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Invoicing clients

At what point do you invoice your clients?

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I work in a practice where we have a few various ways of invoicing our clients: be it time (old school I know), value billing, quarterly, annual, etc.

A client is changing accountants (no dramas) but we are finishing off their payroll up to the end of the tax year. I have told her what the expected fee will be in April 2020 (when we will have finished our supply of services). We won't be billing her until the we have done the work. This may be alien to some of you?

We post our time, produced WIP, then create the bill (either time or value) and write out the WIP at the same time.

I therefore cannot produce an Invoice for the client now as we have not done the work yet as our system does the bill and write outs the WIP at the same time.

We have only been acting for this client for 14 months, but did two years accounts. I am wondering how her old accountant invoiced her: as in before the work was done?

Can anybody give any insight to their procedures please?

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By pauld
26th Feb 2020 13:27

what does your original fee quote say and how much has been billed to date? I think the final bill might be - Quoted fee less paid to date = final bill, or have I over complicated it.................................

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By lionofludesch
26th Feb 2020 13:41

I like to bill when I've completed a particular task. It doesn't always happen like that but I like to think that the money in the bank has already been earned and is mine to spend - as opposed to being for work I haven't done yet.

Hasn't always worked out like that and there are some clients where I'd rather be paid up front. But, over the years, I've not had many bad debts.

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By pauljohnston
03rd Mar 2020 10:40

We now collect the majority of our fees monthly.

Looking back and in your case I would send an interim bill now - list the services and time to date. make sure it says interim and mention that a final bill will follow.

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03rd Mar 2020 11:17

I tend to send invoices out with the completed accounts & returns for approval. By doing so, it acts as an invitation to the client to make payment, when returning the approved pack of documents (whether that is by post or electronically)

For ongoing or advisory work, as an old boss once put it, whilst the tears of appreciation remain in the clients eyes.

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Hallerud at Easter
03rd Mar 2020 12:51

For me it was always on completion and generally after everything had been lodged with HMRC/Companies House etc, but I had few clients, all of whom I knew really well and that gave comfort I was unlikely to be stiffed for the fees

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