An invoice is a description of items or services rendered by a supplier to a customer. The invoice should always mention other items of the sale such as sales tax, purchase order, shipping, discounts if any, terms offered and total due.
Most companies also have legal language in reference to company’s collection policies as well as the phone numbers that a client can use to contact the company to make payment arrangements. Some suppliers have their invoices assigned to a lender so the payment instructions must be followed.
If a customer has utilized a purchase order to make a transaction, then the invoice reference the purchase order number. Most invoices come with their own individual identification number and all invoices should be dated, after all if an invoice is sold on credit terms it should have the issued date and due date.
It is important to mention that the date on the invoice is the date that the invoice was generated. It is not always the date of the transaction. That becomes important when it comes to determining when the invoice is actually due for customers with credit terms.
Is an invoice a legal document? An invoice is not a legally binding agreement by itself. If an invoice on its own was a legally binding document, then suppliers could create fraudulent invoices and then force their clients to pay them. If either party does not agree to the invoice, then it is not legally binding.
Suppliers require signatures from the client, or some other binding form of acceptance or acknowledgement before sending out a product or services. There has to be accountability and good communication between the two parties for a successful supplier/client relationship.
Once product or services are received an accepted by the client, the invoice becomes a legal instrument based on the terms of the sale that was agreed upon. The client is not bound to pay the invoice until the supplier has satisfied all terms of the invoice.