The ideal format for your Export or Commercial Invoice or your Export Packing List it the UN / SITPRO format which has been the acknowledged standard for many years and is recognised throughout the world.
The basic layout of UN / SITPRO documents is always the same based on the aligned system created many years ago. The top one third of the document deals with the commercial information such as Seller, Consignee, Invoice Number and other reference numbers, Freight Forwarder details, Vessel or Flight No, Port of Loading, Port of Discharge, Place of Delivery etc.
The next one third contains information about the items you are shipping and how they are packed. So you will need to identify the Shipping Mark which is shown on the package, which may simply be an address, together with a general description of the goods you are shipping and the weights and dimensions. This is followed by detailed information about the items you are shipping and what information you put here will vary based on the products you are shipping, the countries you are shipping to and what specific customers may require you to provide on your invoice. If for example, you are shipping medical supplies, you may need to show lot numbers and expiry dates on your invoices, automotive parts may have specific serial numbers, and if you are shipping rolls of carpet the widths and lengths will probably need to be included. Two very important items you will need to include on your invoice are the Tariff Code and the Country of Origin, which may be per line item, or per shipment if they all come under the same Tariff Code and/or Country of Origin.
And finally at the bottom of your invoice you may need to add special declarations together with the signature, date and place of issue of the invoice.
You are probably beginning to realise by now that the invoice you produce from your business system does not contain all this information and that you may need to create a different document. Before you start creating a Word template for each of these documents, you might like to consider other ways you can achieve this.
We can offer you various options, but which one is right for you will be dependant on the number of shipments you despatch each month, but all will eliminate the need to type the same data on multiple documents and so will minimise potential errors.
If you ship 50 or more shipments each month then you would probably benefit from a system which can take the invoice data you do have in your business system, and then allow you to add the extra information. You can do this with GTA Online and GTA Net, both of which will store the additional data that you use regularly and will allow you to key the shipment specific information. With minimal data keying you can create a wide range of export documents in addition to the Export Invoice and Packing List eg transport documents, and will also let you send data to Customs Services such as NES and EMCS, and to your Chamber of Commerce to obtain your Certificates of Origin online.
If you ship fewer than 50 shipments a month our e-z Consign online service will enable you to manage your shipment keying data once and then using it for whichever export documents you chose.
Whichever option you chose, you can be sure that you will be producing recognised and accepted export documents which are up to date with latest regulations. And the bonus is that if you want a Packing List, an ECSI, or a Standard Shipping Note, then these and many other UN / SITPRO documents can be selected without re-keying any of the data which is on your invoice.
You can find out more about these options a www.4-exim.com