Tracking your billable hours and invoicing clients for your time is one part of your consulting business you want to stay on top of to keep your business profitable. It’s essential that you carefully record the time you spend working on your different projects and invoicing your clients regularly to ensure they pay you. A consulting invoice is one way to do this.
Preparing a Consulting Invoice Template
Using a consulting invoice template will help make this process simple and quick. It’ll allow you to create a professional invoice that lists your services, the hours you worked on a particular project, and the amount the clients owe you for this particular invoice. This simple and quick guide will show you how to invoice your clients using an invoice template for consulting services.
1. Include Your Company’s Information in the Header
It’s essential that your consulting invoice template comes with a header. You can create a standard one that will appear on every invoice you send out to your clients. Inside the header, you should have all of your company’s relevant information. Make sure to include:
- Business Contact Information – You’ll want to include everything your clients need to contact you, including your email, phone number, business name, and address.
- Logo – If your company has a logo, it’s a good idea to brand every invoice with it. Most sample consulting invoice generators have a spot off to the side for your logo.
- Invoice – Always make sure you include the word “invoice” in your header. This will help the client know at a glance what they’re looking at.
2. Keep Track of Your Hours
It’s an industry standard in the consulting business to charge by the hour. No matter if this is the arrangement you have with some of your clients or all of your clients across the board, meticulously tracking your hours is a must. The system should work for you and it should be something you can commit to for as long as you’re a consultant.
You want to put each billable hour in your records because this can help stop you from missing out on potential cash flow. One of the first steps of setting up a consulting invoice using a PDF template is to track your hours so you can bill. The client will want to see a clear breakdown of why their invoice total is what it is, and showing them the hours worked at the rate per hour is one way to avoid confusion.
3. Include an Invoice Date
Bookkeeping is another big part of setting up a sample consulting invoice because it’ll help you get organized come tax time. You want to include the date you prepare the invoice right below the client’s contact details. This date will help you quickly file and pull it again if you need to refer to a particular invoice down the road. Most businesses use sequential numbers on their consulting invoice template.
4. Add Contact Details for Each Client
Below the header, your consulting invoice template should feature a space for you to fill in your client’s contact details. It’s essential that you keep updated records and list the correct point of contact on each invoice, especially when you start dealing with dozens of clients.
If you start to work with larger companies, these contact details will usually be someone from the billing department rather than the contact you use on a day-to-day basis. You should confirm the point of contact for each client and take their information because this can help you get paid quicker for your consulting services. For smaller businesses, your day-to-day contact may also be the person you go to for billing.
5. List Your Services Clearly
For the clients, it’s extremely important that they know exactly what they have to pay for when they get their invoice. This is why each invoice template for consulting services should allow you to clearly list your services in an itemized list. This allows your clients to skim down the list and see what you did on a specific project and it makes it easy to reference later. Your itemized list should include:
- Brief description of every service
- Hourly rate of pay
- Number of hours worked
- Subtotal for each service charge
Many times, you’ll be able to organize this information in a small table at the bottom of your consulting invoice. If you can, you should include a separate column for every piece of information to make it easier to double-check and for the client to understand exactly why the charges are at the level they are.
6. Highlight the Payment Due Date
Make sure you have the payment due date clearly listed on your invoice. It should be as highly visible as possible so it’s not possible for your clients to miss it. Consider putting the payment due date in a different color or bolding it to make it stand out from the rest of the information.
Additionally, get in the habit of giving your clients a specific due date on each consulting invoice. You want to avoid vague language like “payment due in 30 days” because this opens the door for different interpretations. This can help the client pay you faster because you have a tight deadline and it’ll avoid confusion.
7. Number Each Invoice
Each invoice you create should come with a unique number. Including this in the consulting invoice template will allow you to easily track and pull a specific invoice if either you or your client has an issue down the line. A consistent numbering system will also help you file your invoices all year long and keep your records organized. Using sequential numbers is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this.
So, you can start numbering your consulting invoices as Invoice #001, and the second invoice will be Invoice #002, and the sequence will continue with each additional invoice you send out. It’s also possible to create a numbering system that will include the invoicing date on your Google Docs invoice templates. This number should be at the top portion of your invoice where it’s easy for your client to see at a glance.
