16. Timesheets & Invoices
As a contractor, you will be required to fill in timesheets detailing the work you have done for the Client, and the number of hours or days you have worked in a given time period. Your manager or team leader will typically authorise your timesheet.
Timesheets may be paper based, or more usually now online. These will allow online timesheet creation and verification followed by the automatic creation of an invoice.
Most agencies and clients will require an invoice to accompany each timesheet, detailing the total amount owed for services performed, plus V.A.T (if your Invoicing Company is VAT registered). Some of the larger agencies also offer a self-billing option where they create an invoice on your behalf when they receive your authorised timesheet. Payment times can vary from agency to agency, although most of the larger ones tend to pay promptly (some within 7 days). Fingers crossed, you shouldn't experience any payment delays, but if you do - chase up the agency/client.
It is important to keep your timesheets and invoices up to date, ensuring they are sent in at regular intervals. If you run your own limited company then you are your own 'finance director' as a contractor, and in charge of your Company affairs. The responsibility for these matters resides with you. This may seem to be a 'downside' of contracting, but things tend just to slot into place and these tasks will become second nature after a while. Umbrella Companies generally perform these administrative tasks on your behalf.
Editor's Note: You can download our free invoice template here.