Invoicing – how to get paid
Who are your clients? Will they pay in cash at the end of each treatment session? Or will you also provide services to businesses?
When a client pays at the end of a treatment session, or even in advance, you may choose to give them a receipt. This states that payment has been received together with details of the service provided and the amount.
Sometimes, clients will be referred to you by rehabilitation companies or insurers, who will be responsible for paying. Or, you will provide services to businesses such as for medico-legal reports, therapy for the employees of a company, or training for other professionals. In these cases you will usually need to send an invoice after the service has been provided.
Invoicing: the facts
This is what you should include on an invoice...
- the word ’Invoice’ clearly displayed
- the date of the invoice
- a sequential invoice number
- your private practice name, address and contact information
- the name and address of the client
- a description of what the invoice is for
- the date the services were provided
- the amount being charged
- the total amount owed
- when payment needs to be made
- how payment can be made (bank account details and reference details for electronic payment, or cheque)
Are you VAT-registered?
Make sure the VAT amount is shown separately. Your invoice must also include your VAT registration number. Find out more about VAT here.
What you need to do if you want to get paid on time
You can take steps to avoid payment delays by:
- agreeing with the client in advance about how long they have to pay (for example 30 days)
- providing clear terms and conditions on your website and sending them directly to clients
- sending invoices to the right place: make sure you know who the accounts team are
- including clear information about payment terms and how to pay on the invoice
- keeping records about when you sent an invoice and when it is due for payment
- sending a statement of account when invoices become due
- putting the following wording on your invoice: "We will exercise our statutory right to claim interest and compensation for debt recovery costs under the Late Payment legislation if we are not paid according to our agreed credit terms."
Find out how to deal with bad debts here.
Can’t I ask for payment in advance?
You certainly can, especially for individual (private) clients. Alternatively you could ask for immediate payment at the end of a treatment session. However, sending an invoice (giving your clients credit) is usually something that is expected in the business world.
Some private practitioners do ask for payment in advance regardless of the client - you just need to bear in mind that NOT offering credit could lose you business. If you decide to do this, you will need to send a proforma invoice - a document containing most of the information on a standard invoice, but sent in advance of the service being provided.