If you’re in the business of, well, business, you likely invoice pretty regularly. While virtually every small business has to send invoices at some point, not every business sends the same invoices. However, a sloppy or unprofessional invoice can reflect poorly on your business.
Fortunately, you can use a free invoice template to make your life easier. Or, if you want a custom invoice, you can easily build your own using some tips we’ll lay out in this article.
Making an invoice template for Australia
An invoice is simply a statement of goods or services provided and a statement of the sum due for those services or goods. A professional-looking invoice not only helps to legitimise your business, but it helps you get paid.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires certain details to appear on an invoice, some of which depend on your business structure and forecast turnover. To ensure you give your customers a readable invoice while abiding by the Australian Taxation Office requirements, you can download our free invoice template, use invoicing software, or even create your own invoice in PayPal, Excel, or Microsoft Word.
You can also create your own professional invoice template by following the guidelines below. Make sure to include each section to follow the Australian Taxation Office’s requirements.
The word ‘INVOICE’ should be in large letters centred across the top of the document. This lets the customer know right away that they’re looking at an invoice, not a receipt. It’s also a good idea to include your business logo next to the header.
Payer’s name and address
The company or individual customer who will make the payment should be listed along with their mailing address. This is helpful for your records and indicates to the customer that they’re looking at the right invoice.
Payee’s name and address
The name of the person or company being paid (that’s you) should be listed along with your mailing address and additional contact information. The business owner’s email address will also suffice in place of a mailing address if you don’t have a physical location.
ABN and ACN
It’s important that your invoice states whether or not it includes the goods and services tax (GST). If you charge GST, you must issue a tax invoice that clearly states the amount of GST included. But if you’re not charging GST, your invoice should clearly state, ‘No GST has been charged.’
Businesses generating less than $75,000 of income per year are exempt from charging GST.
Itemised list of goods or services
Depending on the type of work that is being billed, a description of the work performed should be listed. For example, if the invoice is for a certain product, the product name, quantity, per-unit price, and total price should be listed on the invoice, typically in columns that run vertically on the page.
If the invoice is for services (for example, the completion of a design or writing project), then the name of the project, a brief description of the type of work performed and the hourly or flat rate should be listed. If it is an hourly rate, the number of hours worked should be included. If payment is per piece, each piece completed should be listed separately.
Underneath the listing of products or services being billed, there should be a clearly marked invoice total.
It’s important to include the date the invoice was issued, as well as the date(s) of the work completed or when the products were ordered or delivered. You can discuss this preference with your client and/or business to make processing easier for both of you.
An invoice number is not generally required, but it may help you keep invoices organised. Larger organisations often have complicated billing systems that may require an invoice number or code.
Remember to discuss this with your client before submitting your invoice. And no matter which system you use, make sure the invoice number goes up incrementally each time a new one is sent.
It’s important to include the date the invoice was issued as well as the date(s) of the work completed or when the products were ordered or delivered. You can discuss this preference with your client and/or business to make processing easier for both of you.
You should always state the date when payment is due. Most invoices have a 14-day term, meaning they must be paid within 14 days to avoid late fees or penalties. You can establish your own payment terms (from payment on invoice delivery to 30 or 60 days after), depending on your type of business and your customers. Payment terms will clarify your expectations for payments and help deter the likelihood of encountering clients who argue about payment.
This is also a good place to list what payment methods you accept. If you accept multiple payment options like online payments and checks, be sure to list how they can go about using each of these methods.
For example, list the address where the check should be mailed to or include a web address where online payments can be made.
After you’ve created an invoice template, you then need to send your invoice and hope people pay them. While many people will pay invoices on time, there’s always the chance you wind up with overdue invoices. To help your customers pay their invoices on time (without poking and prodding them), follow these tips.
1. State your preferred payment type
When sending an invoice to a customer, tell them how you prefer to receive payment. For example, if you accept credit cards and PayPal, state that. Even though this should be included in your invoice itself, it’s a good idea to state it in the email for clarity’s sake.
2. Ask for confirmation
Most online invoicing software will notify you when an invoice has been paid, but it’s a good idea to ask that the client confirm they received your email invoice. This is especially true when you send your first invoice, as you want to be sure the email goes to the right address and that the customer didn’t give you the wrong information.
3. Follow up
While you have payment terms in the invoice, it’s a good idea to follow up with customers who haven’t responded to an invoice email after a few days. It’s possible they didn’t receive the email. They also may need a subtle nudge or reminder to pay the invoice. (Hey, we all forget things.)
4. Consider going digital
If you don’t already send digital invoices, consider offering them as an option. This not only cuts down on paper use but, more importantly, allows you to more quickly deliver invoices. It also makes it easier to track invoices, especially if you use any kind of invoicing software.
5. Offer easy payment options
People will be more likely to pay your invoices quickly if payment is easy. For example, if you allow people to quickly pay an invoice using their PayPal or Google account, they will likely click one of these options and pay right away. They’re likely signed in with those accounts at all times, making that payment method much more appealing than, say, a paper check. Digital payment methods are also doable on a mobile device, freeing your customers up to pay from virtually anywhere.
Few feelings are worse than sending an invoice and not getting paid. Your business needs funding to function, and for that to happen, customers have to pay their invoices. If you offer a number of payment options, make sure you clarify your payment terms. And following up at least reduces the chances people will forget to pay.
Templated for success
Invoices are a necessary part of business. By using a pre-made template or creating your own, you’re setting yourself up for success. You’ll save time, have a tried and true way to invoice customers, and you’ll look more professional.
Once you’ve got your invoices in order, you can start focusing on more important things like managing your cash flow and growing your business. Always push your business forward, stay positive, and be confident in your brand. Do this, and you’ll have a great ‘template’ for success.