One of the least enjoyable aspects of a freelance business is sending invoices. Such administrative tasks usually aren’t the best part of being a freelancer.
But invoicing is obviously a key one. If you don’t send an invoice, you won’t get paid.
Luckily, there are ways to make it easier and faster to handle preparing and sending invoices. One of those is by having a blank invoice template Excel document ready with all the key sections ready in advance.
When you need an invoice, you simply open it, input information into the blank invoice template Excel document, and save a version of it with a new name. The invoice is quickly ready and you can send it off to the client.
Having a blank invoice template Excel document will speed up your invoicing process. By having invoice terms clear and consistent, it will make it easier for the client to pay without having questions about the invoice.
And that’s good news for you, because you’ll be more likely to get paid on time.
So let’s look at 6 sections you need to add to your blank invoice template Excel document.
Numbering your invoice may seem like a small and inconsequential item. But in reality, a numbering system must be a key part of your blank invoice template.
A number provides a unique identifier for that specific invoice. It enables you to set up a record-keeping system, whereby you track the invoices going out and the payments coming in. You’ll be able to easily identify invoices by the number, whether that’s when a client calls, or when there’s a question at tax time.
It’s also important for your client. The number is also how a client will identify the invoice if they call with any questions or clarification. It’s also how they can find the invoice if payment is late and you need to follow up. And, including a date with the number will add clarity to any questions about how long payment has taken.
So figure out your numbering system, and have a space to insert an invoice number and invoice date in your blank invoice template in Excel.
There must be two sections for business name and contact information.
The first is the name of your business, contact information, and a contact name, which is either yours or a designate. This is to ensure the client knows who to contact with any questions about the invoice. This section can be a permanent part of the invoice template.
There also needs to be a blank section for the client’s business name and contact information. This can be inserted for each invoice, but you could have reminders in each line item such as XXX Client, XXX Address, etc.
Also, if the person who will receive and pay your invoice is different than the person to whom you submitted work, be sure to find that out and include all appropriate contacts. You want to be sure the invoice gets to the right person as quickly and easily as possible, without getting lost in office mail. That helps ensure you get paid promptly.
This segment will be blank and you can update for each client and project. Make sure the section is big enough to allow for detail about the work. If you charge by the hour, that part of the formula can already be inserted.
It would also be handy to have descriptions of your various services ready for insertion into your blank invoice template in Excel.
The actual dollar amounts will be blank in this section, but you can create the cells for description of each aspect of payment next to empty cells where a dollar amount will be inserted.
For instance, you will have cells or boxes for each of:
This section can be part of the blank invoice template because the terms should be the same for all clients.
Clearly explain when payment is due, using clear terms: Payment Due in 30 Days, or Payment Due on X, which you can leave blank. You may want to check with the client to confirm their payment cycle, which will help you provide an appropriate due date.
If the invoice includes several payments, you may have to modify it slightly to create a payment schedule. Make sure you leave a reasonable amount of time between the completion of the work and the payment due date, such as two weeks.
Make it easy for the client to pay by explaining the different payment options in this section. And if possible, make it even easier by having a number of methods by which the client can make payment.
Late payment terms can also be included in your blank invoice template, since you should have a late payment clause for any client. It may seem like a difficult thing to consider, but clients will understand that you’re running a business and can’t wait forever to get paid.
Requiring additional payment for being late can add some urgency and encourage the client to pay promptly. And while it doesn’t mean you’ll get rich from the fee, it will help compensate somewhat for your time and effort chasing payment.
Late payment fees can be a flat rate, in which case they can be inserted into your blank invoice template in Excel. Or you may choose a percentage, which could be built into a formula.
Make the late payment a line item so that if you have to do a follow-up invoice, it’s easy to add and the description is already in place.