An important part of running a business professionally is issuing an invoice, either electronically or through the mail. An invoice is basically a bill and record of sales with the name of the business and information about the company. A copy of the invoice is sent to customers for their records, and a copy is kept by the business. You can create your own invoice template for your business, making it as simple or as fancy as you want, with the right word-processing software.
Launch your word-processing program and create a new document. If you don't have one such as Microsoft Word, you can download a free one called Open Office that has the features you will need to create your invoice template (see Resources).
Type the name of your business in bold letters and insert the logo with the "Insert, Picture" function in the main menu. If your business has a text-based logo, just insert the image for that. Press the "Enter" key to move to the next line (or two lines down) and enter your business' slogan or motto (if you have one) and contact information.
Contact your local tax authorities to find out what specific headings you will need to put on your invoice template to make it legal. Depending on where you live, you may need to include your tax ID number. The information at the top will not change. Press "Enter" again and type in the title "Invoice," "Bill" or "Tax Invoice" (if you have a tax ID number). Some countries will have different legal requirements for the title of your invoice.
Hit "Enter" twice and create a space where you will put the invoice serial number. Each time you create a new invoice for a transaction, you will assign it a new number. Create a space where you will enter in the date when you fill out a new invoice. Make another line for the payment method for the transaction (if this is a variable) and a space for the customer's name and contact information. These are variables that you will fill in each time you make a new invoice. For example, you would type them out as "Date:**", "Payment Method:**", etc.
Press "Enter" up to four times to begin the "body" of your invoice. Create a table by clicking on the grid icon in the top menu or by selecting "Insert, Table." Give your table at least two columns and 10 rows so you will have enough spaces for each item that was purchased. You can add more rows later by right-clicking on a cell in the centre and selecting the "insert new row" function.
Clicking with your mouse, drag the right border at the top of the table to adjust the width of the first column. Use the ruler at the top of the document as a guide, and make the first column at least 4 inches wide. The second row will be used for inserting the price of the item purchased, so make it at least 1 inch wide. Type in the title "Item Description" in the first row of the first column and "Price" in the first row of the second column.
Insert another two-column table below the first one and line it up with the right edge of the top one. This is where you will display the subtotal, add in the tax (if you have a tax ID number), the shipping costs and the final total in the bottom-right cell. Label this smaller table with the titles "Tax," "Shipping" and "Total" to the left of the cells that will contain this information. Drag the borders of this table so that the right borders line up with the table on top.
Press "Enter" twice outside of the previous table and create a new one that is made of only one cell. Left-clicking with your mouse, drag the bottom border of this cell to give yourself more room to type out the comments specific to each transaction. This space will be reserved for additional information for the customer, including payment and delivery instructions. You can also include reminders about return and payment policies in this area.
Click "File, Save" at the top menu, name the file something like "invoice-template" and give it the file extension that will denote it as a template (this varies depending on your software). You can also just save it as a regular document; you will still be able to change it later to create your invoices. Make sure that whenever you create a new invoice, you select "File, Save As" so it will save the invoice as a new copy without changing the original.
Use the "Auto Text" function (if your word-processing program has it) to insert the date automatically. If you have only a few items to list in the table, you can remove the borders. Leave the borders to help organise a long list of items sold.
Tips and warnings
- Use the "Auto Text" function (if your word-processing program has it) to insert the date automatically.
- If you have only a few items to list in the table, you can remove the borders. Leave the borders to help organise a long list of items sold.