8. State Clear Payment Terms
Every sample consulting invoice you work with should include payment terms. It’s a very good idea to discuss your payment terms with each client when you onboard them before they sign any contract. This will reduce the chances of surprises when you send out your first bill. The payment terms should include a list of payment methods you’ll accept from your clients for your services, and the most popular include:
- Bank Transfers
- Credit Cards
- Mobile Payments
- Online Payments
- Recurring Payments
- Split Payments
Additionally, this is the section of your consulting invoice template where you want to include your policy for late payments. If you plan on charging late fees with overdue payments, you should carefully list out all of these details in one section so the client doesn’t get surprised if they forget to pay on time.
9. Total the Amount Due
At the bottom of the invoice under your itemized list for your service charges, include the total amount due for your services. You should add in any taxes or discounts in this section too. Just like you do for the due date, it’s important that this sticks out from the page. You could use bolder, larger, or more colorful fonts to accomplish this. Doing so will allow clients to easily look at the consulting invoice, find the payment and know exactly how much they have to pay.
Five Tips for Creating an Effective Invoicing Process for Your Services
As a consultant, you’re aware that you have specific accounting needs that will directly impact how you invoice each client. These quick tips will help you set up your invoice template for consulting services to improve the entire process and help your clients pay you faster.
Tip One – Automatically Track Your Hours
You want to save time on your administrative tasks whenever possible because this allows you to focus on the more important aspect of your work. One quick way you can do this is to automatically track your hours rather than having to manually track them and make notes about each service you offer.
It’s possible for you to install browser extensions that will help keep track of all of your time for you. If you choose to use a cloud-based accounting program, it will allow you to log your hours directly into the software. In turn, this can streamline your tracking ability to help you concentrate on your projects.
Tip Two – Accept Several Payment Methods
The more payment methods you’re willing to accept for your services, the more convenient it is for your clients to pay you when you send them your consulting invoice template. When it’s easier for your clients to pay you, they’re more likely to send payments on time or ahead of schedule. This is why it’s standard to accept the most popular payment methods, like credit cards, but you could also consider adding mobile or online payments as well.
It’s possible to offer recurring payments for your clients because this allows them to pay their invoices automatically on a set schedule. Depending on the software you pick out, it’s possible to accept recurring payments and track them as they come in. This can help you avoid late payments and fees.
Tip Three – Request Deposits
If you take on a long-term project that is going to take you months to finish, you will want to ask for a deposit upfront before you start working on it. Ideally, you’ll ask for between 25% and 50% upfront to help give your business a steady cash flow while you work. This also reduces the overall risk for yourself because you guarantee your business at least a partial payment for your services before you start working.
Tip Four – Send Out Project Invoices Immediately
In order to ensure that your clients pay you as fast as possible for the service you render, you want to send out your Excel consulting invoice as soon as you finish this project. While invoicing immediately may not automatically mean that the client pays you straight away, it can help keep work at the forefront of your mind and leave you less likely to forget a project task and leave it off the invoice.
Tip Five – Be Polite
This one may seem like common sense, but being polite about any communication you send your clients regarding your invoice template for consulting services can create a good working relationship. You could include a brief thank-you note on the bottom of your consulting invoice because it helps it feel more personal. When you follow-up about payment, make sure any emails you send or calls you make have a cordial nature because your clients will respond favorably to this.
Of course, you need to be compliant with your local tax legislation. There are some minor differences in field names used, GST/VAT tax levels etc. amongst countries. Check out our invoice template for UK based businesses as an example. Or have a look at our Australian or NZ invoice template.
Create a Consulting Invoice Using Billdu’s Free Trial
Billdu offers you a completely free trial where you can test out our software and make a host of invoice templates for consulting services. You can also track the status of each invoice on the dashboard to ensure that your clients pay you. It’s possible to set up different payment methods, add your business information, and tailor your consulting invoice template to each client. We’ll help you set your business up for success. No more manual editing of consulting invoice templates, with Billdu you automate the invoicing processes with a few clicks.