Invoices are documents that are essential in ensuring that you get paid by your clients promptly. It contains details such as the products and services that you have delivered as well as the amount you are about to collect among others. For this reason, it also serves as a transaction record that proves to be beneficial in monitoring the cash flow of your business. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the invoice you issue to your customers and clients online is concise, but complete, with a layout that makes it readily understandable. To do so, here are some tips on how you will be able to craft readable online invoices.
Overall Look of an Invoice
A short but clear invoice not only garners the respect of your clients, but it also allows you to get paid immediately. Thus, the overall look of your invoice should be professional, while still keeping with the theme of your business branding. In addition to this, the layout of your invoice should be coherent with the design of your business card and letterhead, and even the colors you employ on your site.
- Color. Choose smart colors for your invoice. In general, you can use blue and turquoise because the former can be associated with trustworthiness while the latter commands the attention of the reader. You can also use purple, which is highly favored by women, with darker shades of it insinuating competitiveness. Nevertheless, you always have the option of being minimalist with a black and white scheme.
- Visibility. Ensure that your business name and logo are clearly visible on your invoice by adding it in the most prominent line. The reason behind this is that people tend to remember images more than they do remember words. It is often the case that clients pay the businesses they are more familiar with first.
Even if invoices are greatly dependent on the needs of the business, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed in crafting one, particularly on the content of an invoice.
Information to be included in an Invoice
The first important information that you should include on your invoice is the details of your company, such as its full name, or your full name if you are a freelancer, as well as your contact details. Always include your logo on the invoice because not only will your invoice look more professional with it, but with a logo, your clients will be able to know at a glance where the invoice is from. It is also important to include the specific legal status of your company, as well as the official address you have registered in your jurisdiction. All these comprise your company details, which should be reflected in the invoice.
Aside from your business details, you should include the specific terms on your invoice such as the issue date, the due date of payment, the currency, the purchase order, or PO number, as well as the net terms. Larger business entities often utilize business terms such as net30, indicating a payment due within 30 days. However, not all individuals may understand business terminology, which is why it is a good practice to use plain English in your invoices. Also, be clear with your date format because different date formats are used depending on the region where it is used.
You also need to display your client details in the invoice that you will issue. At the very least, it should comprise your client’s name and address. If you need to address an entire organization, make sure to specify the right person or department who needs to receive the invoice.
It is a good idea to provide an invoice serialization which includes a title and a unique number for your invoice, which paves the way for easy tracking. Oftentimes, the word “Invoice” itself is sufficient as a title, but there are instances wherein the specific type of invoice is indicated such as whether it is a tax invoice, a Pro-forma or a quick invoice to name a few. As for the invoice number, you can use a working code that will greatly aid you in filing your taxes later on.
Perhaps the most important part of an invoice is its details which reflect the list of products that the customer purchased, as well as the services delivered to a client. The itemized list should include not only the description of the products and services but also the quantity and the amount of each. Discounts and unit prices should also be reflected in this itemized list.
You can include other details in your invoice as well, particularly if you intend to convey a custom message for your client or add more description in your invoice details. It is in this section where you can indicate the modes of payment you accept. It is also in this section where you can add a note of appreciation to your customer.
With all the details that need to be included in an invoice, it will greatly help to automate the generation of invoices. For this, you can create invoices using various software solutions such as Google Docs, MS Word or Excel, Square Invoices, or you can also download an invoice template that can be personalized to suit your business needs. Opting to use the latter will save you a significant amount of time in preparing your invoices and being paid in a timely manner.
Rest assured that you have a wide range of template to choose from such as a
- Blank invoice template
- Hourly invoice template
- Retainer invoice template
- Credit invoice template
- Standard invoice template
- Recurring invoice template
How to Use an Invoice Template
Fill in Business Details and Invoice Header
Personalizing your invoice template is simple and easy. When you download a template, the first thing that you need to do is to fill in your company and contact information. Your details will help your clients get in touch with you, should they have any clarifications regarding the details of the invoice you have sent.
