Making and Using a Clean Invoice

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By Keith Curreri on January 18, 2011

Whether you are a web developer, graphic designer, freelance writer, or in any service business, you will need to invoice clients. Creating an invoice isn’t difficult, but it can be tricky to make everything clean and easy to understand.

DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE HERE

Key Components of an Invoice

There are a few important parts of an invoice that should be included. Getting paid quickly means that your invoices are clear and concise.

“INVOICE” – Your invoice should say “Invoice” somewhere at the very top so that it is clear.

Your information – Your invoice should have your name/company and your contact information in case you need to be contacted. Include your name/company, address, telephone number, email address, and website address.

Recipient’s information – Include the name/company receiving the invoice, their address, phone number, and email address.

Date – The date records when the invoice was sent to reduce confusion.

Invoice Number – The invoice number is important for your own records and for referring to invoices specifically when communicating with a client.

Work done – In either a list or table include a list of tasks/services, the hours, your rate, and total for each.

Grand Total – The grand total should be clearly stated, if you are including tax, there should be a separate box indicating how much tax you are charging.

Methods of payment – At the bottom of your invoice include what method of payments you accept. If you accept checks, tell how a check should be written. For example: “Please make payment to [Name]”.

Designing an Invoice

The most important thing when designing an invoice is to make it simple, clear, and concise. Everything should be easy to find and understand. This is not the place to try and get too creative.

Your invoice should have a clear, eye-pleasing design. It is not necessary that you go all out with a custom design, but you may choose to depending on your business and how you want to brand your company. If you do decide to do something creative with your invoice, it is important that you don’t go overboard; it should be very easy and simple to read. Also, avoid using color. Many invoices are printed out, and recipients don’t always have, nor want, to use a color printer.

Be sure to include your company logo and other branding on your invoice.

Use whatever software program you are familiar with to create your invoice. If you are more familiar with Microsoft Word, use Microsoft Word. You could also use Illustrator, Excel, or anything really.

Additional Tips

Proofreading – Always proofread invoices for any errors.

Try to keep to one page – Of course this is not always possible, but you should make all efforts to fit everything on one page.

Invoice numbering – There are different ways to number invoices; you should pick one that suits you. I use an 6 digit number, the first 3 would be the client’s number and the last 3 for the invoice number. Using “109023” as an example, the client’s number would be “109” and it would be the 23rd invoice I sent to them.

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2 Comments on "Making and Using a Clean Invoice"

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Mitch

Nice info, and you even give people a template. I created mine years ago out of Microsoft Publisher, and I kept it pretty basic and easy to understand as well.

Keith

Thanks Mitch, basic and easy to understand are the most important aspects if you want to be paid quickly!

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