An invoice is a piece of documentation that confirms a purchase, and is issued to the client upon payment. This may be for a product or a service, and does not necessarily indicate that the delivery has been made. Instead, it serves as proof for the client that they have, in fact, paid for a particular product or service, and so, entitles them to receive said product or service when possible. Invoices are particularly important for businesses of all kinds, as it lets them track their orders, provides customers an added layer of security and serves as proof of financial transactions for tax purposes! For this reason, we’ve compiled a guide on writing an invoice that will help you and your business in the long run!
What is an invoice used for?
As we mentioned earlier, an invoice is used to denote to the customer that they have, in fact, paid for a particular product or service, and is usually issued after payment. That being said, an invoice doesn’t necessarily suggest that the product or service has been delivered – it only serves as proof of payment, which is why many companies use invoices for things like tracking orders, dealing with customers and making their experience as seamless as possible. Invoices are also seen as proof of receipt of money, and so, can be important when filing for tax exemptions, claims and the like.
How do I write an invoice?
Typically, an invoice contains a number of things – Your business’ name and contact details, the date of the transaction, the amount paid, the exact products sold or services offered, with a description of what each service offers exactly, additional charges such as service charges and finally, a total price. To write an effective and appropriate invoice, you should work your way from the top of the list towards the bottom and cover each section with accurate information!
Here is a list of steps you should follow when writing an invoice;
- Name and Information – Here, list the legal name of your business (or your own name if you are an independent contractor), as well as your contact information, which typically includes a physical address, phone number, and email address or website. Additionally, you should also include the date of each transaction, as well as time.
- The product/service – Next, you should include the products or services offered. If you are dealing with services, you should write a complete description of the services you offer, as well as the price for each service next to it.
- The pricing – Each product and/or service should have its price listed right next to it so that it makes tallying easier while also specifying the individual price for each particular item on the invoice!
- Additional fees – Here, things like service charges, transportation, delivery, and other logistics-related fees should be included in the same format as the pricing. Moreover, sales tax and other taxes should be listed here, so the client knows exactly how much tax is being paid on their purchase.
- Total fees – Tally up all of the fees and put down a total fee at the very end of the invoice. Many invoices also include a due date, in the case, that payment is to be made AFTER the service and/or good(s) are provided.
Customizing and Personalizing your invoice
Following the steps above should help you come up with an efficient and effective invoice that tracks all the relevant data. There is, however, a lot of good that comes from personalizing your invoice – Marketing, as it lets you put a personal touch on things, adds an element of professionalism to your business and in general, boosts the legitimacy and reputation of your company! If you’d like to personalize your invoice, consider changing these things;
- Company Logo – Most invoices have the company or business’ name printed. To make a more lasting impression on your clients, consider adding your logo and spicing up a bland looking invoice!
- Listing Services – Many invoices typically only list the names of the services to the client, along with an order number. Consider going the extra mile and adding a description of the services you offered! For example, if you offer to fix up someone’s car, try to incorporate the make, model, and color of the car so that the client knows you paid personal attention to the project!
- Payment plans and instructions – Many invoices simply add a fee and a due date, particularly when clients are paying for services. Consider adding the option of payment plans and/or instructions, if applicable! This will make the payment that much easier for the client, while also allowing for some leeway if your finances permit.
Free Invoice Templates
These are all of the contents of a typical invoice. Such an invoice can be drafted easily in a number of software – Microsoft Word or Excel, or Adobe Acrobat all serve as excellent tools to create your own invoices. If that seems like too much effort, you can also download a number of free templates from above! These templates will assist you in formating, creating and printing an invoice in minutes.