It’s been thirty, sixty, maybe even ninety days, and you still haven’t received payment from several clients. You sent out the invoice. You’ve sent reminders. But, instead of payment, you receive more questions and comments from your clients about the invoices. What’s going on? How do you get your small business out of this invoicing nightmare? Aside from some shady customers, all you may need to do is create a professional invoice template. Read on to learn how you can use invoicing to demonstrate your professionalism and assert yourself in the business world.
What to Include
Are you wondering what should an invoice look like? At the minimum, you’ll want to include your name, the name of your company, the company address, and the company phone number.
You need to include these items for a number of reasons. For one, your clients need a way to contact you in case they have questions about the invoice. Secondly, you want to show that your company is legitimate.
You’ll then want to include the client’s business address, business name, and phone number. Don’t forget to also add the name of the person you’re making the invoice out to.
Ask accounts payable department about who’s name to direct the invoice to. As some companies may want you to address the invoice to the owner; others may prefer the employee who’s in charge of dealing with your business.
Like we said, invoicing is a way to demonstrate your professionalism. A large part of this is incorporating your logo on your invoice.
Traditionally, the logo would go in the top left corner of the invoice. But, depending on your professional invoice template, that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Overall, you want the logo to be large enough for the customer to know who the invoice is coming from. But you don’t want it too large where it’s the focal point of the invoice.
List of Services
Preferably underneath your and your client’s company information, you’ll want the service description and price.
By description of services, we mean 2-5 words describing what services your business did for the client.
For instance, if you’re a paper company and sold the client 1,000 boxes of paper, insert the type and quantity of paper your client received.
Plus, as mentioned in the example, you can include the quantity in the description or have a separate box next to the description that lists the amount.
In the next column, you’ll want the price per quantity. So, if you charged the client $50 per each paper box, mark “$50/box.”
The column after that would be the total. Continuing with our example, $50/box multiplied by 1,000 boxes would come out to $50,000.
If this is the only product the client purchased, include the total at the bottom plus any taxes or other costs that came with the purchase.
Remember Who Your Client Is
Depending on the client, you may need to include your tax identification number (TIN). According to Entrepreneur, industries such as the nonprofit and childcare service sectors may require this information.
Speak with your client beforehand to see if this information is needed.
Every professional invoice template has a space for your business’ boilerplate. Or, in other words, fine print.
This is the section that lists your terms and conditions. Normally, you’ll want to include the number of days before the invoice is due, the method of payment that’s accepted, and any fees or penalties if the invoice is late.
Typically, businesses will give clients two weeks minimum to 30 days maximum to pay the invoice.
Remember that, at times, some clients may pay late on an invoice. So, you’ll need to give yourself a 1-2 day window to prepare for impromptu lateness while still making payroll.
Why This Is Important
You need to specify your terms and conditions for a number of reasons, the most important being you want the invoice to be paid within a designated timeframe.
If you didn’t include any terms or conditions, technically, your client could take months (even years) to pay your invoice…without any repercussions. That’s why these terms need to be stated no matter how your invoice looks like or what services you are invoicing for.
That being said, terms and conditions are a way to make your client accountable. It also ensures you’re not in financial trouble come payroll. And, it makes your business come across as professional and responsible.
Design – How Should an Invoice Look Like Design-Wise?
Many companies overlook the invoice design and opt for a basic invoice template. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it doesn’t do your company any good from a branding perspective.
Think about the dominant colors you use on your website. Try to incorporate these colors on your professional invoice template. Also, consider adding a colored border to your invoice to emphasize your brand.
For instance, if your company uses turquoise and gray in your logo and website, it would make sense for your invoice to have a turquoise background and gray border, or visa versa.
You want to have text at the bottom of your invoice that thanks the client for their purchase. This is not just a customer service opportunity but a branding opportunity as well.
If you’re a skateboard company, take an informal tone. Something like “Thanks for your service, and have a rad day with your new board” would suffice.
A school supplies company, on the other hand, would want to stick to the traditional “Thank you for your service” sign-off. As this would be more appropriate given your target clientele.
When Should You Send Your Professional Invoice Template?
Now that you’ve created your professional invoice template, when should you use it?
Ideally, you’ll want to submit an invoice as soon as the purchase order is completed or the service is carried out.
This leaves your client knowing exactly how much they owe you, with no room to guess.
The quick invoicing also shows that you own a professional, responsible, and dependable business.
Creating a professional invoice template demonstrates your professionalism. And, watch, your clients will pay on time more consistently.
Have some other invoicing pointers you’d like to share? Leave a comment below in the comment section!
P.S. If you are looking for financial statements template, we have prepared the free profit and loss template for you.