Many companies use the invoice templates that come out of the box with their accounting software, and while that is not the worst thing in the world, most accounting systems are notorious for having ineffective templates for business forms, especially invoices. Your invoice is the very first step in one of your most important processes, collecting accounts receivable. Sending an invoice that is unattractive, confusing, out of sync with your brand, or without actionable information is not a good way to start the process if you’d like to get paid on time. If your customers cannot quickly digest the information or easily answer their own questions about payment, your invoice will inevitably be moved to the bottom of their payables pile and it is unlikely that you will be paid on time. Not to worry, it’s an easy issue to fix.
Modifying your invoice templates should be very easy and in most cases you should be able to modify the templates yourself. You may also want to consider using multiple versions of the invoice template, as some customers may prefer a very simple format, while others may request or require a more complex format. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to understand your invoice so they can pay you on time, but you also have many other things you need to get done. Make the process simple and download our invoice templates and modify them to suite your needs.
So what makes a good invoice? An invoice that is easy to read and has all of the information required for payment to be made. Generally, all invoices should include the following:
YOUR COMPANY’S INFORMATION
- Your Business Name and logo
- Your Business Mailing Address
- Your phone number and extension
- Your email address
- Your fax number
CLIENT COMPANY’S INFORMATION
- The Client company’s name
- The Client’s Business/Mailing Address
- The name of the person handling the account at the client company as well as their contact information. A small company can likely figure out what’s going on, but in big companies, invoices get misplaced so you will want to make sure you are specific about the recipient.
NECESSARY INFORMATION FOR PAYMENT
- Project Name
- Itemized list of services/products
- Total Amount Due
- Note any discounts given
- Consequences of late payment. Ex: “A Late Fee of x% may be assessed on past due balances” The exact language can vary and you might want to have your legal advisor review or provide the exact wording. The fee percentage (interest rate) is regulated in some states so be sure you know what the limits are.
- If the charge is project-based or hourly
- Include a Remit to address. If appropriate, also include instructions to “make check payable to” the entity name you prefer.
- Invoice Number
- PO Number/Job number
- Payment Terms
- Due Date
- A Phrase thanking them for their business
- Supporting documentation such as a signed receiving document (proof of delivery) or approved timesheets. This will be different for every customer so be sure to ask about their requirements before starting work.
Below is an example of an invoice template and how you can format yours: