Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal, financial or tax advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor.
Whether you’re a small business, sole proprietor, or freelancer, getting paid on time is of the utmost importance to keep your cash flow healthy. Having an invoicing system and process in place keeps your accounts organised and helps you get paid faster.
If you’re new to invoicing or looking to refresh your invoicing system, the first place to start is to find a good invoice example. The invoice is the most critical document in the process. Depending on the kind of business you run, the invoice needs to contain key pieces of data that help you keep records of your projects, deadlines, cash in, and cash out.
To make sure that your invoices contain the right information and look professional (and to save time), you should download a free invoice template, take advantage of online invoicing software Square Invoices, or use an invoice app (learn how the Square Invoice app works).
We’ve put together invoice sample templates and tips on how to create an invoice so you can customise those templates to work for your business.
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Basic blank invoice example
This first invoice sample shows what a basic invoice might look like. You can include whatever information will keep you organized, but at the very minimum, all invoices should have:
- An invoice number
- Your business’ name, corporate details (if your business is incorporated) and contact information
- Your customer’s billing information
- A description of the goods or services rendered
- A due date (so you get paid on time)
- Value-added tax (VAT) information, if applicable
Example invoice for freelancers
In addition to the information in the detailed invoice template above, freelancers should break out specifics about the projects they’re working on. If you’re a freelancer, you should:
- Itemise your work by project or by hour (or both).
- Itemise any software or licensing fees you have incurred while working on your projects (for a designer, this might be font or image licensing).
- Consider adding a tip line if it’s customary to tip in your industry.
- Make a clear note of when the client will receive the final work and what date(s) payment is due.
Example invoice for contractual work
Like freelance invoices, an invoice for contractual work needs to break out the specifics of the contract you’ve agreed to. So be sure to:
- Clearly itemize all the projects and tasks that you’ve agreed to
- Also itemize the cost of any goods, tools, or licenses you use to complete the projects
- Remember to add a sales tax line to your final invoice (contract work is usually taxed)
Example invoice for professional services
Service industries tend to have a lot of issues with chargebacks because it’s difficult to determine when a service was completed, or if it was satisfactorily done. Invoices can do a lot to combat chargebacks by:
- Displaying an hourly rate
- Clearly listing the due date when the service will be delivered (if in the future) or the date when service was rendered (if in the past)
- Using the notes section to list terms and conditions (see the invoice payment terms template above)
Wholesale invoicing example
If you have a wholesale business—for example, if you create beauty products that you sell to retail stores—an invoice catered to your business is important to keep track of your large transactions.
Wholesale invoices should include the regular price of your products, the wholesale discount, and finally, the wholesale price your customer is being charged. Expert advice cites discounts and offers as a top reason for brand loyalty, so showing the discount in your invoice is actually an effective marketing tactic.
Lump sum invoice example
A lump sum invoice is used when you’re offering one rate for a number of products or services. Lump sum invoices are ideal for class packs at a yoga/fitness studio or flat-rate projects.
If you are offering pack deals for a large sum, make sure you clearly describe the package or lump sum in the itemised section on your invoice form. Also, be aware that many lump sum invoices have tax included, so there’s no need to add additional tax (as pictured in the invoice example here).