Whether you’re a freelancer or running a small business, sending invoices will be part of your day-to-day.
Using Google Docs to create an invoice is a relatively cheap, accessible choice — so let’s take a closer look at how to do it!
In this post, we’ll explore:
What an invoice is and why invoices are important
The steps to create and send a Google Docs invoice
How to use Bonsai to create your invoices.
Let’s get started!
What Is an Invoice?
An invoice is a document that a seller sends to a client or buyer after a service or product is provided.
Essentially, an invoice outlines payment that’s due and includes information about how much needs to be paid, what goods or services were provided, when the payment is required, and how to pay the amount.
The Importance of an Invoice
Invoices provide a record showing that goods or services were provided to a customer. In many situations, businesses are legally required to issue invoices to keep track of sales and for tax purposes.
Invoices are crucial for monitoring cash flow and revenue! They can also provide legal protection in case of disputes or issues of late payments or nonpayments.
Issuing an invoice shows that you are a legitimate, professional business and lends credibility to your brand.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Invoice in Google Docs
There are multiple ways you could generate an invoice for your business, and one of the easiest is to create a free invoice using Google Docs. Follow these steps to get started:
1. Accessing Google Docs
Navigate to the Google Docs webpage. If you already have a Google account, you should be redirected to your list of documents.
If not, you can sign into Google Docs using your Google account. You’ll be prompted to create an account if you don’t have one yet. Don’t worry – this only takes a few minutes!
2. Selecting or Importing a Template
Once you’ve accessed Google Docs, follow these instructions to choose your template:
At the top right of the screen, click Template Gallery
Click the template you want to use. You can try searching for invoice templates under the work category
Select the template of your choice to create a copy of it.
While Google Docs has a nice variety of templates, know that you can also import another template to use instead. Try this customizable one from Bonsai!
3. Customizing the Header
Once your template is ready, you can let your creativity or personality shine through by customizing the template to reflect your brand.
It’s not a proper invoice if it doesn’t display your company logo – especially since it’s one of the first things your client will see! For this, make sure you already have your company logo saved somewhere on your computer.
On Google Docs, locate “Insert” from the menu bar running just beneath the file title. Hover over “Image” and select “Upload from computer”. Feel free to resize the logo or move it to different parts of the template!
The location of the placeholder address will differ depending on the template you’re working on. However, it’s usually at the top of the invoice template.
Simply delete the placeholder address and replace it with your business’s real address.
4. Filling in Client Information
A proper invoice will also includes a section for client details. Manually enter or copy and paste your client’s name, address, and any other necessary details here.
5. Adding Itemized Products/Services
At its core, an invoice is an itemized list of all the products and services you’ll provide to your client.
It’s comprised of different sections that are organized and itemized to give everyone a clear picture of the transaction. For the client, in particular, it also easily shows how much they need to pay you.
As the name suggests, the “Description” column is reserved for brief details about the goods or services the client has received.
For example, if you charge a labor fee, it’s important to let your client know what exactly this fee covers. This can include aspects such as cleanup, installation, and so on!
Since an invoice is an itemized list of the products and services your client has received, it’s also essential to list the quantity of each!
Quantity can either be the number of products you have provided to your client or the number of hours you have worked. This will depend entirely on the nature of the product or service.
The price is what you charge for each individual unit of product or hour of service, multiplied by the quantity.
Make sure to fill out the price for each product or service and check that the template calculated the total price automatically. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to compute this manually!
You’ll also need to fill in any sections that cover taxes, shipping, or any additional charges for your client. Before sending it their way, double-check the invoice one more time to see if the final total is correct and reflects all charges.
Save and Export
Happy with the invoice now? It’s time to save and export it!
While working on Google Docs, you’ll notice that the document automatically saves any changes you make.
However, when sending invoices to a client, it’s good practice to send Portable Document Files (PDF) as they’re compact and aren’t as editable as an ordinary document file.
To send your Google Docs invoice as a PDF:
Navigate to “File” on the menu bar, hover over “Download”, and select “PDF Document (.pdf)”
You should then have the invoice as a PDF on your computer. Attach this file to an email and send it to your client
For future invoices, you’ll be able to use your pre-filled template again — you’ll just have to change the client details and pricing.
All in all, Google Docs is a reliable, free platform that allows freelancers and business owners to design their own invoices. For the most part, it’s a decent tool that’ll churn out ready-to-send invoices in minutes.
However, if you’re a larger business working with multiple clients or find yourself spending hours just to prepare invoices, you may want something that’s just a little more efficient.
Luckily, we have you covered here at Bonsai! Our powerful platform provides you with a comprehensive invoicing solution that streamlines the entire process.
And because it takes just a fraction of the time compared to using Google Docs, you’ll be able to focus on actually running your business.
When you sign up for Bonsai, you’ll get:
1. Automatic Payment Reminders
No more stress over figuring out who hasn’t paid yet and whose payment deadlines are fast approaching.
Bonsai allows you to set automated reminders so that your clients are aware of when they need to pay!