State the due date on invoices

It can be rather complex for a customer to calculate the date on which an invoice is due. The customer must locate the invoice date (which could be located in one of several spots on the invoice), as well as the payment terms (which may not be located adjacent to the invoice date), and then calculate the due date based on these two items of information. Thus, if the invoice date is April 15 and the payment terms are net 30, then the due date to enter in the accounts payable software is May 15. In short, if the customer does not carefully examine the invoice, there is a good chance that the wrong due date will be entered, which impacts when the company is paid.

To make matters worse, most accounts payable systems default to the current date as the invoice date, and combines this with the payment terms stored in the customer master file to arrive at a calculated due date. Since the current date is always later than the invoice date, this means that the company will be paid late.

The solution to this problem is to state the exact date on which payment is due on the invoice, in bold large font, and in its own box in a prominent location on the page. Doing so makes it much less likely that the customer will ignore entering the due date in the accounts payable software. Better yet, do not list any payment terms on the invoice - only the due date; presenting less information makes it more likely that the customer will locate the due date on the invoice.

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