A simple invoice template is a basic, no-thrills billing statement used by freelancers and small businesses to collect compensation for work performed or products sold. The document contains limited, generic formatting, supplying a professional appearance that can be left as-is or customized to match an individual’s or company’s image.
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Many invoice templates are intended to be “universal,” which implies that they are to be used by individuals from entirely different industries. But due to the generic nature of universal invoices, it’s not uncommon for an independent contractor or company to strike out on their own and create an invoice from scratch. Below are instructions for designing an invoice using one of the most popular platforms for creating documents: Microsoft Word.
Take the time to mentally picture the layout of the invoice. For companies that only offer a few products or services, having twenty line items will only take up space and make the invoice considerably less “simple.” Once a mental picture of the invoice has been formed, the first fields can be created.
Starting in the upper-left of the document, begin creating the “contact” fields. This is where both the provider and client’s contact information will go. To create a field, hold the “shift” key at the same time as the dash “-” key to produce an underscore “_.” Creating several underscores in a row will produce a field for recording information.
Next, create the area for line items to be recorded. The recommended way of achieving this is by using the “table” option. Select the “insert” tab at the top of the screen. Then, select the “Table” button. Drag the boxes to the desired size of the table. A minimum of four (4) columns should be selected to ensure a description of each service or product can be listed as well as the quantity, cost per item, and the total amount of each item type.
Create a field for listing the total amount of the invoice. This value should be kept below the table, preferably under the “total amounts” column. Finally, add a spot for any additional fees, notes, and the terms of the invoice. On the most basic level, the invoice is now complete.
For companies and contractors that issue invoices, the customer’s final impression isn’t when they walk out the door—it’s when they receive the invoice for the services or products they purchased. An invoice can, in many ways, make or break the customer’s feelings about a company. Charged more than they promised? Delayed sending an invoice out for days or weeks? Only accept one type of payment method? The list goes on. As a company or freelancer that issues invoices, keep the following in mind:
- Clearly state the penalties for late payments – Stating the fee that results from a client being late on payment ensures the client understands the importance of making timely payment(s).
- Make it easy for the customer – Utilizing an online invoicing platform allows the client to make payments at the touch of a button from their computer or phone. This not only lessens the payment turnaround time–it makes it easier for the company to track and organize payments on the whole.
- Include straightforward terms – Clearly stating the length of time the customer has to pay the invoice ensures there is no room for interpretation. It’s even better if the company includes a discount for paying early. For example, the company could offer a term of “5/10 Net 30,” which translates to a 5% discount if the invoice is paid in full within thirty (30) days.