6 Common Invoice Mistakes Accountants Make – and How to Avoid Them


Processing invoices may seem straightforward at first. It's just about checking the services or products documented and ensuring they align with what’s expected, right?

However, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Finance and Management, a staggering 39% of invoices contain errors. This just highlights the importance of being vigilant when processing invoices, as even small errors can lead to significant issues later on.

For accountants who handle numerous invoices on a daily basis, it’s imperative to understand these common mistakes.

Let's delve deeper into these errors, the implications they can have, and the best practices to sidestep them.

1. Incorrect or missing information

It's surprising how frequently this mistake occurs. An error in an invoice can stem from the person who issued it or the one processing it.

According to a study by Amalto Technologies, 61% of late invoice payments occur because of incorrect invoices. This indicates that inaccuracies in invoices not only lead to payment delays and disputes, but also cause significant frustration for stakeholders and can even escalate to legal complications. 

Think of the frustration of a stakeholder, ready to make a payment but finds discrepancies in the invoice.

Solution: Using Intelligent Data Processing (IDP) systems, can be a lifesaver. Such systems validate and cross-check invoice details to ensure accuracy.

Accountants should also make it a routine practice to update and cross-check client details in their accounting system to ensure accuracy.

2. General descriptions instead of detailed breakdowns

Consider an invoice with a vague item description like “Services Rendered.” The stakeholder, puzzled by this ambiguous description, contacts the issuer leading to disputes and related payments

Generalized descriptions on invoices can be a major source of confusion. Stakeholders might wonder, "What exactly am I being billed for?"

Solution: Every service or product provided should be explicitly itemized with its corresponding cost. Such granularity not only prevents potential disputes but also aids in maintaining a transparent relationship with a client.

3. Ignoring invoice numbering

Imagine trying to refer to a particular invoice without a unique reference number. It can quickly turn chaotic, especially when multiple invoices are in play.

Solution: A consistent and logical numbering system is key. Modern processing tools equipped with IDP can monitor invoice numbers to avoid overlaps or gaps.

4. Not setting clear payment terms

Unclear payment terms is an open invitation for delayed or missed payments. When dealing with numerous payments, clarity is king. Without clear details like Terms, Method, Due Date, Bank Account, IBAN, and SWIFT, the processing can get delayed or go wrong.

Solution: Explicitly state payment terms, such as the due date, any early payment discounts, late payment penalties, and accepted payment methods.

5. Neglecting tax details

Tax-related errors can attract legal complications and financial repercussions. For instance, processing an invoice from a different state can be challenging because of the different tax regulations.

Solution: Regular training or workshops on local tax regulations can be beneficial. Additionally, IDPs solutions can adjust to different tax regulations based on the state or region, ensuring compliance and accuracy.

6. Failing to follow up

Even the most meticulously crafted invoice can end up buried under a pile of paperwork or lost in a cluttered email inbox. With nearly 39% of invoices in the United States being paid late, it’s evident that late payments are a prevalent issue in the industry.

Without a proactive approach, such invoices can remain unpaid indefinitely.

Solution: A systematic follow-up process is essential. If an invoice remains unpaid past its due date, a courteous reminder can make all the difference.

Automated systems can be programmed to send reminders at predetermined intervals, ensuring consistency in the follow-up process.


While the task of invoicing might seem mundane or routine, its importance in business operations is undeniable. Mistakes can be costly, both in time and finances.

Some Intelligent Data Processing systems offer a solution to many of the pitfalls discussed. Invofox takes pride in being a holistic solution that is capable of providing solutions to all the aforementioned problems.

From validating and cross-checking invoice details to ensuring compliance with varied tax regulations, IDPs play a massive role in streamlining the entire process.

By being alert to these common errors and leveraging the power of IDPs, businesses can pave the way for a smoother, more efficient, and error-free processing experience.

Looking for a solution to enhance your invoice processing? Discover how Invofox can transform your invoicing experience.