How to Make an Invoice: A Stepwise Guide

Making a professional invoice proves essential for your business. Read below to find out all there is to know about making an invoice.

Below, we’ll cover:

  • How to Make an Invoice?
  • Invoice Essentials
  • What’s the Proper Invoice Format?
  • Types of Invoice
  • How to Send an Invoice?

How to Make an Invoice

Developing an invoice from scratch can be a little tricky because of the intricacies of the billing form. So as not to exclude any important information, follow this step-by-step guide. Here’s how to create an invoice from scratch:

Create an invoice header

Atop your invoice is the header section. It should contain your business logo and branding portfolio. It should also contain the business name, business address, phone number, email address and fax number. For a lone freelancer or contractor not attached to any firm, you may fill in your full name in place of business name.

Include all the client’s details

Enter all the client’s contact details. This may include the company’s billable contact address, phone number, email address and fax number. Before sending out the invoice, confirm that these details are correct otherwise they may be sent to someone else instead and inadvertently delay your payment.

Enter invoice information

For proper referencing and bookkeeping, every invoice must have a unique invoice number. This should be provided in the invoice information field. Choose the invoice numbering system you are most comfortable with and be consistent with it. The easiest invoice numbering system is the sequential method such that the first invoice is numbered 001, the next 002 and so on.

Highlight the payment terms

Specify how you expect to get paid and when exactly using clear and concise language. When it comes to the payment due date, the most commonly used among freelancers is the Net30 billing cycle which proposes that the client pays within 30 days from the invoice issue date.

It should also highlight the payment methods you accept, the most common of which are cash payment, credit card payment, and bank transfer.

List out the services rendered

Itemize the services provided. Traditionally, the invoice should consist of columns labelled as Date, Services rendered, Quantity/hours, Rate and Subtotal.

Outline the applicable taxes

Check out your local bureau to figure out the applicable taxes. Then intimate your clients with these taxes by listing them out on the invoice.

Insert additional notes to take care of extras

Here’s the part where most businesses write a personalized note to your client. You can make your client feel special by adding a “Thank You" or “Thanks for being a part of our family" message.

Invoice Essentials

Before sending out your invoice, cross-check to confirm that it contains the following essentials

  • Business name and contact information
  • Client name and contact information
  • Invoice number
  • Invoice issue date
  • Product or service details (description, cost, quantity and price)
  • Total amount owed
  • Sales tax or VAT
  • Discount
  • Payment due date
  • Payment terms

What’s the Proper Invoice Format?

In making an invoice, one should ensure that it follows the proper format and is in sync with invoice formats in the world over. Although there might be slight differences from invoice to invoice depending on what industry it was originally drafted for, they generally follow this format:

  • The vendor’s business information is usually put into the header section
  • Just under the business information are the client’s billing details and contact information
  • The assigned invoice number, issued date and payment due date should be provided next to the client’s billing details and contact information
  • The total amount owed or invoice total must be written in clear, bold font in the top portion of the invoice. This makes it very easy for the clients to see once they take a sneak peek at the invoice
  • An itemized list of the goods provided or services rendered, followed by a brief description of each of them, quantity or hours, cost and subtotal of each item
  • The total amount due is once again indicated in bold font at the bottom of the invoice, along with applicable taxes and discounts
  • A notes section for payment terms, payment methods, refund policy and pricing policy.

Types of Invoice

Knowing the different types of invoices is as important as knowing how to make an invoice. Here are some of the most popular types

  • Standard invoice
  • Credit invoice
  • Debit invoice
  • Mixed invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • Timesheet invoice
  • Expense report
  • Proforma invoice
  • Interim invoice
  • Final invoice
  • Past due invoice
  • Recurring invoice
  • E-invoice

How to Send an Invoice?

There are several methods of sending an invoice to a client. But the quickest and easiest of them all is via email. You can send the invoice via email with a brief description of the invoice in the subject line and further description in the email’s body.

Preferably, the invoice should be saved in an un-editable pdf format to guide against fraudulent modifications. Once sent via email, you can call the clients to inform them that you have mailed them the invoice

Alternatively, you can print out the invoice, add a personalized thank you message card and mail to the client. For small business owners, this is arguably the best.

You may also contact the client to confirm what delivery mode they are most convenient with and send through this means.

FAQs

Can I send out an invoice anytime?

The etiquette of business and invoicing is that you inform your clients when they should be expecting an invoice even before the business starts. In other words, when you will send out your invoice depends on your initial agreement.

What are the other methods of assigning invoice numbers asides the sequential system?

The other common structures for assigning invoice numbers include the customer number, project number or chronological system.

You can snuff out the hassles associated with creating an invoice from scratch by selecting one of the several invoice templates available on WeInvoice and editing it to taste. If you love the thrill of drawing up an invoice yourself, you can also explore the drag and drop features of the platform’s amazing invoice generator.