It’s really important that you know how to write an invoice.
It is a critical skill that every freelancer needs to learn to ensure that you are paid on time and don’t lose out on being paid for any work you have done.
Not only that, if you sent your client paper receipts and scribbled notes, they would not be as likely to pay you on time and would probably question how you run your business.
In this article we’re going to show you what information you need to include in your invoice and how to structure it properly.
What is an invoice?
To put it simply, an invoice is a list of services you’ve provided to a client, with a statement of the cost of each item in the list due for them to pay you.
So while your quote lets your client know how much their freelance job will cost, your invoice explains what you have done and asks for that amount to be paid.
You therefore need to keep an invoice simple and make it obvious, both in the presentation of the document and the language you use, what work you have provided for them and how much it all costs.
What information needs to be in your invoice?
If you condense down what’s been said above then an invoice has two main functions:
- To clarify the work you have done and what it costs.
- Provide your details and payment information.
So in order to clarify the work you have done you will need to provide
- Your client’s order or job number (if they have one).
- The title of the project or name of the job.
- Details about the work you completed, including hours (if relevant).
- Dates you completed the work (if relevant).
- The amount your client needs to pay you.
- Your payment terms – for example payment within 30 days.
- Your bank details if you wish them to transfer money, or account name if they’re paying by cheque.
If you don’t have some of this information to hand then you will need to ask your client for this information.
As well as all the information about the work you have done and the amount they need to pay, you will also need to provide the following information both for your records and so that they can pay you correctly:
- Your client’s name and address (Make sure that it is the address that the client’s accounting department needs you to address the invoice too).
- Your name and address (your business address if relevant).
- Your invoice number (this helps with your own organisation and archive)
- The date that you are issuing the invoice.
- Your registered business address and company number (if you are a limited company).
- Your VAT registration number (If you’re registered).
- Any VAT you have charged when itemising the costing of the services you have provided.
If you are unsure about whether you are providing all the relevant information the client needs then the most important thing is to ask, don’t leave anything to chance. If it’s not possible to ask anyone at the organisation then just ask a colleague or friend, or, in the worst case scenario, go back to the description above and think about what the basic function of an invoice is.
Next, let’s go back to the structure of the invoice.
What should go at the top? This is where your business name and logo needs to take pride of place.
What to put in your invoice header
The first item on your freelance invoice should be your business name, or your full name, in professional (and easy to read) font. The font size should be a little bigger than the rest of the text on the invoice, and possibly even bolded for emphasis.
Next you’ll want to include your contact information: your mailing address, phone number, email address, website, etc., right underneath your business name. To make it easier to read, consider typing the info on several lines like this:
Mary Smith Design Services
PO Box 88996
New York, US 66300
To make your invoice look really professional, create and include your own logo on the right – or left-hand side of the header.
Specify the due date
We mentioned earlier that you should specify your payment terms, but what should they be?
The due date for the invoice is totally up to you, however, most invoicing systems are set up on a 30 day, 45 day or 60 day timeframe. You can also make the invoice “Due upon receipt,” where the recipient is required to pay the invoice promptly.
Make sure to include a column for each of the following: description of work or services, date worked, quantity, rate, hours worked and subtotal. This makes it easy to tally up the total when you list out multiple projects or tasks you’ve completed for the client.
Specify your payment options
It is important that you specify your payment options, so that the client knows the best method to pay you — whether you prefer to be paid with cash, a check, a credit card or a service like PayPal. Some companies will offer direct deposit, if you do regular work for them, but more than likely you’ll have to send an invoice to request payment every time you complete a project.
So that’s everything you need! If you need want to see a template for guidance, then Quickbooks have an awesome free invoice creator so that you can create free invoices in 3 easy steps. They even show you what the template will look like as you’re filling in your information.
Empower your invoices with QuickBooks
While it’s important to understand how to make your own invoice from scratch, using an invoicing system gives you access to a whole host of features so you can see when your invoice has been viewed, send automated follow ups and get notifications when it’s been paid.
Quickbooks is the world’s most popular invoicing app and makes it easy to create and send invoices on the go.
But Quickbooks doesn’t just help you create great looking invoices, it also helps you take control of your cash flow and know where money is going, all in one place It also lets you take the guesswork out of tax savings with receipts attached to expenses. All with a snap of a photo.
Click here to find out more about the world’s most popular invoicing software and get a free 30 day trial and then just £2 a month.