What is an Accounting Invoice?

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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 January 2020
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An accounting invoice is a bill that lists the details of the products or services delivered to a client by an individual or company. Invoices typically include the number of items delivered, the description of services, the price of each item or service, and the delivery date, method, and address. Other details generally listed on an accounting invoice include account number, invoice date, invoice number, purchase order number, payment due date, and payment address. An accounting invoice may be delivered in person or sent via mail, email, or fax. To simplify the invoicing process, contractors and companies often use computer-generated invoice templates.

The purpose of an accounting invoice is to deliver the notice that money is owed. A company that delivers a particular product or service will generally follow up by issuing an invoice to the client. The accounting invoice will typically contain all of the details that a client needs to issue payment. A detailed invoice serves as a guide for both the provider and the client through answering questions related to the products and services delivered. If a client receives an invoice charging him a higher per-item price than he expected, he can use the information on the document to discuss the discrepancy with the invoicing company.


Many individuals and companies will keep accounting invoices after payment has been received. In the case of a small business, for example, some expenses qualify for a tax write-off. Saving the invoice is a necessary part of tracking expenses and providing backup documentation in the event of a tax audit. Large businesses will generally keep copies of accounting invoices for the same reason, whether in hard copy form or in electronic format.

The format and design of an accounting invoice varies from company to company. An independent contractor might write his own invoice by hand, including only a few pieces of information. Most large companies use computer-generated invoice templates that automatically fill in important details, such as the company name and address, payment address, payment policy, and other details that do not change from invoice to invoice.

An accounting invoice may be delivered using a variety of methods. A contractor who performs work on a house may hand-deliver an invoice upon completion of the job. Many companies mail invoices to customers. Some companies invoice their clients through email. In other situations, customers opt out of receiving an invoice each month and, instead, visit a company’s website to view invoices.



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