Billing vs Invoicing: Spot the Difference

Want to request payments from your clients?

So what are you planning to issue, a bill or an invoice?

Are you confused about which one to use?

We know, both may sound the same, and many times people use the terms interchangeably making you indecisive.

But, don’t worry!

You are not alone in this. It is one of the most common struggles for small startup businesses.

And science, we want your business to grow, let us share the difference between billing and invoicing with you.

‘Invoice’ and ‘bill’ are the two most popular terms that always confuse businesses, customers, and accountants. However, there are many differences between both the commercial documents —invoices and bills.

In this blog, we have mentioned the key difference between the two words —bill and invoice. It will help you make your billing process smooth by understanding the different purposes of a bill & invoice. Moreover, This will make you receive the payment easily from your clients. So, keep reading until the end of this blog.

So,
Let’s get started with the invoice first.

Definition of an Invoice

The actual meaning of an invoice is the legal document issued by a business owner to its client that summarizes the goods or services along with the details of the total sum of money they owe.

An invoice serves as the professional request for the collection of money.

It is issued after completion of the service or a milestone of the service, or after the ordered product has been delivered. Most commonly, it contains the following details:

  • Date of the completion of the service, or the goods purchased.
  • Payment terms, costs per unit, shipping charges, and any other terms related to the sales transaction
  • The due date for the payment

In other words, an invoice lists down the goods or services sold to the customer and mentions the amount owed.

For example, the plumber you hired issues you an invoice for his/her services that you have to process and pay within a previously agreed time limit.

Now, let’s understand what a bill is.

Try our free online invoice generator today!

Whether your business is in construction, landscaping, consulting, photography, auto repair, or the medical field, invoicing takes way too long. That’s why we’re here. InvoiceOwl makes your invoicing faster and simpler so you can get paid promptly and without the hassle.

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Definition of a Bill

A bill refers to one kind of commercial document that outlines the total amount a customer owes for the products and services and is printed or written as a small statement of the charges.

It is received by the buyer when the seller is expecting them to pay immediately.

  • Businesses send a bill before the payment to get paid faster.
  • A bill serves as a record of goods and services sold rendered as a reminder of one party’s indebtedness.
  • When a customer receives a bill they need to make a payment immediately.

In other words, the term bill means the document received by customers that informs about the total amount to be paid on the spot.

For example, the restaurant sends you the bill for the dinner and you have to pay it before you leave the restaurant.

Now that we have understood both the invoice and bill, let’s keep them side by side and spot the differences.

Invoicing vs. Billing: Difference Between an Invoice and a Bill

Although both terms (invoice and bill) are often used interchangeably after the purchase order, some major differences set invoices and bills apart from each other. We consulted experts in the invoice finance industry and the following is the comparison chart for better understanding the main differences between the two.

Criteria Purchase Invoice Sales Invoice
Use of the term It is the term used by businesses that are collecting payments from their clients. While the customer pays the accounts payable, they usually refer to the invoices as bills.
Purchaser’s information Invoices usually include detailed client information. Bill may or may not include detailed customer information.
Credit time limit Invoices have an extended credit limit and the customer pays a few days after receiving the invoice for a product or service. You can bill immediately, with no extending credit limit.
Payment confirmation Invoices need receipts to confirm the payment. Bills confirm the payment and do not need receipts.
Handling Invoices are issued by the vendors Bills are received by the buyers
Addressee An invoice is issued to clients A bill is issued to customers
Common examples Lawyers, accountants, and wholesalers tend to send an invoice to a customer. Bills are usually given at restaurants or salons.

Did you see how many differences both have? Now that we have differentiated invoices and bills, your invoicing process will get finer. And to give it an extra edge let’s give you a few invoicing tips. So, here we go.

Tips For Making Better Invoices

Tips for making better invoices

  • Pick a good billing and invoicing software (take a free trial before paying) that justifies the services provided.
  • Use appropriate accounting software to keep track of paid and unpaid invoices.
  • Assign appropriate invoice numbers
  • Verify contact information and total amounts for immediate payment.
  • Establish payment terms and refund policies for different products provided to avoid confusion in the later stages.
  • Take outside help if needed for creating the invoices, for accounting purposes, or for collecting money from defaulters.
  • Switch to online invoicing. It makes your invoice processing faster and more accurate.
  • Mention available methods of payment, such as credit card, debit card, online payments, and offline payments.

Generate Invoices and Bills with InvoiceOwl

InvoiceOwl is one of the best invoicing software used for automating your entire invoicing process. It helps you create and manage

  • Bills
  • Invoices
  • Credit memos
  • Purchase orders
  • Sales reports
  • Estimates

And much more on your smartphone.

Therefore, if you use the InvoicingOwl app, you will never get confused between bills and invoices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are invoicing details?

The details included in a sales invoice document are invoice date, address, line items, applied taxes, discounts, payment terms, amount, due date, payment instructions.


Can a bill be an invoice?

Yes, it can be. Once the invoice is generated and sent to a customer, it is now a bill for the customers to be paid.


How can I distinguish between a bill and an invoice?

First of all, you need to check out the title of the document. It would read “INVOICE” or “BILL”, which will clear your doubt.


What is the difference between billing and invoice in SAP?

An invoice signifies the delivery of goods or compilation of services. Whereas, the bill confirms the payment.

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Conclusion

Now that you know the key features and elements of invoices, it is easier for you to generate your own invoices for your customers. It is the most important thing that this process will help you to receive payments faster, manage finances, streamline workflow and also reduce any mental pressure regarding customer’s payments.

We at InvoiceOwl always try to provide you with ideas, trends, tips, advice, and more information on invoicing. Our tips for creating better invoices will help you to ace your invoicing game.

So, download the InvoiceOwl app TODAY!