Keeping your Amazon business organized will make it easy to manage all projects effectively. It will also help you understand your numbers as you scale your business. But there is another reason you need proper storage and filing system to keep track all your invoices. Now more than ever, Amazon is asking sellers for invoices from suppliers.
These invoice requests can be triggered by customer issues like complaints about product condition, quality, and authenticity. Sometimes, Amazon may even ask you for invoices even before your product has made its first sale.
This happens if Amazon’s algorithms detect that the item you’re selling will likely attract a complaint in the future.
Amazon has already established itself as a dominant force in the e-commerce space. Because of that, protecting the integrity of the marketplace is their driving force. Amazon doesn’t want to be known as the marketplace where counterfeit products are sold. To nip that growing fear, they need to establish that what you sell is new, safe and sourced from a legitimate supplier.
Keeping track of your invoices will help you easily track customer complaints and act as evidence should you face account issues like suspension.
Why do you need to have a storage system for filing your invoices?
Amazon is constantly enforcing strict policies to ensure the legitimacy of the marketplace remains. One of the policies is asking sellers to submit invoices from suppliers. Because of that, it’s vital that you have a storage system for filing your invoices. Here is a breakdown of why an invoice storage and filing system is essential to scale your business:
Complaints of inauthentic/counterfeit items: Buyers can complain to Amazon that a product purchased was counterfeit or inauthentic. One of the cardinal sins you can commit as an Amazon FBA seller is selling counterfeit goods. Doing so can see your account suspended without the possibility of appealing the suspension. But Amazon doesn’t just suspend your account when such a complaint comes through. They will first ask to see your invoices from the supplier. You have nothing to worry about if they determine that the product is authentic.
Complaints of poor product condition: Likewise, a buyer may complain to Amazon that the product was not in the condition stated. For instance, a used product sold as new will attract a complaint. When that happens, you will have to prove through supplier invoices that the products were new.
When Amazon suspends your ASIN: Amazon can suspend your ASIN for several reasons, including selling counterfeit and inauthentic goods, condition, or expiry issues to name a few. While you can appeal such an action, you will need to provide the necessary documents for Amazon to consider reinstating your listing. Such documents can include supplier invoices in case of inauthentic or counterfeit goods.
When going through the appeal process:The appeal process for suspended ASINs is long and tiresome. However, it’s nothing you can’t beat with a little patience and preparation.
What other areas of your Amazon business will you need invoices on the ready?
Running an Amazon business requires being on top of your game. Otherwise, you might find yourself on the wrong side of Amazon policies without even realizing it. So, what other areas of your business do you need to have invoices ready?
You will need to have your supplier invoices when filing for Amazon FBA reimbursements. Surprisingly, most Amazon sellers aren’t aware they are eligible for Amazon FBA reimbursements.
Billions of items are shipped every year through Fulfillment by Amazon. With such high volumes, mistakes are bound to happen. Unfortunately, such errors in the form of discrepancies will end up costing you money unless you know what measures to take.
Discrepancies are incorrect transactions against your Amazon seller account of items lost, destroyed, damaged, or disposed of. Sometimes, Amazon may fail to receive your inbound FBA shipments translating to a discrepancy. Discrepancies might also come in the form of overcharges in Amazon fees.
You are essentially losing money if you don’t file a claim for your FBA reimbursement. An Amazon reimbursement claim is simply a case you file with Amazon, so they can pay you the amount they owe you.
Essentially, when you do business with Amazon, you pay them to take care of all inventory management. If errors arise and your items get lost or damaged during transit or in their facility, you have a right to submit a claim. When you submit a reimbursement claim, sometimes, you might have to provide invoices to get your money. This is an integral reason having an invoicing system is vital to your business. Keeping track of your reimbursements requires diligence and process but having a process in place will pay off. An invoice storage and filing system can help immensely.
How to store, file and organize your invoices
Invoices can spare you a lot of headaches when you have issues with Amazon. On top of that, invoices come in handy when the time comes to close your books or file taxes. Here are 8 steps to storing, filing and organizing your invoices for easy retrieval when required:
Scan all invoices that are not already in electronic form because Amazon only accepts invoices that are in electronic form.
As an Amazon seller, the chances are that you have a lot of receipts. In such a case, consider outsourcing services like Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed helps businesses track their expenses by scanning, entering, and categorizing all data in receipts in a secure and searchable account that is acceptable by even Amazon.
If you have bookkeeping software, ensure its functionality allows you to store invoices.
If you don’t fancy software, a nested folder on your PC or an online storage system like Dropbox will do.
When you purchase items, add the invoices to your storage system rather than waiting until you have so many receipts or when Amazon asks for invoices.
Consider using creative descriptions to help find invoices quickly when required.
When providing invoices to Amazon, it’s okay to add the ASIN or highlight the individual product if it isn’t clear from the context.
Finally, ensure that someone else other than you has access to your invoice storage system in case you are not there.
What are Amazon’s conditions for invoice acceptance?
If Amazon requests invoices, don’t give their investigators the opportunity to doubt the legitimacy of your suppliers or reject your invoices. Before sending the invoices, look for gaps and unclear information or have someone else do it for you.
Wrong supply chain documentation could lead to more than a listing block. If Amazon investigators detect similar problems in the past, your selling account could be at risk. Amazon has very high standards for accepting supplier invoices. So, make sure your invoices meet the following criteria:
The document is clear and easy to read. Amazon investigators don’t want to go through poorly scanned PDFs or blurred invoice photos you took with your phone. All invoices must look professional, so the investigator can easily find all the required information.
The buyer’s name on the invoice should match the name on your seller account.
The address on the invoice should match what you have on your Amazon seller account. If you’ve changed your billing address, then update that on your account.
Submit genuine invoices because Amazon doesn’t just receive your invoices, take a quick look and file them. Far from that! Amazon investigators will verify them by researching the supplier. They will send emails, make phone calls, and check for a website or valid address to determine that the supplier is legitimate.
Invoice verifications by Amazon may sound like a too scary affair you don’t want to engage in. But fear not. It’s easy to avoid mandatory verifications, and the best way to do that is to avoid situations that could require you to send invoices for verification in the first place.
But here is the truth; customer complaints are unavoidable, so at some point, you may be required to send invoices to Amazon. Just ensure that you have all invoices at hand and that they are accurate if such a time comes. You can also look at it as a way of helping you keep track of the numbers to grow your business. Finding efficiencies and processes in your business is helpful no matter how you slice it.
Need help with an Amazon account suspension? Contact us at Riverbend Consulting for more information and a quote.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (19 and 13) who do most of the heavy lifting.