If you are an exporter or a business owner offering to ship to another country, it's important to have appropriate documentation to ensure the success of every international delivery. A very important part of your export paperwork, aside from the pro forma invoice, is the export invoice (also referred to as a commercial invoice) which many governments use to control imports and validate the legal entry of your products to their country.
This document is required for all imports/exports and must provide authorities with all the necessary information regarding the merchandise being shipped. But you probably don't want to sit for hours to write and proofread each export invoice you issue. This is why having a well-designed export invoice template can greatly help reduce the time spent on this daunting task while covering all relevant information every single time.
Read on to find out the essential elements your export/commercial invoice must include.
Note: Use Bonsai's all-in-one product suite to create flawless commercial invoices and access many other tools to help you run your business like a pro. Come on board, we help you save time and focus on your passion, not your paperwork.
Essential Elements of an Export/Commercial Invoice Template
When creating your export or commercial invoice template, remember this is a legal document that must be filled out carefully to ensure all details are clearly covered. Including the correct elements on your template will avoid extra costs for delays, long hold-ups and even legal complications in the case of missing information.
Take a look at the essential details you must include.
Start your export invoice template with a section for your business information as the seller or exporter. Include your full name (or company name), phone number, street address, email and website, tax registration number, and appropriate licensing information. For a more professional commercial invoice, you can make space in the top left corner of your template to add your company logo, registered trademarks, industry-related imagery or any other branding element.
Next, include the recipient or buyer information (ultimate consignee), such as their full name, phone number, billing address, email and Tax ID. If applicable, add a separate line for an intermediate consignee such as a bank, custom broker, forwarding agent, etc. Add a customer ID number if you maintain a database to make it easier to refer back to the invoice for clarifications or returns.
Invoice Number and Date
You want to assign a unique invoice number to each export invoice you issue and the date when the invoice was created, which will help you keep your accounting records organized. You may also include an order ID number in this section for internal tracking purposes.
The next section of your invoice template is for all the shipment details needed for customs purposes. You must include the country of origin of the goods being shipped, the date of the shipment, means of transportation, shipping route, insurance, and final destination (shipping address).
Finally, add the Incoterm or terms of sale and reason for the products being exported (sale, inter-company, repair, etc...)
Detail of the Goods Sold
It's important to provide precise details of the goods sold as the export invoice will be used for customs declaration purposes. You must describe each type of product being shipped, the weight (with and without packaging), quantities, unit price, and measurements. Include as well the packaging information such as envelopes, boxes etc. Don't forget each type of product shipped must be listed along with its corresponding six-digit HS code and the total package amount.
If there are additional charges to bill your customers, add a section on your export invoice template to specify them. These could be shipping and handling costs, freight charges, insurance fees, special packaging, etc. Even if these charges were previously agreed upon with your client, you want to list them separately to avoid misunderstandings when assessing customs duties and taxes.
Total Order Amount
On the totals section of your export/commercial invoice template you will specify the total commercial value of the goods being shipped (some of the charges previously discussed), then add the applicable sale taxes and provide the total order amount. You must also specify the currency of settlement, which is the currency agreed upon between you (seller) and your client (buyer) as payment for the order.
Include a section at the bottom of your export/commercial invoice for your Declaration Statement. This legal certification is required by customs for all outgoing international shipments to affirm that the information you just provided about the shipment is true and accurate.
A standard declaration statement simply reads: "I/We hereby confirm that the information contained on this invoice is correct and true, and the contents, as well as the total value of this shipment, are as stated". This must be followed by your signature, title as the shipper, and date when the invoice is signed.
Depending on the type and origin of the goods being shipped, you may need an additional declaration statement such as a NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), or CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Use Our Free Export Invoice Template
If you don't have time to spare, but you're looking for an efficient and reliable invoice template, you can simply download Bonsai's free export invoice template which can be easily edited and personalized to fit your business needs. With just a few tweaks, you'll have the perfect template to create unlimited invoices maintaining consistency and professionalism in your exporting process.
Bonsai not only offers you specialized invoice templates, but you can also find endless administrative tools to automatically invoice clients, send payment reminders and ultimately get paid faster. Use our freelance accounting software if you need help tracking your business expenses, estimating profits, or just want to do your taxes with minimal effort.