Invoices offer a way for your small or medium-sized business to collect money from customers after providing a product or service. Two of the main computer programs for creating invoices are Excel, and dedicated accounting software such as QuickBooks Online, which includes all the features of an invoicing software.
Each invoice should include some basic information: your business’s name, the customer’s name, all services provided, how much the customer owes, any Canadian sales tax, and when the payment is due. Once you gather all of that information, the rest is simple.
How to Customize the Basic Invoice Template in Excel
Microsoft Office has a basic excel invoice template that you can download from the Office website. The design of this free invoice template is straightforward, and you can alter various elements as you see fit by bolding them, changing colours to match your company’s design scheme, or altering font size to call attention to items you want to highlight.
You can also remove elements that you don’t need. For example, if you don’t use the “Ship To” section on the template, you can create more space for your company’s logo or another identifying design. If your logo is too big or too small, you may have to re-size it manually or it could end up looking misshapen or out of whack.
You can also alter the formulas in the cells to suit each situation. For example, you can set hourly rates for labor with a multiplication formula, then add cells on the right column to derive a subtotal. Don’t forget to add a formula for Canada sales tax on certain items for invoices over $30. Once you create your invoice template, save the basic format for future use.
Unfortunately, Excel can be a little confusing, especially when utilizing formulas. If the GST or HST rate changes, for example, Excel doesn’t update it automatically. In addition, if you need to add several lines of text, you may have to repeatedly copy cells over and over until you find the right amount you need.
How to Create an Invoice Template in Excel
Call up Excel on your desktop, and click Blank Workbook to open a new spreadsheet opens on your desktop. Create your invoice heading along the top of the spreadsheet, along with cells such as your company name, the type of invoice, the date, and an invoice number. For example, “Acme Brick Sales Invoice Sept. 9, 2010, No. 1000981.”
Below your header, input the addresses of the sender and receiver. Your contact information includes the company name, physical address, phone number, and email. The recipient’s contact information includes all of the same information, with the exception of the name of the person paying the invoice. For instance, “Joe Smith, Accounts Receivable” would go below the company name in the recipient’s section.
Next, enter columns and rows that identify the product or service, quantity, and price of each line. On the right-most column, create a subtotal for those services. You can save time and effort by using a formula for these cells. As an example, you have a row labeled “Labour” and then the number 3 for hours at $50 per hour. Multiplying the number 3 by the hourly labour rate produces a subtotal of $150.
At the very bottom of the invoice template goes the total amount owed by the customer. Use the SUM function to total up all the subtotals in the right-hand columns, then add in any sales tax for a grand total. Include terms of payment by the total, such as “Due in 30 days” or “Due on Oct. 9, 2019.” Save your work as you go along by clicking File and Save throughout the creation process.
Excel also lets you attach a file to your email messaging system. You can send it as an Excel file, if the customer you’re sending it to uses Microsoft Office, or you can convert it to a PDF format. Excel also syncs with QuickBooks to provide an easy way to update your contacts.
Does Excel Do What You Need?
Excel is great in a pinch, but it may not be the best option for you. While the computing power is outstanding, programs such as QuickBooks can create and send invoices in faster time with better functionality.
Here are three ways Excel falters in practical use:
- Extra clicks – You must follow several extra steps to make and send custom invoices. When you add a different good or service, you have to update each template individually. Sending an invoice through email also takes a few extra clicks. These clicks add up over time to become lost productivity and fewer profits.
- Lost data – You might have to search extensively for the correct customer entry in Excel just to find out who should get the invoice. If someone accidentally deletes the spreadsheet or your computer crashes, you might lose the file for good.
- Lack of mobility – When you create a template for an invoice, you want to access it any time and anywhere. This works especially well if you’re in the field working at a job site. Microsoft Excel templates don’t automatically have the ability to tap into your mobile device. A lack of mobility translates into even more lost time.
Fortunately, there’s a computer program that solves Excel’s template problems.
How to Make an Invoice Template with QuickBooks
QuickBooks Online has a free online invoice template generator that’s quick and simple to use. You can choose between four contemporary styles of invoices and change the colours within those styles. Everything in QuickBooks is intuitive to use, and you can save the template to your computer for later use.
Start with contact information for your business. When you upload your logo, the program sizes it for you automatically, and each data point appears on the right as a preview before you save it. Next, input the customer’s contact information in one blank square, add information about goods and services rendered, and note required taxes. Rather than altering cells with different formulas to make sure they’re correct, all you do is type in the information.
All customization happens in three easy steps. You don’t have to resize anything, change fonts, or make sure the cells were formatted correctly. You can also sync your QuickBooks invoice with your Excel spreadsheets if needed.
QuickBooks Online Makes Invoicing Even Easier
Not only is making a professional invoice template easier with QuickBooks, but you can take that function on the road. Simply sync your mobile device with the cloud-based program to let you and your staff make and send invoices when you’re not at HQ.
If you get a customer call when you’re on your lunch break, you can open up your customer file in a few swipes on your phone and send an invoice within moments.
After you jazz up your QuickBooks invoice with a great-looking logo, add an online payment option that gets your money to your faster and more securely. That means there’s no more waiting for cheques in the mail, because QuickBooks offers credit or debit card functionality without requiring extra software.
QuickBooks gives you choices to invoice clients from a desktop, laptop, or your mobile to get paid faster. Learn more about all the features QuickBooks offers to make invoicing simple.