The invoice number is the second most important number on the invoice. An identifier is provided by systematically assigning a unique number to each invoice. You can use this identifier to search your computer for invoices when customers ask questions about invoices or to find a physical copy of an invoice in a file. As long as you end the number with a unique contiguous identifier, configure the invoice number in the way that best suits your needs.
What is an invoice number?
A number assigned to identify the invoice uniquely. It usually appears at the top of the invoice document, so it’s easy to see both the invoice recipient and the company that provides it. Invoice numbers allow business owners to organize, classify, and systematize payment processes clearly and intuitively.
When you help run a small business and regularly work with other businesses, you probably need to track a lot of money. That’s where invoices and invoice numbers come in handy. Following the invoice number format best practices detailed below, the billing system can be one of the best assets for managing deposits. The main question is how to number invoices, so here are some points to help you understand your invoices.
1. Invoice serial number
Most business accounting programs use serial numbers for invoices by default. Sequential invoice numbers are the basis for creating unique invoice numbers. The invoice number generator will generate numbers starting with the number “1” unless you disable it. For example, if you want a 5-digit invoice number, you can replace “1” with “10,000”.
The software will automatically assign the following invoice number “10,001”. Also, most software will warn you if you try to enter an invoice with a duplicate invoice number. To manually create a serial number for your invoice, use the list of serial numbers. If you use a number, make a note of the name of the customer who assigned the invoice number and the amount of the invoice.
2. Time series numbering of invoices
Assign invoice numbers in chronological order. For example, format the invoice number generated for the June 30, 2017 customer number 4,072 invoice as 20170630-4072-00. The first series of numbers is the date, the second series of numbers is the customer number, and the third series of numbers is the unique contiguous identifier of the invoice.
If you want to generate a second invoice for that customer that day, the invoice number will be 20170630-4072-01. Use the date format of your choice. Alternative date formats include 06302017, 120630, and 063012.
3. Start with the customer number
Start with your invoice number and customer number, and provide a second way to identify your invoice as belonging to a particular customer by looking only at the invoice number. This method is similar to the time series numbering method. The invoice numbering system based on customer number starts with that number.
Two examples of customer 4072 are 4072-06302017-01 (customer number, date, serial number) and 4072-0001 (customer number, serial number). If you do not use dates, use more digits for the sequence numbers so that you do not run out of unique sequence numbers quickly.
4. Start with the project number
Use the project number as part of the invoice number if you want to identify the project to which the invoice belongs by looking at the invoice number. This invoice numbering method is beneficial for construction companies and other companies that undertake projects. In this case, the project number is one of the most important numbers. The invoice number starts with a unique project code followed by a date.