You can manage the invoicing of your company’s customer with online invoicing, electronic invoices or paper invoices. Regardless of the invoice type, make sure that the invoices include all information required by the Value Added Tax Act, such as the sum and due date. Store the invoices for the period of at least six years. If a customer does not pay for an invoice, send them reminders to make sure that they pay.
You can manage your company's invoicing personally, or leave it up to your accountant or accounting firm, for instance. If you make your own invoices, you must ensure that they comply with provisions. Invoicing always follows the same principles and provisions, whether dealing with online invoicing, electronic invoices or paper invoices.
When preparing invoices, you should make sure that customers will understand that the document is an invoice and cannot mix it with a promotion or advertisement, for instance. You can draw up the invoice in any language that the customer understands.
If you invoice a customer regularly, you should agree with them on a case-by-case bases on how often you will send them invoices. For example, you can send the invoices at one-month or one-year intervals.
Send the invoices to your customers in good time, at least two weeks before the due date for consumer customers. This provides the customer with enough time to check that the information on the invoice is correct and ask for further information if necessary.
Submit the invoices to your company’s accounting and store them systematically for at least six years, for instance in the order that they were recorded.
The invoice must be as clear and unambiguous that it will be easy for the customer to pay it. To ensure that the invoice meets the criteria for clearness from a perspective of consumer customers, the included information must include at least
- amount of money payable
- due date
- what is being invoiced
- your company’s contact details
- what will happen if the customer does not pay the invoice in time.
The Value Added Tax Act also requires noting at least the following on the invoice:
- invoicing date
- consecutive invoicing numbering
- your company’s business ID
- your company’s name and address
- the customer’s name and address
- the date of delivery of the product
- the price exclusive of tax
- the tax rate
- the amount of tax.
Also note your company’s account information or some other information on how the customer can pay for the invoice.
You may also need to include more mandatory information on the invoice, for example if the customer is a foreign national or if the invoice is an amended invoice replacing the original invoice. In some cases, there may be fewer requirements for the information included in the invoice, for instance, if your company only rarely invoices customers.
An online invoice is a bill you can prepare in an online bank or with an invoicing software, for instance. It is transferred for your customer’s approval through the online billing operator. Online billing is available for your company through your bank or companies providing online billing services, for instance.
Not all online billing services check that the invoice contains all information required under the Value Added Tax Act. Therefore, always check that your invoice complies with the provisions. Also include your company’s and your customer’s online billing address on the online invoice. If your company has customers abroad, check from your online invoice operator that its online billing service can be used by foreign customers.
If your customer is a company, it has the right to demand electronic invoicing. The aim of online billing is to maintain the invoice in machine language throughout the invoicing process. Make sure that the online invoices are included in your company’s accounting. Invoices in an electronic format are also suitable for taxation, so you do not have to print out online invoices.
Provide your customers and partners with your company’s online billing information after you have introduced online billing in your company.
When making purchases, the central government of Finland and possibly also certain large organisations require the suppliers to send their invoices as e-invoices in accordance with the European standard on e-invoicing. In practice, this means that you have to use the recent 3.0 versions of the Finnish e-invoicing standards. In many cases, an update is also required in the invoicing systems.
If a customer fails to pay for an invoice by the due date, the late payment interest starts to accrue immediately after the due date. You do not have to separately notify your customer of this.
Send a reminder of the payment for the customer at the earliest 14 days since the due date. If the customer still does not pay the invoice, send a second reminder at the earliest 14 days since the previous reminder. If the reminders are unhelpful, you can turn to a collection agency. Alternatively, you can already leave sending the reminders up to a collection agency.
If the customer says that they have not received the invoice, provide them with information indicating that you have sent the invoice to them in time and to the correct address. If you are unable to present this information, you cannot require the customer to pay the late payment interest.
If the customer pays the invoice after the due date but without the late payment interest, you may submit a demand for the payment of the interest within a reasonable time. For example, 14 days can be considered a reasonable time.