How to Make an Invoice? [Free Tools + Free Templates Included]

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Lucrative profit ratios are good, but a healthy and consistent cash flow fuels your business to keep going.

The first mishap toward inconsistent cash flow is sending unclear or incorrect invoices to your customers. They might find invoices difficult to understand or sometimes need to know whom to pay. Consequently, handling incorrect payments can be a challenging task for you. 

Reports from the Credit Research Foundation say that 61% of payment delays occur due to incorrect invoices or receiving invoices too late. 

Therefore, creating clear and accurate invoices that help you get paid faster, is not a best financial practice but a strategic move to ensure your business thrives. 

This guide on how to make an invoice will not only streamline your invoicing process, but also fortify the foundation of a reliable and steady cash flow.

How to Make an Invoice: A Step-By-Step Guide

Making an invoice that looks professional yet is easy to understand and detailed reduces the possibility of outstanding invoices.

1. Start with a professional invoice layout

Begin with establishing a professional layout for your invoice that can benefit your business. It enhances business credibility and image, clarifies clear invoicing details, and builds long-lasting client trust.

Nevertheless, it’s imperative to move beyond manual ways of crafting invoices to achieve an invoice that emits professionalism. 
You can start using the free invoicing templates available in different file formats. Not just this, you can even choose industry-specific invoice templates from the range of templates available.

2. Brand your invoice

Strong brand awareness in the market can lead your way toward potential customers. It is very crucial to incorporate the brand’s visual identity into the invoice. You can include your brand logo, choose the invoice color that goes with your brand, and also add any other branding element like font style, font size, etc to make a memorable impact among the clients. 

Make sure that whatever you add as your brand elements, it has to be aligned with your other social media pages, website, and other marketing channels.

    Helpful Tip: Sign up for InvoiceOwl’s online invoicing software. Here you can easily add your business logo, adjust its position, add banners, watermarks, and play with colors to reflect your brand identity.

3. Create a professional header

A well-designed professional header is the first thing a client notices in an invoice. It should state who you are and how they can reach you. 

A professional header should include the business name, logo (if any), address, and contact details. The header serves as a quick reference point for clients, facilitating easy identification of the source of the invoice. 

The next part of the header should include the needed client details. It should have the client’s business name, business address, mail address, and contact information.

4. Provide necessary invoice information

First, ensure that your invoice is labeled as an “Invoice” for easy identification. Then it is advisable to mention every single invoicing information. This should include an invoice number, invoice date, and invoice due date. 

Detailed information and a well-drafted invoice numbering system can help you track invoices at a later date. It can also streamline your financial operations.

    For instance, the unique invoice number allows you to easily refer to and track specific transactions, helping you reconcile your accounts with ease in the future.

5. List the description of the goods and services

A clear description of the goods and services offered should be included in the professional invoices you create. This practice of mentioning the detailed line items, quantities offered, hours spent, and the rates charged against them, helps the client understand what they are paying for and why.

 

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InvoiceOwl lets you effortlessly manage everything, right from invoicing to payments in one single intuitive user interface.

6. Input discount or tax details

SOutline any applicable discounts or taxes. The percentage of the tax charged, or the discount offered should be communicated to eliminate any potential confusion at the time of the payment. This level of transparency contributes to accurate accounting and fosters trust.

7. Add payment details

Facilitate seamless transactions by stating precise payment information. Clarifying payment details on a prior basis avoids potential disputes between customers and vendors. 

Here are some of the essential payment details that should be included in an invoice:

  • The total amount due from the customer, including any applicable sales tax and deduction discounts offered
  • The payment due date
  • Any late payment fees and policy
  • Any money-back guarantee or service warranties
  • Accepted payment options. For instance, credit or debit card options, cash, check, bank transfer, or other online payment methods like Paypal.

8. Include explanatory notes with relevant terms and conditions

Enhance the clarity of your invoice by including explanatory notes with relevant terms and conditions. This section serves as a means of communication, setting expectations, and contributing to a clear understanding of the transaction.

To pursue professionalism in your custom invoices, it’s crucial to undergo a transition from manual methods of crafting invoices. Embrace modern tools and technologies to streamline the invoicing process, ensuring accuracy, efficiency, and a positive impact on your business.

How to Create an Invoice for Free

Creating an invoice that is clear, professional, and cost-free all at once is quite challenging. However, InvoiceOwl offers you two ways to create invoices free of cost

1. Using free invoicing templates:

Make your invoicing experience The invoicing templates can make your invoicing experience a breeze. All you have to do is download the templates, mold them as per your brand, and send them to your clients via email. You can even download the template, print it, or save it in your folder for later purposes. These templates are available at zero cost. 

