commercial invoice

Chapter 20

How to Make a Commercial Invoice?

Author: Riddhi Patel

Jul 17, 2020

Simple Steps to Make a Commercial Invoice

Business owners with global customers need to make a commercial invoice for custom purposes when they ship out products. A detailed description of what is being shipped can be used to generate commercial invoices.


Simple Steps to Make a Commercial Invoice

If you are looking at the definitions, you will find out that commercial invoices can serve as a billing structure of your price as a business owner. With it, your customers can make payments when they receive it.

To learn how to create an invoice, here’s what you need to know:

Here, you’ll find a step by step guide on how to create a commercial invoice

  1. What is a Commercial Invoice?
  2. The Reason Why the Commercial Invoice is Issued
  3. Is a Commercial Invoice Needed to Ship Documents?

To create commercial invoices, these are applicable steps for you to follow:

  • Download a Commercial Invoice Template

To create commercial invoices for your organization, first of all, you need to download and personalize a suitable template for your businesses. A typical example of a commercial invoice format is used by FedEx, or the United States Department of Commerce.

  • Type in The Seller’s Correct Details

Include your businesses’ contact information that could be reached, like company name and address, email, and phone number.

  • Type in Customers Details

The next thing to do is fill in the correct information of the buyer or the company patronizing your business. Information to be included are the contact name, and address (official location) of the buyer or company’s contact, shipping address if it is not the same as the billing address. You can also have the customs official’s address or location.

  • Put a Unique Invoice Number

All your invoices should have unique identification in the form of numbers and codes or either. The best way to number an invoice is through sequential identification. Your first invoice number should be 001, and other numbers on the sequence will follow.

  • Add The Customer’s Reference Number

Aside from having an invoice number on the export documentation, add a reference number to the invoice before sending it.  The reference number on a commercial invoice is provided, so you can identify the customer you’re dealing with when there’s a complaint or when there’s the need for the buyer or company to contact you.

  •  Add Your Sale Terms

Sale terms are any information on the risk and cost you and the buyer is taking when going into business. When there’s a complaint on sales by the buyer, the initial agreement on terms of sale will serve as legal proof for you as the buyer because the seller has been notified beforehand. But you also need to include it in the commercial invoice templates.

  • Include Your Payment Terms

To avoid issues of payment, let the customer understand in the invoice what your policies and terms of payment are. Have the terms of sale that have been agreed upon by you and your customer. It can appear on the purchase order, applicable taxes, customs duties, and total value, but your payment terms on the commercial invoice samples will serve as a friendly reminder.

  • Include Your Preferred Currency

On the invoices, let the person be aware of what is the purpose and currency you want to be paid with for the total value. It should have been agreed before going into business with the buyer, so there won’t be confusion or delay in payment. If you live in the USA and you’re selling to a customer who lives overseas, your preferred currency will be US dollars. You also need to mention bank account details to guide customers to make the payment.

  • Indicate The Shipment Method

Your commercial invoices must indicate how you’re shipping the products over to your customer, maybe by surface shipping, air, or ocean.

  • Indicate The Quantity

Your commercial invoices should detail the products in the quantity of purchase, unit value, and shipment.

  • Fully Describe The Items

A complete and detailed description of all the shipped items is to be written in the billing document used. This bill should consist of the appropriate measurement and name of items, type of packages they’ll be delivered in, the container type if applicable, total weight, unit value, and quantity of the items.

  • Add The Unit OF Measurement

The measurement of the items should be expressed in the same unit throughout, including the weight of each item and overall net weight.

  • Include The Price And Value

The grand prize of all the goods in the shipment should be written out as well as the total commercial value of the products.

  • Note Package Signs And Marks

Marking or symbols on the shipment should be noted in the commercial invoice form. If the boxes or packages are much, you can name and label them to help the client understand better.

  • Add Additional Costs

In case there’s an occurrence of miscellaneous cost, include it in the invoice form with clear descriptions and a packing list. Miscellaneous maintenance, security, and transportation cost should also be noted.

What is a Commercial Invoice?

A commercial invoice process is a legal documentation process between the buyer and the seller, importer, or exporter that shows the details of goods and for a shipment. It serves as an agreement document used between both parties and is always detailed.

What is a Commercial Invoice?


Why the Commercial Invoice Issued?

A commercial invoice process is useful for the following situations:

To understand the condition and details of the goods being bought and sold between the buyer and seller.

  • The buyer needs a commercial invoice to send a payment for the goods bought.
  • If an insurance claim is made by the buyer against the goods that are already insured, a commercial invoice is a legal document to prove them wrong or right.
  • For the goods to be cleared by the buyer’s country customs officials, a commercial invoice needs to be presented to them.
  • The true value of goods and services is assessed with commercial invoices, and it is most needed by government officials for custom duties.

Is a Commercial Invoice Needed to Ship Documents?

Commercial invoices are only useful for the supplier who is creating an invoice for the exports of goods and services with commercial value. For clarification’s sake, typed or written commodities, do not have commercial values and are regarded as documents.

Any commodity that is regarded as document needs no commercial invoice for international shipping and doesn’t need any shipping documents that is the reason for export. Only products with commercial value require a commercial invoice for customs purposes.

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