Administrative tasks are often the bane of a freelancer’s existence.
That might sound a bit dramatic, but who wants to be handling menial tasks when the actual freelance work is the fun way to spend your time?
However, administrative work like invoicing is also the key to a freelancer’s existence. Without invoices, you don’t get paid. You have to be disciplined when you work for yourself.
But if accounting isn’t your forte, how do you know what constitutes a good invoice? That’s where a sample invoice template in Word can go a long way to helping you figure out what to include and not to include. Word is easy to use, doesn’t require figuring out formulas, and allows you to customize what you need.
While you will always need to add the information that’s relevant to your business, your clients, and the work you do for your clients, a sample template can go a long way to helping you build an effective invoicing process. And that means fewer administrative headaches, and faster payment from clients.
So let’s look at the 5 key components of a sample invoice template in Word, so that you know a good sample when you see one.
A quality sample invoice template in Word has room for the two key dates of an invoice:
Which should be the day you send it to the client. Don’t date it and then leave it for a week before sending. In the same way that you shouldn’t delay sending an invoice after completing the project, you should not delay sending the invoice after preparing it.
Which is a clear indication of the last date for payment before late charges will be incurred. Make this date as clear as possible. For instance, rather than stating payment is due 15 or 30 days following the invoice date, provide the actual date. If your invoice is sent May 1, state the due date as May 30, rather than stating that payment is due in 30 days.
Make sure the sample invoice you find is clear in differentiating the two dates.
These are two key components of a good invoice, so watch for a sample invoice template in Word that has both of these.
An invoice number will become part of your record-keeping system. It’s how you will track that you sent an invoice, and whether you have received payment. It’s also how the client will track the invoice, to ensure they pay it, and as a reference if they have to contact you with any questions.
Watch for sample invoice templates in Word that have robust invoice numbering systems - perhaps with several digits and the date as part of the number. A single number system may not be enough as your business grows.
The addressee is another important section. While the contact information for your business and for that of the client are obvious sections in an invoice, an addressee is where you direct the attention of the actual person who will pay you.
Make sure you know which person in the client’s organization needs to receive the invoice, or you will be waiting for payment while the invoice makes its way around the interoffice mail system. The person you work with on the project isn’t always the person who looks after paying you.
You have to make sure you provide detail in the invoice so the customer knows exactly what they’re paying for. A detailed statement that explains what services were performed is not just good record-keeping. It also makes you look professional.
As you’re looking for a sample invoice template in Word, then, look for one that allows for detail to be added on what you did and what money is owed in exchange for that work. This eliminates any need for the client to contact you with questions, which in turn will help ensure you get paid on time.
You should also take a moment to ensure the details about the work connect to the original contract. That also helps reassure the client that they got what they were expecting, and make them willing to pay for it.
One advantage of a sample invoice template in Word is that the software allows for plenty of space for detail. Word is ideal for explanations of this type, rather than for numerical formulas.
This is another section that’s important for the client, to understand what they owe, and for you, to ensure prompt and full payment.
Here are some of the sections that you should look for in a sample invoice template in Word, with explanations and space for the dollar amount:
A good sample invoice template has clear payment terms, which include:
One of the keys to being paid on time is to provide a deadline. Examples include a specific date, or a statement such as “30 days from the date of the invoice.”
The more ways the client can pay, the better. So provide a detailed explanation of the various methods by which you’ll accept payment, such as online, by cheque, or with some other automated system.
If you don’t have these, you should. Any business expects payment on time in order to continue to operate. A freelance business is no different. Make the payment deadline reasonable, such as 30 days after sending the invoice. Then provide the details in the invoice such as a flat rate for late payment, or a percentage of the total amount, for example.