A woman in a stripped t - shirt sits on a chair and talks to a man in a white t-shirt, also sitting on a chair. They both have notebooks and a pen.
Ben Fredericks with Claire Feeley (BC) at Unlimited Welcome Day 2017, at British Council. Photo by Rachel Cherry

The Basics: Invoicing

In the second instalment of our blog series for artists ‘The Basics’, with the first – ‘Agreements and Contracts’ – published last week, Unlimited’s resident debunker Fiona Slater looks at the basics of writing an invoice. Exciting? Probably not. Indispensable? Absolutely.

 Although invoicing may not necessarily be the most exciting aspect of your life as an artist, they are essential in getting paid for work you’ve carried out, things you’ve sold and services you’ve provided. Compared with the theme of the previous post ‘Agreements and Contracts’, the prospect of invoicing isn’t so daunting, but there are a few things you need to remember to ensure the process is as streamlined as possible.

The following is a list of standard items to include in every invoice; they are also items you need to look out for and ensure are present when receiving an invoice. If you set up an invoice template you can add in the following details which then remain the same for each new invoice:

  • Your full name, address and telephone number, or those of your company (keeping in mind that these will need to be updated if and when they change)
  • UTR – your Unique Taxpayer Reference. This is an important 10-digit number that every taxpayer has, regardless of whether you are registered self-employed or PAYE (pay as you earn), and should be included if you are invoicing as an individual, not a company. If you are just claiming for expenses and not income earned, you may not need to supply a UTR – check with the person or company you are invoicing if you aren’t sure
  • Your bank details (or other information needed to make a payment to you). Remember to highlight how you would like to be paid – by cheque or by bank transfer
  • Its good practice to include ‘terms of payment’, specifying how long after the invoice date you require payment – standard is 30 days after the invoice date
  • Any other relevant information, like your VATor company registration number if you have one

The following items should be included on each invoice and amended with the specific relevant information:

  • The name and contact details of the person who is paying you (usually the person commissioning you to do a piece of work)
  • A short description of the work undertaken
  • Date the invoice is sent
  • An invoice number (if you are sending a number of invoices it acts as a quick reference check)
  • If claiming for expenses, you will need to include receipts (original or potentially copies as agreed in advance in the contract / procurement)

A little tip – you can legally charge interest on unpaid invoices to encourage organisations to pay up! Make sure you include a sentence which highlights this is your policy. If you are not paid within the terms highlighted on your invoice, send a new invoice with interest added.

That’s about it. Particularly with artists, many aspects of invoicing usually fall through the net – so please be extra diligent when you next send or receive one. Good luck!