What is “net plus thirty” on an invoice?

Had an interesting experience this morning. I sent a standard email invoice to a client company (whom I shall not name) that included the line
Payment: Net Plus 30
Soccer Red Card, courtesy of howstuffworks.comHis response was “is that who you want the check made out to, Net Plus 30”?
me: “no, those are the payment terms: I am stating that I want to be paid within thirty days of receipt of my invoice”
he: “Wait, so you want to be paid the amount you billed us plus 30?”
me: “skip the “net plus thirty” and just ask accounting to process my invoice, please.”
Now, I’ve been doing business – including processing invoices and purchase orders – for a long time, so for me, an invoice that says “net + 30” or similar is well understood. It’s basically saying “don’t pay me in three months, please. Just issue the darn check.”
Obviously, though, that’s not common parlance, at least not with the organization to which I sent the invoice this morning.
Which leads to my question: how much jargon, how many common catchphrases or acronyms, do you use in your daily correspondence that aren’t being clearly understood by your recipients?
A great example of this, of course, is with culturally-contextual metaphors. If I say “that’s a home run!” would you understand? Probably, if you’re in the United States of America and are at all familiar with baseball. But if you’re not? If you’re in Madrid and are obsessed with soccer (which you’d call futbol) or if you’re in Mumbai and are a cricket fanatic? There a “red card” or a “sticky wicket” would make sense, but then most Americans would be completely clueless about the reference and its implication in your communication.
That’s your exercise for the day: pay attention to how you’re communicating with others and ask yourself the question what metaphors, what jargon am I using that might be getting in the way of clear communication?
Do it right and I promise you, it’ll be a touchdown. 🙂

2 comments on “What is “net plus thirty” on an invoice?

  1. Clarity is important when stating terms on an email invoice for payments to be received in a timely fashion. The less jargon that’s used or assumed, the better it is for a business to be lucrative. A service to consider is: http://www.orangepoint.net

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