How To Design an Export Invoice

Collection of payments owed is the most important part of any business. In the export business, it is a vital part in ensuring profitability and cash flow. Proper collections will ensure that your exporting business will be kept afloat. This is why designing and creating an export invoice needs to be planned out. Each country that you export goods to will have various standards and requirements that you will have to adhere to, so that the export invoice sent to your customer in the particular country will be accepted and processed.

  1. Research the standards for each country. Each country has its own way of doing things. Nothing is universal. Before preparing your export invoice, make sure to do some background research on the standards, requirements, and paperwork for each country that you export to. In this case, you will need to confirm the country information of your customer. There are various ways to do this. The easiest way is to consult your credit manager in designing the export invoice for a particular country. These experts are already well-versed with foreign practices in terms of collections and invoicing. You may consult with various agencies in the specific country for the procedures and accepted standards of invoicing in their country. Another way for you to learn the standards of the country is by actually asking help from your customer. They can tell you how to properly prepare the invoice to adhere to the certain standards and practices in their corner of the world.
  2. Prepare the invoice in the country’s native language. Although English is widely used for most global business transactions, many countries will still require invoices to be printed in their official language. When preparing the invoice, you can use someone fluent in the language to translate your English invoice to the specific foreign language. Some invoicing software provides multi-lingual invoice preparation and printing as well. Regardless of method, make sure to send invoices that are translated to the relevant language in the country.
  3. Create a clear declaration. The importing country will have its own procedures and criteria to adhere to in relation to declaration. Make sure to display the declaration exactly as the standards of the import country. You may retrieve a sample to serve as a guide from a customs broker or the import country’s trade office. These agencies will be the organizations that will check the declaration as well so make sure to follow the policies to the letter.
  4. Prepare your certification documents. The import country will be on the lookout for all pertinent certification documents relevant to your export and invoice. In the transaction with your customer, part of the process will be the customer sending you a letter of credit, which is a written assurance of payment upon delivery of goods. Make sure to include this and other pertinent documents in your invoice. It is important that whatever is written in the letter of credit pertaining to the goods in the transaction is written exactly and clearly on the invoice as well. Any difference will result in major problems.

These are some of the critical information that you will need to keep in mind when preparing and designing export invoices for a particular country. Each country does business differently so be careful. Since you are in the exporting business, make sure to hire people that are experienced and very familiar with this process.


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