Difference between Bill and Invoice

Key Difference: There is no difference between a bill and invoice, both refers to an itemized statement of money owed for products sold or for the services that are provided from the seller to the buyer.

We often hear words like 'bills' and 'invoices', as they form an important part of our everyday's transaction. We go to a buy a product and the bill is handed over to us. Similarly the invoices of products are provided by the seller to the consumer. We may often think that why sometimes we get bills and sometimes invoices. Bills and invoices may sound different but actually they refer to the same things. These words are used often in our lives. One can easily get confused that they both are referring to different things but there is no difference between them. A bill can also be known as an invoice. They are very important for any transaction between the seller and the buyer.

Oxford Dictionary defines the origin of the word invoice from the plural of obsolete invoy, from obsolete French envoy from envoyer meaning 'send'. An invoice is bill that is issued by the seller to the buyer, stating the products, quantities, agreed prices of the product or service that is being provided to the buyer. An invoice states the sale transactions only. Payment terms are also mentioned on the invoice stating how and when the buyer is expected to pay, or if the buyer has already paid money in advance. A due date is also mentioned indicating the number of days the buyer has to pay the money. Sometimes, sellers also offer a discount if the buyer pays the amount before the due date.

An invoice contains: the word invoice, a unique reference number, date of the invoice,relevant tax payments, name and contact details of the seller, name and contact details of the buyer, date that the product was sent or delivered, purchase order number, description of the product/service(s), price of the product/service(s) total amount charged and payment terms. An invoice is usually sent after the products/services are shipped or performed. Original paper based invoices have been replaced by electronic ones. The same definition applies to bills too, as bills and invoices are same.

These bills or invoices are very important as it is a legal proof and can be challenged in case the things defined in the bills and what the customer gets from the seller, are not same. Similarly, if the payment is not received against the bill, then the seller can lodge a complaint against the buyer. Sometimes, invoice as a word is preferred in terms of business. However, this does not apply every time. It is thus, the choice of seller to use the word bill or invoice according to his suitablility. However, it would not change the meaning of either. They are just two different words indicating the same thing.

Image Courtesy: invoicetemplatez.org, en.paperblog.com

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