Every time you make a sale, whether it is a laptop or a pair of shoes, you must get paid. In certain scenarios, if you do not get paid for those items at the time of the sale, you need to make an invoice to notify your clients that payment is due for the services you have provided and get paid faster (I’m sure you want to). And For that, you need to learn how to write an effective invoice.
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“27% of SMBs (Small and Mid-sized Businesses) admitted that they have a hard time creating and sending invoices.” -HubSpot Research
If you are already a master in creating invoices and getting paid easily, that’s great. But if you do not have any idea about it, you must read our previous blog post explaining, What Is Invoice Definition? General Difference Between Invoice And Billing.
Now that you know the difference between Invoice and Billing, and decided to move on with the invoice, which is the simplest way to collect money.
So, what is the next thing you should do?
First of all, you need to understand why you are creating an invoice template, for whom, what impact it can have, and how you will get paid. For that, you need to understand all the basics about making an invoice.
Basics to Make an Invoice: The Things You Need to Understand
The invoice should speak on behalf of you and explain to the client about the jobs or services you have provided to them and the amount they are being charged for.
Now that you are clear with your thought before creating invoices, you need to think about its look and feel.
Because the look and feel of the invoice template will create a huge impact when it comes to branding and the message you want to deliver to your clients. Preparing your legal and business documents with a crystal clear look & language will shape your branding stand out from the competitors and will get you paid faster through the professional invoice templates.
How does a standard invoice look like?
A standard invoice template should match your letterhead, tagline, and combine your website theme colors. Apart from that, your invoice should outline what services you provided, how much the client owes you and where and how they can send you the payment before the due date.
Creating an invoice templates is not rocket science, you just need to follow some general elements and rules while creating professional invoice templates so that you do not have to send frequent payment reminders later on.
First, create a rough draft on the paper something like the image below:
Now, let’s give it a professional makeover to your invoice together following some very simple steps.
Invoicing: A Step-by-Step Process
To simplify your journey, I have divided the invoice templates generating process into 6 different sections:
Section #1: Branding a Business
When it comes to business branding, your company details should appear at the top of the page using professional lettering.
If you want to use a simple template, you can use Microsoft Word or Excel, there are also lots of free templates available on the internet you can use to customize your invoice template. (That you can explore later once you are clear with your thoughts)
Is this your first time making an invoice template? Let’s start simple with word and not with invoice maker.
- Create a new blank document
- Go to Insert Menu and Select “Header and Footer”
- Type your company details at the top of the page in the Header
- Type the company address, your business website, and email address and your business/personal phone number just under your company name or business name. (Should be centered and written in a smaller font than your business name.)
- Keep your contact information more readable, consider typing it short and simple.
You can also have a standard letterhead format which you are following as your company branding for your header along with the company logo/business logo (Which is ideal to give your invoice template a professional air).
In case you don’t have a business name or business logo and doing freelancing work, just type your First and last name.
- Suggested Font Style: Arial, Times New Roman or follow your standard branding style.
- Suggested Font Size: Bigger than the size you will use for the rest body of the invoice.
Section #2: The Client You’re Invoicing
After creating the header in invoices, you must include the recipient’s contact information that you might have in your record of the sale.
- Write the client’s contact information. i.e, Name, address, email and phone number of the recipient you are invoicing, below the header.
- You can also include details of the person/department rather than a business you have delivered
- If you do not have an address and phone number for the business or person you are invoicing, include their email address instead.
Section #3: Invoice Number and Title
On the right side of the page of the invoice, just beside the recipient’s contact information, including the following details:
- Invoice Number - You may choose any suitable number pattern for your business, whether it is just numbers (#123) or a mix of numbers and letters (abc123). Whatever pattern you choose, number your invoices in sequence so that you do not confuse yourself. If you use a free invoice generator it automatically inserts a number for you.
- Issued Date - This will be the date you are creating the invoice or the date you are supposed to send an invoice.
- Due Date - This depends on the mutual agreement with the recipient you are invoicing about when you can expect to get paid, you can write that exact date. If you didn’t discuss the date, in that case, follow the standard pay-by period of your industry, in most situations, it is 30 to 45 days. Some free invoice generator offers options to choose the date.
- Total Pending Amount - Include the total pending amount you are expecting from the invoices you have generated.
- Account balance - This should include the combination of the amount already paid (If any) and the remaining amount.
Note: Ready-made free invoice generator auto-calculates the amount, and makes the process easier for you.
Section #4: List of Products/Services
In this section of an invoice, you need to write a clear description of what you’re charging for along with line items.
You need to include all the necessary details in your line items such as a date product or goods were sold, salesperson, p.o. number, the quantity of each product and the price.
All these descriptions should be as crisp as possible for your clients to understand what they are paying for through invoices. If they fail to understand why they are being charged, they are more likely to delay the payment.
Section #5: Charges and Taxable Amount / VAT
In this part of the invoice template, you need to justify your invoice in numbers as this will be the decision-maker when it comes to payment. So, you need to create this section of your invoice template very carefully.
You need to include the latest pricing along with all the extra charges, taxable amount/VAT and any discount or special offers that you might have promised to your clients at the time of sales in the invoices.
Apart from these details, it will be great if you include payment terms and conditions in your invoices along with the payment instructions available. Late payment charges should be also there in your invoice's payment terms, in case the client does not pay before due date what will be the penalty? So, you don't have to send payment reminders or invoices again.
Section #6: Personalized Note
Last but not least a sweet little branding gesture, your tailor-made "Thank You" note is a must in your invoice.
This will become your appeal for doing continuous business with the client. You can also offer them discounts or attractive deals for their next purchase or business.
Now, you are ready to send invoices, you must have some set of questions in your mind.
Q: How do I make an invoice for free?
Answer: If you want to create a free invoice you can either use Microsoft word/excel or you can create it using a free invoice generator.
Q: What is the best free invoice template?
Answer: The best free invoice template includes all the details that should be there in the invoices and can get you paid faster.
Q: How do I create an invoice template on my own?
Answer: By following the above given step-by-step process for creating a professional invoice template you can easily create plenty of invoices on your own. If you don't want to follow this process and you still find it difficult in making invoices, you can choose any online invoice generator and create/customize your invoices.
Q: Is it easy for a customer to download an invoice?
Answer: It is completely hassle-free for your customers to download and print the invoice as most of the invoices are sent via email and/or link from the software in a specific format that you choose. The client just needs to click on the "Download Invoice" button.
Q: Does invoice maker help you customize invoices for the specific client?
Answer: There are many customized invoice makers available in the market. This type of invoice maker helps you customize your invoices by choosing from a variety of invoice templates for specific clients