If you want to run a successful business, your invoice or billing program should be one of the hardest-working and most used documents you have. Not only does an invoice help to brand your company name, but it acts as a valuable accounting device showing services rendered and when and how much you should get paid. Invoices are easy enough to create.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Figure out the elements you will need on your personalised invoice. Those basic components might be: your company name, logo and address; the date the invoice was created; the name and address of your buyer; the date the service or product was ordered or rendered; an order number or description of the product or service; the unit price (optional); the total amount due, including taxes, if necessary; and the agreed-upon payment terms.
Decide if you are going to use a paper invoice or an electronic invoice. There are companies online that will allow you to create an invoice, send it electronically and file it on their site as part of their office services---some free, some with fees. (See Resources.)
Find a service or site that provides an invoice form template. Generally, whether the template is free or has a small fee, you will need to register on a site to receive the invoice download. Create an account and select your invoice style.
Choose either a generic template, or jazz it up with your company's own features. Input your information. Save the invoice for further use. At this point you can make a paper copy for accounting purposes.
Another option is to create an invoice template from an application that is already on your computer. Microsoft Office, Appleworks and Adobe are just a few of the programs that may be already installed in your system. In MS Word, for example, you open the file menu and choose, "Project Gallery," and then if you select the icon for "Business Forms," inside will be templates for invoices.
Tips and warnings
- The word "Invoice" should always appear prominently across the top of the document.
- Customising your invoice with your company logo helps to brand your services and increase visibility.
- Other components can appear on an invoice, such as a tracking number that will aid you in inventory or an employee identification number.
- The most common electronic invoice is created using portable document format (PDF).
- Ready-made invoice forms can also be purchased at an office-supply store such as Office Depot, Staples or Office Max. A popular brand name is Avery Dennison.
- As a customer of PayPal, you have free invoice-sending service. Other Internet banks also offer their own programs.
- If you are sending invoices electronically, make sure that the website has "secure" sending services so that nothing about the transaction can be copied or used for spam. Look for an icon that looks like a lock at the bottom of the screen before you proceed or "https://" in the URL or address field---the "s" means it is secure.
- Invoice templates online are prepared for both PC computers and Macs; check the system requirements first before you download.
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