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Creating Invoices - Best Practices to Know

Download the PDFPerson creating invoice documents

Invoicing is a critical part of the customer experience that is usually taken for granted. However, a company that bears this in mind when creating invoices can improve the experience and revenue by 4-8%. A better invoicing process can be achieved by following the best practices below for effective communication and accurate billing.

Simplicity

Make the invoice easy to read even with a simple glance. Do not add unnecessary jargon or include a layout that will increase the number of pages. While it is important to include all the necessary details, it is also best to make it short and to the point. This will avoid confusion and speed up processing of payment.

Maintain Branding Principles of the Organization

It is not just a matter of creating a document that will communicate what the other party should pay. Include careful thought when setting up the layout so that branding and marketing principles are perfectly followed. Logos, address, telephone numbers are some of the items that you should consider including as they also add authenticity to the document.

Include Reference Number and Date for Every Invoice

Navigating different invoices is made easy if they can be identified by the dates they were created as well as their reference number. It also makes record keeping easier for both the organization and the client. While human beings have names, invoices have dates and reference numbers.

Include Contact Person’s Name and Company Address

Sometimes the financial department may need to make clarifications about details in the invoice so the contact person’s name will help direct them. At the same time, for a smaller company or an individual, including the name adds personalization to the invoice. The company name and address make it clear that the invoice is for that company and not a mix-up.

Itemize Every Billing and Add Description

The client needs to know what they are paying for. Simply giving a total will not cut it. Itemize the billing so that everything is transparent. This builds trust and makes inquiries about billing easier to deal with. However, in the interest of simplicity, do not itemize every minute detail and do not add an entire paragraph explaining items. Clients simply want to understand the item, its unit cost, the quantity billed, and the total.

Terms of Payment

Ensure everyone is on the same page by including the terms for payment. This includes when payment is due, what the total amount is, and if there is any associated discount. In most cases, a client has 30 days to make the payment. The business may also send an automated reminder a few days before payment is due.

Add Payment Options

The client needs to know what options they have to make the payment. It is best to make it simple for them to pay so be flexible about the way they can make payment. Include different options and where possible, make it easy to effect the payment. For example, if they can pay using credit card, then include a link that will direct them to that option. Do not wait to be asked for details to make payments. This ensures quick processing of payment.

Show Appreciation

It's not all business and formality, be friendly and express your appreciation. A short note stating your appreciation for the business adds a human touch to the invoice and goes a long way in building lasting relationships.

Save Copies

Have a centralized place to keep copies of all invoices. This is important for reference purposes, auditing as well as creating standard templates. Most accounting software can easily store copies and make them accessible on the go.

Automate Invoices

Invoicing involves repetitive actions which can get boring and take up a lot of time. Automating the process helps you work faster as well as ensures adherence to best practices. You can create several invoices in a short time and you can be sure the data is accurate if you automate the process.

Windward offers the best automatic invoice generator that can help you create them in a matter of few seconds by using templates and dynamic data. Try us free before you buy for the next 14 days - download our free trial today.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

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Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

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Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

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Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

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Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

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Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

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PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

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Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

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Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

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Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

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Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Written by:_
Genesis Abel

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