Using psychology and design principles, the wording, layout and color of your invoices can be tweaked to subtly encourage on-time payment.

Here are 5 of the latest best practices for creating a compelling invoice:

1. Color Scheme

While you should definitely include your standard branding coloring on your invoices, you should also use some psychology to encourage on-time payment. Blue is associated with trustworthiness, while  turquoise is the best color for attention-grabbing words such as “second notice.” Turquoise is not frequently used by other businesses, so using it will help you stand out that much more. Another great option is purple, a color highly favored by women. The darker shades of purple signal competence and firmness. Colors to avoid? Orange, yellow and brown, as both men and women dislike them.

2. It’s All About The Heading

Title the outside of your envelope and top of the page “Invoice” in bold letters. This will help your piece of paper fall into the right inbox, “to do” bin, or ideally, the right person’s hands from the moment it gets delivered. Also, include your company name and logo on the next most prominent line; people are more likely to remember images and logos than just words. If the invoice recipient immediately remembers your business dealings, they are more likely to pay promptly instead of first sorting through records to jog their memory.

3. A Sugar Sweet Signature

Include a headshot of yourself (or the head of the company) in the contact details. This creates similar psychological pressure to your physical presence. If you personally sign the invoice, the recipient will feel compelled to pay; it’s like you’re personally asking them for payment.

Easy-to-find contact details will be crucial if your customer has any questions, so be sure to list a direct number to someone who can answer any billing questions quickly. Studies have also shown that including “thank you” in your signature increases the likelihood of on time payment.

4. An Itemized Listing- Every Time!

Be sure all products or services are clearly itemized. A detailed list will save time wasted by your customer asking additional details. Just as your logo will help your customer immediately recall your business dealings, so, too, will an itemized listing.

5. The Perfect Payment Terms

Be sure to clearly and boldly state that “payment is due within X days.” It’s also a good idea to include a warning about your late fee policy or explain that interest will be charged for late payment. When your customer is prioritizing invoices and yours comes with a late fee, it will get bumped to the front of the list. You should also consider including a 10% discount for early payment. Studies have also shown that if you include “please” in your request for payment, customers are more likely to pay on time.

The most influential factor to getting paid on time is offering a variety of payment options. The greater number of payments options you provide, the more likely your customers will pay quickly. Online or digital payments are highly preferred. If you don’t accept credit cards, try online services such as Google Checkout or PayPal.

So, there you have it! All the best tips and tricks to really making your invoices count! Best of luck with your accounts receivable management.

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