How to create an invoice: plus invoice template tips Invoicing can be a tricky task: we're here to help the process of creating one easier. Written by Stephanie Lennox Updated on 4 August 2023 Our experts We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. Written and reviewed by: Stephanie Lennox Writer Invoicing is a crucial aspect of running any small business smoothly. Sending prompt and professional-looking invoices creates a positive impression on your clients; it enhances your reputation as a professional and reliable business; ensures that you get paid in a timely manner; helps you maintain a healthy cash flow, and enables better organisation and tracking of your financial transactions.All of this makes it easier for you to manage your business finances, prepare tax documents, and plan for future growth.However, invoicing can often feel like a time-consuming and complicated task, causing headaches and taking you away from other important aspects of your business. Fear not! We have a solution that will save you time, effort, and sanity: an invoice template.We'll take you step by step through the process of creating an invoice, and show you why accuracy and detailed information are crucial for getting paid promptly and maintaining a positive relationship with your clients.Get ready to level up your invoicing game! In this article, we will cover: How to create an invoice What does an invoice need to include? Invoice template dos and don'ts Conclusion FAQs QuickBooks is an invaluable tool for small business owners and sole traders, offering seamless online invoice creation. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, QuickBooks simplifies the process of generating professional invoices. You can find more information here about how Quickbooks can help you with online invoicing. How to create an invoiceCreating an invoice involves several essential steps – using a consistent template takes the pain out of this. Once mastered, templated invoicing is something you can easily tick off time and time again along the journey of running your small business. Here’s what it entails to create an invoice:Step 1: Create an invoice templateWhen it comes to designing invoices, people employ various approaches. The most important thing is to create a professional and visually appealing document that conveys key information clearly. Here’s what designing your invoice involves:Branding and Logo: Many individuals and businesses incorporate their branding elements into the design of their invoices. This includes placing their company logo prominently at the top of the invoice to reinforce brand identity. The use of consistent colours, fonts, and overall visual style helps create a cohesive look that aligns with the brand's image.Layout: A clean and organised layout is essential for easy readability. People often divide their invoices into sections, clearly delineating the information for the trader and the client. This typically includes separate sections:Contact detailsInvoice number Invoice dateItem / work descriptions, quantities, pricesSubtotals, taxes, discountsTotal amount dueA grid-based or tabular format is commonly used to present this information neatly. Incorporating white space (or empty space) in the design can also prevent the invoice from appearing cluttered. It allows for easier scanning and improves overall readability.Highlight important information: Highlighting due dates, payment terms, or any additional instructions in a different colour or style also helps draw attention to crucial information.Colour scheme and typography: Carefully selecting a colour scheme and typography can enhance the visual appeal of an invoice. Business owners often choose colours that align with their brand or opt for a professional and clean look with muted or complementary tones. For typography, legible and easy-to-read fonts are preferred. Keep things professional by maintaining a consistent font, too.Footer: Invoices often include a professional footer that reiterates your company contact information, such as the business address, email, phone number, and website. Additionally, legal information, such as company or tax identification numbers or applicable terms and conditions, may be included in the footer.There are numerous options available online if you don’t want to start from scratch and design something yourself, including customisable templates for various industries, so you can easily find and select one that suits your business needs. With QuickBooks' free invoice templates, you can create everything from pro forma invoices to tax invoices. As long as your invoice design complies with UK regulations, you can customise your design how you like. We’ll be talking more about the required regulations further below.Step 2: Add your business informationStart by including your business name, logo, address, website address if you run an online store or business website.This information helps your clients identify the source of the invoice and contact you if needed.Step 3: Include client informationBelow your business details, provide the client's name, address, and contact information. Make sure to double-check the accuracy of these details to avoid any confusion or delays in payment.Step 4: Generate an invoice numberAssign a unique invoice number to each invoice. Invoice numbers provide a systematic way to organise and track your invoices, and for client account departments to do the same at their end. When each invoice is assigned with a unique number, it allows businesses to easily locate and reference specific invoices when needed. This helps streamline record-keeping, facilitates accurate bookkeeping, and simplifies the process of tracking payments and outstanding invoices.By using invoice numbers, small businesses can maintain a clear and structured record of their financial transactions. This makes it easier to reconcile accounts, identify discrepancies, and ensure accurate financial reporting. During audits or financial reviews, having well-organised and properly numbered invoices helps expedite the process and demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail.You will always have a clear reference point when communicating with customers or clients regarding specific invoices when they are numbered. It enables both parties to quickly and accurately refer to a particular transaction, eliminating confusion and ensuring smooth communication. This is particularly helpful when discussing payment status, resolving disputes, or addressing any inquiries related to a specific invoice.Even small businesses deal with a high volume of invoices at times. Assigning unique invoice numbers helps streamline the invoicing process and improves overall efficiency. It reduces the likelihood of duplicate or missing invoices, ensuring that every transaction is properly accounted for. The use of invoice numbers also simplifies data entry and retrieval, saving time and effort in managing financial records.Step 5: Specify invoice date and due dateClearly state the invoice date, which indicates when the invoice was issued. Additionally, mention the due date, allowing your clients to know when payment is expected. It is advisable to set reasonable payment terms to maintain a healthy cash flow.Step 6: Itemise products or servicesList each product or service provided, along with a description and