for Food Bloggers is written by Angela Williams, a CPA CA registered in the province of Alberta. During the day, Angela works for an oil and gas company in Calgary and in the evenings you can find her running the river pathways or relaxing with her two cats, Merlin and Charlie. Angela also writes and manages two blogs, Cowgirl Runs and Accounting for Bloggers. You can find her on social media as well, at Instagram, Twitter here and here, and Facebook here and here.