If you sell your products on a wholesale basis, teach classes, and do other forms of business you may have been asked to send an invoice. It’s essential to make both a standard template you can use repeatedly as well as familiarizing yourself with invoicing via online systems. This can seem a little daunting if you’ve never created one before, but it’s really much simpler than it sounds! Here are some pointers to get you started (and get you paid for your work!):
Why Send an Invoice?
An invoice is a tool you’ll use to get paid for your goods or services. Using invoices makes your business look professional and encourages customers to pay you in a timely manner. They can be sent in a physical paper copy, in an email as an attachment, and even through various websites (more on that later). After the transaction is finished, both you and your customer can file it away for record-keeping purposes. Always remember to keep a copy for yourself and give one to the customer.
What Should be Included on the Invoice?
Every invoice is different, but there are some general elements that should be included. How you arrange the page is up to you- go with what works best for your business!
The business sending the invoice should include their:
– business name
– contact person
– phone number
– email (and a payment account email of it’s different)
Details about the order including:
– invoice number (you can generate this yourself but don’t reuse the same number)
– PO number (a Purchase Order number is usually given to you by the customer and it will be processed through their company when you send the invoice)
– invoice date
– order date
And the same info of the customer (minus the logo and website, etc.) should be included in a “Bill to” or “Send to” area. Below these sections you’ll detail the items or services they are paying for, typically in a column and row format. I like to organize it by the following:
– quantity (the number of each item or service purchased)
– item number
– item description
– unit price (the price of each item individually)
– line total
Then add spaces in the bottom corner for:
– sales tax
– total amount due
– due date (for the payment)
You can also include information like accepted payment methods, processing time, and any other details that you think your customer needs to know.
What About Templates?
There is no one exact way to make an invoice, but if you’re just starting out an online template might be perfect for you. Quickbooks has a great free template website you can find online, or you can even look up examples of invoices and then make your own. I created a basic template from scratch on a word processing system that I use frequently. It can be edited and filled in on my computer or by hand when printed out.
Can You Use a Payment Processing System to Make an Invoice?
Yes! You can also create an invoice through payment processing systems like PayPal, Square, and even Quickbooks, to name a few. You’ll have to register or subscribe to this kind of site or system, but once you’ve set up an account it’s really easy to create one. This method is perfect to send an invoice over email to customers who are far away, but I’ve also used them for local orders. You’ll be notified by the website over email when your invoice has been paid, and you can even send a reminder if it’s taking them a while. Online invoices can also be edited and cancelled easily by the sender before they are paid by the customer.
–by Rebecca George