Some people enjoy volunteering and donating their time, services, and goods out of the kindness of their hearts. But usually, people prefer to be paid, which is why they send invoices. An invoice is a detailed list of the goods or services which a customer has received from you, with a tally of the payment terms, amount owed, and due date. An invoice is a clear documentation of the fact that payment is owed to you.
Invoices are used to remind your clients that they have an obligation to pay you for the goods and services rendered. Perhaps you thought your client would be excited about paying you immediately and keep it at the forefront of their mind without you mentioning anything? You sweet summer child. Everybody is happy to eat pizza when it shows up, but nobody is eager to pay for it. Invoices are the paper trail that ensures you are properly compensated for what your customers have received.
A good invoice will contain a date and invoice number, basic contact information for both your business and the customer, and, most importantly, an itemized list of what was purchased. Along with the terms of payment. You can remember this all and type it up anew every time, but it's far more efficient to use an invoice template with all of these fields already marked out for your convenience. That way, you only have to change the customer-specific information, and can leave your company information the same.
60% of invoices are paid late. This may not sound like a glowing endorsement for invoice templates. Why bother, if your clients are going to be an average of a week late with your money, even when you send them an invoice? At least this is a professional-looking invoice that clearly indicates exactly how much they owe you with an itemized list. And if you build out an automation sequence in Spreadsheet.com, an email reminder can be sent to both you and the client about the upcoming due dates, and past-due invoices. That's not nothing. A good invoice template can't completely solve the problem of slow payments, but it can help make sure that the money owed to you is not forgotten.
"Invoice" is short for "inner voice," the little voice inside your head that tells you "goods and services rendered means that the price must be paid." By sending an invoice to clients, you activate their inner voice to remind them of the same thing. If clients ignore your invoice and your follow-up asking about the delayed payment, then you may wish to switch to an "outvoice," a.k.a. your "outside voice."
Invoices should always have an invoice number, but you don't have to assign those starting from #0001. If you're a small business with a sense of mischief, you can number your first invoice #420, #24601, or #867-5309.
Use this free invoice template to create and customize your own invoices for your clients. Or don't, if you insist on using an Excel invoice template for some reason. This online invoice template does everything you could want, and even includes the option of photo attachments for each line item right in the spreadsheet. But if you have to have an Excel invoice template, our feelings won't be hurt. Much.
Either way, an invoice is a document used to itemize and record a transaction between a vendor and a buyer. Typically, a business sends an invoice to a client after they deliver the product or service. The invoice tells the buyer how much they owe the seller and sets up payment terms for the transaction.
Unlike a Word invoice template, this spreadsheet will automatically add up all your line items and even calculate tax if you ask it to. Plus, you don't have to worry about being condescended to by a talking paperclip.
Start by filling in your company's name, address, and contact details. Then save that as your new template, so you never have to fill those in again.
For each new order, fill in the Date and Quote Number (Invoice Number) under the appropriate sections at the top of the sheet. Under that, be sure to specify your Payment Terms to indicate when payment is due. Then fill out the customer's Billing and Shipping contact details to ensure that the invoice records are correct.
Each item receives its own line, where you can enter the Product name, SKU, Unit Price, and Quantity of units sold. Optionally, you may also attach an image directly into the spreadsheet for easy reference.
This fully-functional invoice template will automatically calculate the Total for each line item, as well as a Subtotal tallying all line items.
If you are granting your customer a Discount, or charging your customer with a Tax rate and/or a Shipping & handling charge, be sure to enter those amounts in the appropriate boxes below the subtotal.
The spreadsheet will automatically apply any entered discount, calculate any tax, and present you with the grand Total on the bottom line.
For any special payment instructions or comments to your customer, use the Comments field on the lower left.
You want an invoice template because it's going to make life easier for your business in various ways.
Do you absolutely need one? Technically, no. You could just email your client and say, "Hey, you owe me $500. Pay up." Or you could just stick a post-it note on their new table. But it doesn't look as professional, so unless the client is a close friend of yours, you're really better off with an invoice template like this one. Besides, using this free invoice template has many benefits including:
Ease of Use
You get paid for the goods and services you sell to your clients. But nobody's paying you to fill out invoices, so ideally you'd spend as little time on them as possible. Why not use an invoice template that does most of the work for you? Just fill in the customer information and the line items for each product sold to the customer, and this spreadsheet will do all the math. No calculator required.
An official-looking invoice is harder for your customers to accidentally misplace (or "accidentally" "misplace") than a quick random note. A professional invoice template shows your customers that your business means business. And including the payment terms reminds them that there is a specific deadline by which you need to be paid. If you want to add a little extra encouragement for your customers, you can add a discount for fast payment, or a penalty for slow payment, depending on whether you want to play good cop or bad cop.
And in the rare but unfortunate circumstance that your customer refuses to pay, an invoice can serve as legal documentation of goods or services rendered and payment owed. A paper trail always works best when the paper looks official and has all the right details.
An invoice documents your sales in a way that can be helpful for your bookkeeping efforts. If you need to look up an order to confirm the details, an invoice will give you the date, customer information, and all the details of what was sold. Invoices also can come in handy for tax purposes, since the IRS recommends that small (and not-so-small) business owners keep good records of their business transactions. And the IRS likewise prefers official invoice templates to a scribbled note that says, "Bob, big chair, $350"
Some people also use invoices as a way to keep track of their inventory, which you theoretically could do, but probably shouldn't. Your invoices will list everything you've sold, but it's optimized to track the details of each sale, not your whole inventory. A good invoice template will help you with many things. But when it comes to tracking inventory, you'd be far better off using a dedicated Inventory Management Template.
Last-Ditch Marketing Effort
Obviously, an invoice is not going to be your primary marketing method. But the fact of the matter is, it leaves a piece of paper in your customer's hands with your company name and information on it, along with a reminder that they successfully purchased goods or services from you. This isn't the worst thing for them to have lying around for the next time they are considering a similar purchase.
This is also why it's nice to leave a friendly note in the Comments field.
Anyone who sells goods or services.
As mentioned above, invoice templates have a wide range of benefits. They are easy to use, simplify your billing process, help ensure that you actually get paid, and provide you with official documents for bookkeeping purposes. This can be especially important for anyone using accrual accounting, as unpaid invoices document the money that is owed to you but is not yet contributing to your cash flow.
There are many kinds of invoice templates, and while the free invoice template above has many advantages such as in-line product photos, we recognize that some people would still prefer an Excel invoice template. (Some people also prefer a Word invoice template, but since an invoice template in Word can't even add up the totals for you, we don't understand those people).