individual cost. Include the quantity, rate, and any applicable taxes. Subtotal the items and provide the total amount due.Your invoice should provide a clear breakdown of the goods or services exchanged and the associated costs, as this level of detail will help both the buyer and the seller to have a clear understanding of the transaction.This (combined with the above step of having a clear due date for your customers), is arguably the most important point of your invoice – because this information can serve as a valuable tool in resolving disputes that may arise between parties involved in a transaction. If there is a disagreement regarding the quantity, quality, or pricing of the goods or services provided, the invoice acts as evidence to support one party's claims. The detailed information on the invoice, including the description of the items, quantities, and agreed-upon prices, can help resolve disputes more efficiently and fairly.Step 7: Outline payment methodsSpecify the accepted payment methods, such as bank transfers, checks, or online payment platforms, and include relevant account details or instructions for the customer’s ease of payment. These could include:Accepted payment methods: Clearly state the payment methods that you accept, such as bank transfers, checks, or online payment platforms. This information ensures that the buyer knows which options are available for making payment. By specifying the accepted payment methods upfront, you help streamline the payment process and minimise confusion.Bank transfers: If you accept bank transfers, include your bank's name, the account holder's name, the account number, and the routing number (if applicable). Providing this information enables the buyer to initiate a direct bank transfer easily. You may also want to mention any specific instructions, such as including the invoice number as a reference in the transfer description.Cheques: If you accept payment by cheque, provide clear instructions on whom the cheque should be made payable to and where it should be sent. Include your business's address or a designated P.O. Box for receiving cheques. Additionally, consider including any additional details that may be required, such as an invoice number or reference, on the memo line of the cheque.Online payment platforms: if you offer online payment options, such as Zettle by PayPal, Stripe, or any other of the best pos software out there right now, mention the platforms you use and provide instructions on how to make payments through them.Include any relevant links or payment buttons that direct the buyer to the payment page associated with your business.QR codes or other payment links: to enhance convenience, you can generate QR codes or payment links associated with the invoice. These can be scanned or clicked by the buyer, redirecting them to a payment page with pre-filled invoice details. This approach simplifies the payment process, especially when using mobile devices or digital wallets.Step 8: Add additional informationIf applicable, include any relevant information such as discounts, payment terms, or late payment fees. Clear communication regarding these terms ensures both you and the customer are on the same page. What does an invoice need to include?No matter what styles or fancy flourishes you decide to put on the final mockup of your invoice, out of all the steps above, every invoice must include these certain mandatory elements to be considered valid. They include:Your business name, logo, and contact detailsClient's name, address, and contact detailsUnique invoice number and issuance dateA detailed description of the products or services providedIndividual costs, quantity, rate, and applicable taxesSubtotal and total amount dueAccepted payment methods and relevant instructionsPayment terms, discounts, and late payment fees (if applicable)Do you need a PO number?A PO (purchase order) number is a reference number issued by the client for specific goods or services requested. While not always necessary, certain instances may require you to include a PO number on your invoice. These instances include:When the client explicitly requests a PO number on the invoiceWhen the client has an internal system that tracks invoices based on PO numbersWhen dealing with government agencies or larger organisations that require PO numbers for their accounting processesTo include a PO number on an invoice, simply add a dedicated field or line on your template where the PO number can be entered. Ensure clear communication with your client to avoid any confusion regarding the use of PO numbers. Invoice template dos and don'tsWhen using an invoice template, it's essential to follow best practices and avoid common mistakes. Consider the following dos and don'ts:Do:✔️ Customise the template with your brand elements, logo and colour scheme.✔️ Ensure the template is easy to read and understand.✔️ Double-check all the information before sending the invoice.✔️ Save a copy of each invoice for your records.✔️ Regularly update and maintain your invoice template to reflect any changes in your business or pricing structure.Don't:❌ Overcomplicate the design of the template, making it difficult to navigate.❌ Omit crucial information or make errors in the invoice details.❌ Rely solely on the template without reviewing and verifying the information.❌ Use an outdated or unprofessional-looking template. ConclusionCreating invoices that are professional and accurate is super important for small businesses and sole traders. It's all about presenting yourself in the best light and getting paid on time. That's where invoice templates come in handy. They make your life easier by simplifying the whole invoicing process, saving you precious time, and helping you get those payments rolling in promptly. Just be sure to include all the important details, a personal touch that matches your brand, and follow the do’s and don’ts above to keep your invoices above board and in style. Start using an invoice template today to enjoy the perks of hassle-free invoicing. Frequently Asked Questions What is the benefit of using an invoice template? An invoice template saves time, ensures consistency, and presents a professional image to clients. Templates simplify the process by providing a pre-designed structure that includes all the necessary elements. What information should be included in an invoice? Invoices should include your business details, client information, invoice number, issuance date, due date, itemised products or services with costs, payment methods, and any additional terms or fees. Do you need specific software to create an invoice template? No, you can find invoice templates online that can be customised using common software like Microsoft Word, Excel, or Google Docs. Are there any legal requirements for invoicing in the UK? While there are no specific legal requirements for invoicing in the UK, it is important to include accurate and comprehensive information to ensure compliance with tax regulations and facilitate smooth payment processing. Accountants or tax professionals can be good people to ask for advice from throughout the process. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Tags News and Features Written by: Stephanie Lennox Writer Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 11 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.