administrative country by nature. This feature can sometimes give us a hard time as an entrepreneur, as the tasks to be performed are often complex and time-consuming. However, this is also what allows us to be able to undertake business with complete peace of mind, assured that we have a maximum level of legal certainty and a protective legislative framework. And for this, it is necessary to follow a number of procedures, especially in terms of drafting documents. Hence the interest in using compliant and efficient invoice and quote models. Explanations.
The invoice is certainly the most famous commercial legal document. It consists of a document issued by a seller or a service provider which certifies the supply of products or services. It also constitutes evidence in the event of a dispute and must be kept by the seller as accounting and commercial proof. Be aware that an invoice must always be issued in 2 copies, one to be kept by the customer, the other by the buyer, and that if you doubt your ability to write it, you can use this invoice model for example.
Do not confuse invoices and estimates. The second is indeed a document that aims to offer prices to a customer. In principle, a quote is a contract that, if accepted by the client, will set out the obligations of both parties. The wording of this document must therefore also be precise because once you have sent the proposal, you will be required to apply the terms if your interlocutor accepts it. This is why the use of an estimated model can constitute interesting security!
Mandatory information to include on your invoices and quotes
If the drafting of invoices and estimates is so essential and must be the subject of so much meticulousness, it is because it is constrained by many criteria. The invoice must in particular include mandatory information such as a date, an invoice number and a purchase order number. The seller and buyer concerned must also be precisely designated, in particular the SIRET number or the company name of the companies. Finally, there should also be found the quantity and description of the goods or services with their unit price excluding VAT as well as any discounts offered.
In the same way, the quote must also include certain mandatory information. It is also recalled that an estimate is a contract and that it is, therefore, necessary that it respects the legal requirements imposed. Among these, let us mention in particular the information relating to the company, the mention "quote", the contact details of the customer, the date of issue of the quote, the total price, as well as the rate of VAT, travel expenses and the cost of labor if necessary. To this, it will of course be necessary to add the description, quantity, designation, and price of the products or services offered.
How do properly write your administrative documents?
As you will have understood, the drafting of invoices and estimates requires great attention, as there are so much mandatory information to insert. It should also be understood that personalization is absolutely necessary to avoid any legal risk. Writing an invoice or quote for each customer and updating the invoices monthly or quarterly is, therefore, an extremely time-consuming task.
Fortunately, there are a number of invoice templates and quotes online, which can help any business to limit the time spent on administration.
Invoices are tools that can be used as legal evidence in the event of a possible dispute with a customer, while quotes commit you to them. In addition, a quote can also serve the image of your company, because if it is well written, clearly displays the rates, and shows your organization, it will at the same time be a powerful marketing tool. Writing these essential documents well is therefore a necessity and the various models available online are there to help you, and most often for free!
Limitation periods and risks when drafting invoices
The invoice is a document that certifies the supply of products or services. As such, it constitutes legal proof that must be kept, in particular by the seller who will be able to show the judge that he has indeed provided the product or service to the buyer if the latter refuses to pay. However, you should know that any invoice has a limitation period beyond which, if no procedure is initiated, the buyer will no longer be obliged to pay the amounts due.
This limitation period is set at two years for consumers, while if your client is a professional, then the limitation period is set at five years. In both cases, the period granted begins from the end of the payment period specified directly on the invoice. So be sure to make sure it is specified for safety! In addition, be aware that if you do not produce an invoice to carry out a transaction, the fines can be very heavy, up to 75,000 euros for a natural person and 375,000 euros for a legal person. Moreover, this fine may also be applicable to professional clients where applicable.
The importance of getting organized to grow your business
The drafting of invoices and estimates, therefore, involves many risks for companies. First of all, it is an extremely time-consuming task, especially for small businesses and freelancers, who can only rarely afford to mobilize employees permanently on the administrative side. The invoice and quote templates will then be very useful to them, not only to save time but also to avoid data entry errors, which could have serious consequences.
In fact, invoices and quotes are an essential asset for legal protection, but they can also cause problems if they are poorly drafted. A good organization must necessarily be designed to reduce internal risk and the use of pre-drafted invoices and quotes ensures, at least in part, that you are not inflicted with possible long, costly, and stressful legal procedures in the event of a dispute with a customer.
Who are the online invoice and quote templates for?
Invoices are essential documents, which must establish the legally valid character of a transaction. All professionals are therefore concerned. From the self-employed entrepreneur who works alone and must take care of everything to the large transnational company, equipped with an army of administrative services, each actor in the economic landscape is required to produce invoices. But it is clear that the smaller a company, the fewer human resources are available to write invoices and quotes. It is surely to them that the online models will therefore be the most useful.
Finally, let's talk a bit about the specifics of certain invoices or quotes. It is indeed important to choose your online model carefully, in particular, according to the type of structure to which you belong. It may occasionally happen that a non-profit association has to invoice a client. The invoice will then be the same as any other, except that it must include the mention “Association exonerated from commercial taxes”. Similarly, it is quite possible to produce a paid quote, but this must be clearly specified!