Is an invoice a contract?

An invoice is nota contract but a request for payment.

A contract represents an agreement between two or more parties.

It’s a legally enforceable document. An invoice is not a legal document. 

Most businesses use invoices and contracts, but they serve different purposes.

Both are important, and you should aim to write them professionally. You should also know the difference. 

This article will help you understand.

Invoice vs. contract

What is the difference between an invoice and a contract? This section will help you answer that very question. 

What is an invoice?

So, what is an invoice? You use an invoice to request payment from a client or customer.

There’s no set time for when you should send one.

Some businesses send invoices before beginning work. Some send them after they’ve rendered their services. It depends on the agreed terms. 

An invoice displays an itemized list of products or services supplied to your client. It shows the individual charges associated next to each item.

The invoice should include a total for all items combined.

Additionally, you should have a date by which you expect payment. You can also include options for how the client can make their payment.

Invoices can help you keep track of payments. They’re essential tax and accounting records. You must retain invoices for six years after the issue date for tax purposes.

What is a contract?

A contract lays out the terms of an agreement. It sets out the expectations and responsibilities of those that enter into it.

Contracts are legally binding agreements. There are consequences if one party behaves in a way that contradicts a contract clause.

The other party could file suit for breach of contract.

A contract doesn’t have to be written down to be legally binding.

However, written contracts are easier to enforce. Even with witnesses, it can be challenging to prove the validity of a verbal contract.

Written contracts protect those who enter into them. They help ensure service providers receive payment for their work.

They give clients peace of mind that they’ll receive products or services on an agreed timeline. They also state the work should meet an agreed standard. 

So, is an invoice considered a contract at all?

An invoice is not a legally enforceable document in the way a contract is.

An invoice doesn’t list rights and responsibilities.

It’s simply an itemized bill used to request payment for services rendered. 

It works the other way around too. A contract is not considered an invoice.

Therefore, for the purposes of taxation or accounting, a contract isn’t as useful as an invoice.

Paying an invoice may be a contractual obligation.

This would be the case if you and your client entered into a contract that included payment clauses. However, you don’t need to have a contract to issue an invoice.

Is an invoice a legal document in any way?

In and of itself, an invoice is not a contract. But it can be considered a legal document. It’s an official record of a transaction. 

Invoice issues can lead to legal problems.

Invoicing the wrong person or other mistakes can be costly. As such, an invoice can be admissible as evidence during court proceedings.

Document management software can help prevent errors in the first place.

Should it be necessary, you’ll be glad you’ve looked after your invoices.

Create your contracts with PandaDoc to hold clients accountable

Invoices and contracts are two different documents.

But they’re both critical, and a solid document management solution can help you keep track of both.

Streamline your contracting procedures with PandaDoc’s contract management software. Easily create contracts with ready-to-use clauses and use them again and again.

With PandaDoc’s Document Repository, you can also store contracts and invoices securely online. Sign up for a free trial today!