Why self-employed people should send professional invoices
Most professionals have MS Office loaded on their computers. Besides being highly intuitive and extremely easy to use, MS Office can help you create attractive, well-organized invoices in Excel or Word formats that are flexible enough to include every detail needed to ensure you are paid properly for the products or services you provide.
On top of being fully customizable, MS Office invoices look polished and professional, which is important for your reputation. Every touch point with your customer reflects on your image, so make sure your invoice helps to instill confidence and trust in you and your expertise.
Once you've downloaded your free invoice template, you'll need to customize it to fit your specific business. Here are the 10 key things to include on your invoice:
- Title and Description: Name the project and briefly describe what type of work your client is being invoiced for.
- Company Details: Add your company name, address, phone number, and logo to the top-right corner.
- Customer Details: Under "Bill To", add your customer's name, address, and contact information.
- Invoice Number: Include a unique invoice number to help you track down this invoice in the future. You can format this based on sequence and customer. For example, if you're sending your very first customer their first invoice, the invoice number could be 001-001.
- Dates: Include the date when your invoice has been issued and the date when payment is due.
- Line Item: Add individual line items for each unique good or service you provided. For each line item, include a brief description, quantity, individual unit price, and total price.
- Subtotal: Add up the subtotal of your goods or services, before tax has been applied.
- Tax: Indicate the tax rate applied to the subtotal. This is legally required to provide on invoices, and your rate may differ depending on where you run your business.
- Total: Outline the total amount due from the customer, after tax.
- Notes: Include any additional info your customer should know, including terms of service and payment terms (for example, payments are due 30 days after the invoice has been issued).
- Look through our extensive range of MS Office invoice templates available in several beautiful designs and colors
- Download the MS Office invoice template you like best. It’s absolutely free!
- Enter your business name and all of your current contact information. If you provide any specialty products or services – mention it here
- Insert your well-designed logo, your business website address, and your professional qualifications and/or certifications
- Add your client’s name and all of their current contact information
- Enter a unique invoice number
- Include the date of the invoice, as well as your payment due date
- List all the products you’ve supplied, or the services you’ve provided, and the respective prices and fees. It’s easy to add lines on a MS Office invoice template, so make sure you include all the details. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to clearly understand what they are paying for
- If you are including a discount for a loyal customer, or to encourage business from a new one, add a line explaining the discount so they know they are paying an amazing price for your excellent products and/or services
- Calculate the total price, including the applicable tax, and enter the total
- Include your payment terms, including all the methods of payment you accept
- Let your customer know how much you appreciate their business by adding a personal line at the end of your invoice to thank them, and to mention how much you enjoyed working with them
- Save the invoice – and send it off to the customer
When is the right time to send a MS Office invoice to your clients?
The right time to send your invoice varies with the type of business you are in.
If you sell goods or products, print off the invoice and give it to the customer at the time of the sale.
If your invoice is for services for a small job or project, give it to the customer at the completion of the project. You need to keep the revenue flowing in, so for longer projects, you can modify your MS Office invoice to bill for a percentage of the payment up front, with the remainder on completion.
If you are hired on contract, arrange to send in bi-weekly or monthly invoices.
Whatever payment cadence you choose, make sure it’s clearly noted on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final ‘cost’ has been paid to date.
Quick Invoice tips before sending your first invoice
If you need to charge for any additional expenses while working on a project, such as for travel, include an expense report along with the receipts when you send in your invoice. Include all the details so your customer knows why they are being billed.
Send your invoice to right person
If you are providing your services to a large company or organization, your direct client contact might not be the person who receives invoices or pays the bills. Make sure you find out where to send your invoice, and add an “Attention to:” line so it goes to the right person.
Shorten your payment terms
We live in an increasingly automated world, and people are accustomed to paying for products and services right away. Consider shortening your payment terms, or offering a discount for early payment. Even a small discount can encourage customers to send in money sooner!
Be courteous and patient
If a portion of your invoice is an unplanned expense for your customer, make sure you have politely and patiently explained the services or products you have supplied, and the costs involved. By being empathetic and kind, your customers are more likely to spread the word about you and your great work, and recommend you to their friends and business acquaintances.