Invoicing is a very important part of running a business. You've done the work, but, until your client receives an invoice from you for that work, you won't get paid.
If you're new to the business world, you may be wondering how to put together a professional-looking invoice you can feel comfortable sending to your clients. This is where having an invoice template comes in handy, and the good news is that it's not difficult to create your own business invoice template.
Basics of an invoice
If you're planning on creating your own invoice template for your business, it's a good idea to get familiar with the basic contents of an invoice. Invoices may contain different kinds of information, but there are certain things all invoices should include:
- Date. Generally found near the top of the invoice, the invoice date is the date you created and sent out your invoice.
- Invoice and/or purchase order number. The invoice number identifies your invoice, both in your own bookkeeping system and in your client's records. If your client assigned a purchase order number to your transaction, that number should appear as well.
- Your business details. This includes your business name, contact person's name, address, and logo, which tells your client who the invoice is from.
- Client details. Your invoice should include your client's name and address. When dealing with a midsized or larger company, you may also want to include the name of the person who will be dealing with or authorizing your invoice.
- Transaction details. This section tells your client what goods or services were purchased.
- Due date. A due date lets your client know when your invoice needs to be paid. Many small business owners request "net 30," meaning that the invoice should be paid by the client within 30 days of receipt.
- Amount owing. In addition to providing your client with a total amount owing, you might want to provide a breakdown of this total, depending on the specifics of the transaction for which you're invoicing. Additionally, the total amount also will be affected by any sales taxes you may have to charge.
Creating an invoice template
Once you have a clear idea what you'd like your invoices to look like, it's time to start creating an invoice template. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Downloadable invoice template. Various downloadable invoice templates can be found online, and most of them are easy to customize with your own business name, address, and logo.
- Templates created from scratch. If you're proficient with a spreadsheet, word processing, or graphic design software, you may want to create a unique invoice template of your own.
- Invoice generator. An online invoice generator or invoice maker can help make the work of creating an invoice very simple. All you have to do is answer some basic questions, and the invoice generator will input this information into a finished invoice format.
If you've never submitted an invoice to a client before, creating an invoice template for your business to use might seem like a daunting process. But, in reality, you don't need any special design skills to put together a professional-looking invoice. All it takes is a bit of time and some research. And, with an invoice template on hand, invoicing your clients will no longer be such a chore.
If this is your first business, it may be difficult to know what your invoice template should look like. If you're unsure, or would like some ideas, you can find examples of invoices online. Friends or family who are self-employed or run their own businesses are also a good source of inspiration for your own invoice template.
Depending on the industry in which you operate your business, it's important to note that your invoice will likely include information in addition to the basics outlined above.
For example, a construction invoice template might look different from a contractor invoice template because it contains different information. And someone who's self-employed and uses a self-employment invoice template might want to look to an hourly invoice template for inspiration, to see how to best include information about services that will be billed hourly. Meanwhile, a business that sells products might rely on a business invoice template geared toward the sale of goods.