Further, to create invoices that reflect your brand identity, you can personalize the free invoice template by choosing the color, layout, and format as per your business preferences. 

InvoiceOwl also offers different industry-specific free invoice templates. 

For instance, 

These are just a few examples. Various other invoice templates are available that suit your respective industries. Go and check it out here.

2. Using an online invoicing generator:

The second cost-free option offered by InvoiceOwl is the use of an online invoicing generator. No registrations or sign-up procedures are required. 

Visit the free invoice maker, input the necessary details in the ready-made template provided, and send professional invoices to the clients via email. 

You can even download the PDF format of the invoice created to use it for later purposes. Not only this, but you can even customize the currency and currency format. This flexibility ensures that you can adapt it to various payment scenarios and international transactions.

Free Invoicing Tools Vs Invoicing Software

The use of free invoicing tools for seamless invoice creation can never go wrong. However, to further streamline your overall invoicing experience, there is something beyond these free tools and templates. 

Here we are talking about efficient invoicing software. Right from approaching a client to getting paid from them, InvoiceOwl can do it all for you. Have a look at the comparison table shown below for a clear understanding:

Features InvoiceOwl Invoicing Software Free Tools and Templates
Create estimates Right Wrong
Track invoices Right Wrong
Export invoices In PDF, CSV & XLS file format Only in PDF
Duplicate invoices Right Wrong
Accept payments Right Wrong
Track payments Right Wrong
E-sign or attach contracts Right Wrong
Maintain client data Right Wrong

What are the Best Invoicing Practices to Follow?

After going through this entire guide, you might have felt confident about how to prepare invoice. To further streamline your invoicing processes for one final time, consider looking at some of the best invoicing practices given here:

  • Include clear and concise information: All the necessary invoice-related details should be included for better clarity. It includes the invoice number, invoice issue date, due date, business information, customer details, descriptions of the goods and services sold, and suitable payment methods.
  • Offer multiple payment options: The billing process should be made easier for both parties. They should be given the convenience to pay as per their preferences. This will not only improve the customer experience but also contribute to faster and more efficient payments.
  • Send invoice reminders: Timely invoicing reminders should be sent to clients to avoid late payments. Here are the ready-made payment reminder emails that you can send to your clients either before, after, or on the due date. Polite and regular reminders help maintain a healthy cash flow and reinforce the importance of timely payments.
  • Maintain comprehensive business reports: Unlike manual invoicing practices, the use of online invoicing software generates some beautiful charts and graphs. This can help you get overall business performance insights. These reports are accessible on the web and mobile apps. You get these reports on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is an Invoice?

    An invoice is a commercial document raised by a seller against a buyer. It is a detailed description of goods and services provided, how much they cost, agreed-upon prices, as well as necessary terms and conditions. Conclusively, invoices are payment requests from sellers to buyers.


  2. What is an invoice template?

    A professional invoice template is a pre-designed invoicing layout that includes all the essential details, such as business information, client details, invoicing details, and detailed descriptions of goods or services rendered. It serves as an initial point for creating professional and consistent invoices.


  3. What should be included in an invoice?

    Here is a list of the things that should be included in an invoice for prompt payments:

    • Company details
    • Client information such as client address, contact information, and mailing address
    • Invoice title
    • Unique invoice number
    • Invoice date and invoice due date
    • Description of the goods and services provided
    • Subtotal for each service (including quantities used, unit price, or hourly rates)
    • Total amount due for the payment (including sales tax, fees, and discounts)
    • Accepted methods for online payments
    • The necessary payment terms and payment details (credit or debit card details, bank details, etc)
    • Additional notes

  4. Can I customize my invoice design to match it with my brand?

    Yes, invoicing tools and software allow you to customize your invoice design to align with your brand identity. You can incorporate your logo and brand colors and choose fonts that reflect your business style, creating a professional and cohesive look.

  5. How can I handle late payments on my invoices?

    By clarifying clear payment terms, sending timely payment reminders, and by implementing a systematic follow-up process you can handle your late payments. You can also consider charging late fees for overdue payments and encourage prompt settlement.

  6. Other than PDF files, in what different formats are invoicing templates available?

    Other than PDF files, invoice templates are available in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Google Docs format.


The Wrap-Up

By incorporating these insights, you are not just streamlining the invoicing process but enhancing your business image as well. Remember, an invoice is more than just a payment request; it’s a reflection of your professionalism and attention to detail.

So, utilize these strategies, embrace the tools at your disposal, and ensure that every invoice you send out speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of your business. 

Here’s to efficient invoicing and a thriving business ahead!

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel
Founder

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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