Getting paid on time

This is the key to staying on top of your cash flow. Here’s how to keep the money you’re owed flowing in, whether you're contracting, a sole trader or running a business.

If someone doesn’t pay their invoice you’re left financing the cost of the work until it’s settled — which can be costly if you’ve paid for materials or staff to do the job.

Sending invoices and chasing debtors is part of getting the job done.

Creating an invoice

On each invoice you need to include:

  • your business name
  • your customer’s name and address
  • the invoice number, date sent and due date
  • a description of the goods or services provided, for example, date, quantity, rate and hours
  • the amount payable
  • payment details, for example, your bank account or a credit card payment slip.
  • a buyer’s reference (many buyers request their suppliers to include purchase order numbers or other reference numbers).

Taxable supply information for GST

From 1 April 2023, the requirement to use tax invoices has been replaced with a more general requirement to provide and keep certain records known as taxable supply information.

The rules set out the minimum set of records required to support the figures in your GST returns.

The definition of taxable supplies and how you calculate GST has not changed, only the rules relating to invoicing and record keeping.

Find out more about rules for taxable supply information on the IR website.

Taxable supply information for GST(external link) — Inland Revenue

Get started with our free invoice template [DOCX, 19 KB]

Taxable supply information is only needed for supplies worth more than $200.

Taxable supply information is only needed for supplies worth more than $200.

But it’s a good idea to keep these for your records — and if you want to make a claim. 

Tax invoice informationTaxable supply information for GST(external link) — Inland Revenue

Send invoices promptly

Don’t procrastinate. Send the invoice as soon as the work’s completed, while it’s still fresh in your customer’s mind. Consider the fastest way to invoice your customers, whether in person with a mobile EFTPOS machine or electronically using accounting software.

Consider using eInvoicing for invoices sent to other businesses - where invoice information is sent directly between buyers’ and suppliers’ financial systems, even if these systems are different. It improves accuracy and security, reduces process time and speeds up payments.

Your invoicing software may already be enabled for eInvoicing. Go to for more information, including how to get started.

eInvoicing(external link) —

Invoicing tips


Tips to help you get paid on time:

  • Talk about cost estimates up front — even before you start work it’s good to set expectations with your customer.
  • Confirm contact details — you need to be able to get in touch with the person paying your bill.
  • Keep details clear — make sure your invoice has a description of what was provided, when it was provided, plus the cost, due date and payment terms.
  • For a job that doesn’t take long to complete, invoice as soon as the work is done — the value of the job will be fresh in your customer’s mind. The longer you leave it the lower the invoice priority.
  • If you’re doing work over an extended period of time, you might consider a phased approach to invoicing. For example, if a project will take six months to complete, you might split the total invoice into three payments to be paid at the beginning, middle and end of the work. This keeps the money coming in and could offset some of the risk to your business.
  • Offer flexible payment methods — does your customer have a preferred way to pay bills? Offering options will make it easier for them to pay.
  • Check in if the due date is looming. A phone call or email can help make sure your bill doesn’t fall off the radar. 


Advice on systems that can help

Expert view

Expert view

Warning signs of missed payments

If someone who owes you money is in financial stress, you’ll probably notice changes to their payment patterns, says Anna Chartres of Christchurch law firm Lane Neave.

“They’ll be deviating from your standard credit terms and conditions which they may have previously complied with. You might see that they are slow on payments, you have cheques which are being dishonoured, and that’s an early indication that something might be awry,” she says.

“Make sure you have terms and conditions of trade in place. If you’re supplying goods, it’s a good idea to grant a security over those goods and say that title in the goods — the actual ownership of the goods — doesn’t pass until you have been paid.”

Chasing debtors

If invoices aren’t paid on time:

  • Keep a record of who has outstanding invoices and how long these are overdue.
  • Follow up as soon as possible — the longer you leave it the easier it is for your customer to forget or ignore your invoice.
  • Have a process for what happens when, for example, an email reminder two business days after the due date, and a follow-up phone call if you’ve had no response after a week.
  • Keep these early reminders brief and courteous.
There are services and online tools that can help you manage your debtors. Find out what works for you.

There are services and online tools that can help you manage your debtors. Find out what works for you.

Common mistakes

Avoid these common invoicing pitfalls:

  • Leaving too much time between completing the job and sending the invoice.
  • Not keeping clear records or contact details of who owes you money.
  • Not having a process for what to do if a customer doesn’t pay.
  • Leaving it for months before you get in touch with debtors.
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