Make sure that you add a date and an invoice number because this will make your invoices trackable and traceable for you and your client. This will also make it easy for you to monitor the payments that are already overdue.
The next thing that you need to accomplish is to include descriptions and service rates, which is the most important content of your invoice. Thus, make sure that you have listed everything that you are charging your client for and apply discounts as necessary. Also add sales tax as applicable, to provide your clients with the most comprehensive bill necessary.
Calculate the Amount Due
Once the details of the itemized billing have been laid out, the next step is for you to calculate the amount due. The amount due is important because this is the first thing your client looks into once they receive the invoice from you. You can also note the terms to include information on how you prefer to be paid or to provide your customers with various payment options.
Benefits of Using an Invoice Template
Using an invoice template has numerous benefits which include the customization of the template to suit your branding. Often, templates can be modified to be cohesive with your business cards and color scheme, as well as to include your company logo. Invoice templates are also downloadable in various formats, which provides you with the flexibility of using the format that you are most familiar with. With an invoice template, you will be able to send and process your invoices in a matter of minutes, rather than spending hours working on it.
With the proper records at hand and organized account status, you are in the best position to analyze the financial status of your business at all times. In addition to this, you have the ability to consolidate your client information and deal with them accordingly. As a result, you are able to establish a lasting professional impression with your clients.
Characteristics of an Effective Invoice Template
Platform and Software Independence
The most effective invoice template is those which can work even without integration in the software and platform of the provider. This makes them more flexible for use, allowing users to effortlessly personalize the templates as necessary. These templates are often applicable to a wide range of business providers such as designers, consultants, corporate businesses, catering, photography, software developers, and freelancers among others.
An invoice template provider that can assist users with a cloud storage solution is not only effective, but it is also efficient. This paves the way for users to extend the platform to accommodate expense and time tracking, as well as project management services. This makes it perfect for start-ups and small businesses.
An invoice template provider must ensure that their interface can easily be navigated even by users who are not technologically adept. An intuitive interface will make it easier for those downloading the template to get a hold of a copy and customize it accordingly. A user-friendly interface also saves the business the time it needs to learn the ropes with this business solution.
Advantages of an Invoicing Software
Aside from using an invoice template, it is also a good idea to use invoicing software that will handle even the sending of your invoices. As such, invoicing software has several advantages and below are just some of them.
An invoicing software paves the way for a fast, simple and efficient process that eliminates the need for you to fill out a spreadsheet and spend a significant amount of time just entering the necessary information. The manual process of having to enter essential details may not really matter for a few invoices. but once you need to send out hundreds of invoices at a time, then this greatly becomes a problem. Fortunately, invoicing software is able to address this difficulty.
Another advantage of invoicing software is data security. This is because invoicing software often employs a cloud solution where all your data will be stored. Hence, you are ensured that you won’t have to fret about lost or compromised data in the long run, which usually happens with a paper trail invoice process.
Apart from eliminating the need of having to enter numerous details before an invoice can be generated, an invoice software also paves the way for automation wherein sending your invoices to multiple clients can be scheduled automatically. This ensures that the right invoice is received by the accurate recipient promptly. As a result, payment delays and mishaps are minimized, if not fully eliminated. Automated invoice processing also greatly reduces the risk of human-related errors that particularly take place when a significant number of invoices need to be generated and sent.
Apart from the addition of your business details and logo in your invoice, invoicing software will establish a brand identity. This is because, through the software, you have the capability to add personalized messages to your client, expressing gratitude or a simple message of thanks to your clients for patronizing your products and services. This can become a good foundation between a strong and lasting business to client relationship.
There are already several means to ensure that the invoices you release to your clients look neat and professional. For one, you can easily download invoice templates that can be personalized to reflect the details of your business. This will pave the way for uniformity with the invoices you issue while ensuring that the details necessary are included for each client. You can also use software programs to ensure that the invoices you craft are sent promptly to your customers without any errors. This will ensure that you get paid on time, every time.