What is a Basic Invoice?
An invoice is a business document that details the fees and payment details following a project or business relationship. They’re used by freelancers and businesses alike to formally request payment for services rendered throughout a specific period of time.
Now, that sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but it doesn’t need to be as complicated as it sounds. A simple invoice includes a couple of core features—without these features, the invoice can be rejected by the client. This slows down payment and draws out the project—two things that you can’t afford to do as a freelancer.
Among the must-have features of a simple invoice are a title, party details, the invoice date, payment date, services description, and the total amount payable. You also want to include a unique invoice identification number—this helps both you and the client keep track of accounts.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to include in your invoice template to ensure you send professional invoices to all clients.
Note: Sign up to Bonsai for free today to access this invoice template, and make sending invoices quick and easy with our simple invoicing software.
What to Include in a Basic Invoice
Creating and sending invoices can be a hassle for businesses—whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner. Having an invoice template reduces the workload significantly—all you have to do is plug the project-specific info into the relevant sections.
If you plan to go at it alone, here’s what to include:
A title for your invoice
This may seem obvious, but you need to specify that you’re sending an invoice. This way, clients can’t claim they were unaware of the action required from them.
Clearly title your invoice as such to avoid any delayed payment.
An invoice identification number is a unique, sequential code that categorizes and classifies invoices. It’s an essential part of your invoice as it ensure that it’s properly documented for taxation and accounting reasons. It also makes your personal records easier to navigate.
There’s no set way to number your invoices, but—for accountancy sake—avoid including any spaces in your identification number. If you work with an accountant, talk with them about the best way to number you invoices.
Both parties’ details
This is absolutely key—this info states who’s sending the invoice and who’s paying it. You wouldn’t send a letter to no address—an invoice isn’t any different.
Make sure to include the business name, business address, and contact details of your client. You also need to include your company name, address, and details too. For extra flair, add your company logo, branding tweaks, and any other important details in this section.
Bonsai top tip: Use a free invoice template to avoid filling out the same information over and over again. Bonsai’s fully customizable invoice templates allow you to create a professional invoice in minutes.
There are a number of dates you need to include in your invoice template. This includes the dates you supplied your services, the date you issued the invoice, and the due date for invoice payment.
These dates give structure to the invoice, and also provide details that relate the invoice to the project. You want to pay special attention to the due date—that’s what determines when you get paid. Clearly defining this due date will help secure your cash flow and ensure payments are made on time.
Description of services
This is where you describe the services you’re invoicing for—what you’ve been working on with the client and what it is you’re being paid for. This typically appears in table format to easily attribute services to a cost, however, you can choose what works for your business.
Be comprehensive with what you're charging for, and provide an itemized list where possible. This keeps things clear and simple and informs the customer of what exactly they're paying for.
This is where the money’s at—quite literally. Here’s where you sum all the costs incurred by customers and generate a total amount to be paid. Any good invoicing software or excel invoice template will do this for you—you can even do it on an invoice template google docs file.
Any simple invoice template should have a section dedicated to communicating the final price. This includes the cost of your services, plus any VAT or additional fees or taxes.
Finally, you want to include the terms of payment for your invoice. This specifies when you expect payment, and what happens if this requirement isn’t met. Be as specific as possible here—30 calendar days is not the same as 30 business days.
Leaving details up to interpretation is a sure fire way to encounter difficulties with payment. Whether it’s by EOM or 30 business days—make sure to include it in your invoice.
How to Write Basic Invoice Templates
Now you know what an invoice does and what to include in your simple invoice template, here are some tips on how to write professional invoices.
Keep it professional
You’ve delivered a great project up until now—don’t fall at the final hurdle. Make sure to remain professional at this final step. The invoice is often the last official business document you’ll submit to a client after a project—you’ll likely have started the relationship with a proposal and have been working in accordance with a contract throughout.
Give clients a positive final impression of your business and services to let them know they can count on you. This way, when it comes to working with you again they won’t have any doubts or hesitations.
Be consistent and thorough
Keeping consistent with your invoices will make your—and your accountant’s—life a lot easier. Your invoices are documentation of your payment requests and are key to keeping accounts up to date.
It’s essential to create a process for tracking, sorting, and securing your invoices and other financial records.
Personalize your invoice
Providing personalized business documents helps make a bigger impression on clients. It draws a cohesive picture of your organization, and instantly reminds customers who they’re working with.
Personalized invoice templates aren’t difficult to achieve—simply add your branding to the document. If using invoicing software, you can do this automatically to all your invoice templates. All you have to do is edit the fully customizable invoice template with project-specific info and you’re good to go.
Creating a Basic Invoice is Simple with Bonsai
Creating your own invoice from scratch for every single project is a waste of your time and energy. Instead, consider using a free invoice template from Bonsai.
Invoice templates help you save time and effort by providing all the necessary sections for billing customers quickly and easily. Free invoice templates are a life saver for small businesses and freelancers alike—a big step up from creating invoice in google sheets, google docs, or microsoft word.
Plus, signing up and accessing your free invoice template couldn’t be easier:
- Sign up to Bonsai
- Pick the free template you need
- Customize it as per your requirements
Streamlining your official processes with Bonsai really is a no brainer—with hundreds of invoice templates, contract templates, and more at your disposal.
Join the 500,000+ small business owners and freelancers already using Bonsai to customize free invoice templates for all their billing needs.
Simple Invoice Template FAQs
Do you need to send invoices?
Yes, you need to issue an invoice after completing a project for a client. It wraps up the business relationship, and ensures you get paid for your hard work.
What should a simple invoice include?
A simple invoice should include:
- A title
- Invoice identification number
- Both parties’ details
- Relevant dates
- Description of services
- Total fees
- Terms of payment
When using a free invoice template, lots of these sections are already in the doc. If you wish to use a simple invoice template, make sure to fill it with your details. Then, simply download it in pdf. format and send it out to your clients.
Alternatively, use an invoice template from Bonsai to create a professional invoice that you can easily edit and send off to clients—without the need to leave the platform.
Examples of Blank invoice templates
Of course, we believe Bonsai has the best blank invoice template out there, but sometimes it helps to see some examples of existing blank invoices for inspiration. Let's take a look at some: