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Need help with an Invoice Template?
What Is an Invoice?
An invoice, also known as a sales invoice, is a document that businesses or business owners issue to customers to request payment for goods or services. A good invoice template should include a space to display a clear total and specify the length of time that the customer has to pay for the invoice.
Difference Between an Invoice and Bill
The word "invoice" is usually used in business environments to refer to the payment request they send their customers. When the customer receives that invoice, they often refer to it as a bill that is owed. These two terms are commonly used interchangeably since both refer to itemized statements that a seller gives a buyer.
Most Popular Types of Invoices
There are several different types of invoices that a business can send:
- Standard invoice: A standard invoice is the most common type and includes all of the basic information, including the contact information for the business and buyer, the invoice number, the date the invoice was sent, an itemized list of purchases that the seller made, and a clear total for the price of all goods and services.
- Recurring invoice : This type of invoice is sent each month on a recurring basis. It often contains a fixed price for the goods and services that the buyer is regularly using. Examples of this type of invoice include cell phone business, rental properties, or business software.
- Shipping invoice : A shipping invoice includes the cost and quantity being shipped for each item. It also includes the cost of shipping fees and taxes and a subtotal for those charges along with the cost of the goods. Like all invoices, a shipping invoice includes the contact information for the buyer and seller, an invoice date, and the number for the invoice.
- Commercial invoice: This type of invoice is used when goods are being sent across international borders. It has all of the elements that you would see in the standard invoice, as well as other information necessary for customs, such as the country where the products were manufactured, what the items are for, the Harmonized System codes if the seller knows them, the total weight of the goods, the number of packages, and the reason they're being exported.
- Pro-forma invoice: This type of invoice is different than the others in that it's not actually a request for payment, but instead an estimation or quote for what the seller believes a product or service will cost. Sending a pro-forma invoice is often a first step for negotiating a payment agreement. However, it's not actually a true invoice since no payment is requested.
How to Send an Invoice
There are a couple of different options that companies have when sending an invoice to customers, including:
- Electronically: When customers send invoices electronically, they can either send it through a website or via email. Many companies use accounting software that allows the business to quickly generate an invoice and send it directly to the customer's email address. This is often the preferred method for sending invoices, as it delivers them to customers in real time. This method of sending invoices often allows customers to pay the invoices electronically as well.
- Postal service: This is a slower method of sending an invoice, although some businesses still use it to accommodate the preferences of their customers. It's important to keep in mind the time it will take for the invoice to reach customers and the time it will take for the invoice to get back to you when you're putting a due date on it.
What Is an Invoice Template?
An invoice template is a document layout that makes it easy to replace default information with specific details for your company. It also provides the necessary fields that make it easy to fill in itemized information about the goods and services, including the price, quantity, shipping, and taxes.
Benefits of Using an Invoice Template
Using an invoice template is beneficial because it does the following:
- Gives you the ability to save time by having a basic invoice that is already customized with your business information
- Ensures you don't overlook information that should be included or updated on every invoice
- Creates a standard, branded look that you can use for every invoice, making them instantly recognizable by customers
- Shows a level of professionalism and emphasizes that the document is a record that should be kept
- Makes it easy to calculate the subtotal and the grand total for goods or services rendered
- Allows you to easily add messages promoting other products and services or thanking customers for their support
What Goes on an Invoice?
While invoices can be customized with additional information added, there are several sections that should always be included in the invoice:
- Title: Every invoice should be clearly marked with the word "invoice" so it's immediately apparent to the recipient what the document is.
- Invoice number: This number is unique to every invoice and should change sequentially for each one you send.
- Date: This is the date that the invoice was created on. This is what the business and customer will refer to when they track the date that the payment is due.
- Contact information: The invoice should always include the name and address for both the invoice and the client. Though an address may not be necessary in every case, particularly in invoice and payments are sent and received electronically, it can be good for your business to have this information for record-keeping purposes.
- Contact names: The invoice should include the names for contacts within the business that's selling the goods or services and the contact name for the business or individual making the purchase.
- Description of goods and services: There should be a description of the service of goods that the customer is buying.
- Quantity and price: There should be a price per unit listed, as well as the total number of services or goods that are being sold.
- Subtotal: The invoice should clearly state the subtotal for the goods and services before taxes are added.
- Total: There should be a total amount owed to the business, which will be a number that's usually listed at the bottom or under the taxes and shipping costs.
What Is an Invoice Number?
An invoice number is a unique number that's assigned to each new invoice created. These numbers are used to keep track of the invoices you send and are usually recorded in the business's bookkeeping system. The invoice number should be assigned in sequential order.
Invoice Templates to Download
Here is a list of templates you can download for yourself:
- Marketing business
- Consulting business
- Legal firm
- Professional business
- Freelance business
- Simple service invoice
- Small business sales
- Service invoice
- Service invoice (simple lines design)
- Invoice that calculates total
- Pet-sitting invoice
- Invoice (timeless design)
- Travel service invoice
- Special order pricing
- Sales invoice (green gradient design)
- Basic invoice with unit price
- Service invoice (blue gradient design)
- Sales invoice (arc design)
Invoice templates are professionally formatted, printer-friendly, and fully customizable. That makes it easy for businesses to update them quickly and get them out to customers in a timely manner. Invoice templates can also be designed specifically for your company, allowing you to highlight your company's branding, including its own personal headers, footers, colors, and logo.
You can even add client-targeted messages to your invoices, thanking your customers for their business, suggesting additional services or products that they may be interested in purchasing, or adding other relevant information.
Ultimately, an invoice template provides a professional, easy way for you to request payments from your customers. If you need help creating an invoice template for your own business, contact Contracts Counsel today. Our vetted lawyers work in over 30 industries and are happy to help you create an invoice template that's customized for your own business.
Meet some of our Invoice Template Lawyers
Legal services cost too much, and are often of low quality. I have devoted my law practice to providing the best work at the most affordable price—in everything from defending small businesses against patent trolls to advising multinational corporations on regulatory compliance to steering couples through a divorce.
I am a licensed attorney and a member of the California Bar. I graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law's Program in Law and Technology. I love IP, tech transfers, licensing, and how the internet and developing technology is changing the legal landscape. I've interned at both corporations and boutique firms, and I've taken extensive specialized classes in intellectual property and technology law.
Jo Ann J.
Jo Ann has been practicing for over 20 years, working primarily with high growth companies from inception through exit and all points in between. She is skilled in Mergers & Acquisitions, Contractual Agreements (including founders agreements, voting agreements, licensing agreements, terms of service, privacy policies, stockholder agreements, operating agreements, equity incentive plans, employment agreements, vendor agreements and other commercial agreements), Corporate Governance and Due Diligence.
I am an unabashed contract law geek with a passion for delivering contracts that protect your business within your risk tolerance. Contracts should be clear, concise, and able to be understood by the end user. I promote Plain English contract drafting. I also pay close attention to the boilerplate traps that trip up many agreements. Some of my most frequent drafting projects are entity operating and shareholder agreements, bylaws, asset purchase agreements, commercial leases, EULA, Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, Confidentiality agreements, employment agreements, and more.
I hold a B.S. in Accounting and a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech (2009). I received my J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2012. I am an associate member of the Virginia Bar and an active member of the DC bar. Currently, I am working as a self-employed legal consultant and attorney. Primarily my clients are start-up companies for which I perform various types of legal work, including negotiating and drafting settlement, preparing operating agreements and partnership agreements, assisting in moving companies to incorporate in new states and setting up companies to become registered in a state, assisting with employment matters, drafting non-disclosure agreements, assisting with private placement offerings, and researching issues on intellectual property, local regulations, privacy laws, corporate governance, and many other facets of the law, as the need arises. I have previously practiced as an attorney at a small DC securities law firm and worked at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLC. My work experience is dynamic and includes many short-term and long term experience that span across areas such as maintaining my own blog, freelance writing, and dog walking. My diverse background has provided me with a stong skill set that can be easily adapted for new areas of work and indicates my ability to quickly learn for a wide array of clients.
Texas licensed attorney specializing for 20 years in Business Law, Contract Drafting, and Risk Analysis. My services include: Corporate Risk Consulting; Contract Review and Drafting; Legal Research and Writing; Business Formation; Article or Instructive Writing; and more. For more insight into my skills and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or contact me with any questions.
Creative, results driven business & technology executive with 24 years of experience (13+ as a business/corporate lawyer). A problem solver with a passion for business, technology, and law. I bring a thorough understanding of the intersection of the law and business needs to any endeavor, having founded multiple startups myself with successful exits. I provide professional business and legal consulting. Throughout my career I've represented a number large corporations (including some of the top Fortune 500 companies) but the vast majority of my clients these days are startups and small businesses. Having represented hundreds of successful crowdfunded startups, I'm one of the most well known attorneys for startups seeking CF funds. My engagements often include legal consultation & advisory roles, drafting of NDAs, TOS & Privacy Policies, contracts and corporate law, business strategy advice & consulting, in-house counsel, Founder & entrepreneur guidance and other roles as needed by my clients. I hold a Juris Doctor degree with a focus on Business/Corporate Law, a Master of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship, A Master of Education degree and dual Bachelor of Science degrees. I look forward to working with any parties that have a need for my skill sets.