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Why Should I Customize My Invoices?

 

 

invoice_qb_workflow.png

  



What impression do you want your invoice 
to leave on your customers?

 

When it comes to your business, the subtle touches matter. Even something as ordinary as an invoice can leave a powerful impression about the quality of your brand.

 

A customized invoice made with the QuickBooks Custom Form Styles Tool lets your brand have a huge impact but requires very little liftYou don’t need an MFA or artwork hanging at the Guggenheim to create an eye-catching invoice. Anyone with access to QuickBooks Online Essentials and QuickBooks Online Plus (custom invoicing is not available in the QuickBooks Online Simple Start) has the tools to create an attractive, personalized template.  

 

 

 


The impact of a customized invoice

 

Customized invoices give your business communications a bit of texture and make your brand stand out In some cases, invoices are the only time you communicate with your clients. Effective branding can leave a lasting impression on customers well beyond the conclusion of a sale. So, why not give them some character and reap the long-term benefits of increased brand awareness?

 

Accounting firm Parkway Business Solutions makes a tactful argument with the “Parkway Impact Test.” According to co-founder Mathew Fulton, simple changes - - such a form layout and logo location - - can make the difference between standing out or getting lost in the noise. 

 

“It can be easy to forget that to someone else, your invoice is no different than the other 9 forms in front of them.”

 

You also need to be able to provide customers with the right information.  Consider those on the receiving end - at a minimum, customers deserve an invoice with relevant information, presented in a clear format. 

 

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Pristine Pools in Livermore, California has done a fantastic job creating invoices that accomplishes all the above criteria and reflects owner Matt Vieria’s values. Beyond the design, their invoices include the relevant data fields for their hourly service offerings, contractor’s license # (lower left) and a message about late fees (in red) - details that matter to their customers.  

 

"We (Pristine Pools Inc) believe it's important to maintain a consistent and professional image throughout all the aspects of the business. If our custom branded truck shows up to a customers' house, driven by a company representative wearing a Pristine Pools uniform carrying branded paperwork and business cards, we have to do it with everything else. We want to produce the feeling in customized invoices, the information we provide customers and all of our communications to fully close out the experience."

 

Compare Pristine Pool's invoice to a basic template - it's adequate, but there's an opportunity to personalize this very fundamental aspect of your operations.   

 

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Before you start, create a plan and consider the following:

 

Let your invoices represent you and your brand in the best light. Treat them you would any other type of communication, be it email, phone call, or face-to-face meeting. Keep them simple but impactful. 

 

  • Appearance – Do you want your branding to appear everywhere on your invoices, or do you prefer a more subtle approach? Try to match your existing marketing materials to create uniformity.

  • Data-fields – What information matters most to your customers? Do you provide clients with specific units of measurement? How about tracking information, like drivers’ names, to give customers added peace of mind? Categories can always be updated later on.

  • Format – Is your invoice easy to read? Which data fields are absolutely necessary and which can be cut? Do you think your customers prefer larger font for improved readability? Start with the basics, then add icing to the cake.

  • Personality and Tone – Is being approachable important to your business? Do you want to sound casual or official? 

 

 

  

Getting started

 

  • To begin, open QuickBooks Online Essentials or Plus, click the Gear Icon (Gear Icon.jpg ) in the top corner and then select “Custom Form Styles.”

  • From the Custom Form Styles dashboard, you can edit an existing invoice or create a new design. Let's click the new style.jpg   button and select “Invoice” from the drop-down menu. Note - this is also where you can customize Estimates or Sales Receipts.


    Invoice 1.PNG

     

     

  • There are four sections (Design, Content, Emails, and Payments) of the customization module. The two areas where you'll spend most of your time are the “Design” and “Content” tabs. 


    • The “Design” tab is where you can choose fonts, a color-scheme and a logo. This is also where you can change the overall template layout.

      Invoice 2.PNG

       


    • The “Content” tab is where you modify the various sections of your invoice, such as contact information, data fields (more below) and item lists.

      Invoice 3.PNG

       

    • The “Emails” tab is where you craft the message customers see when they receive a digital invoice. The program will even let you choose “dear” or “to” as a greeting, letting you further adjust the tone of your invoice.

    • The “Payments” tab lets you specify how customers can pay you; if your bank accounts are linked to QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online will automatically update sales transactions.

      Invoice 4.PNG

       

  • Once you’re done editing, you can Preview PDF or Save and Exit to return to the Custom Form Styles dashboard.

  • The first new invoice you make will become your “Standard” default template. To change the default form, select the Arrow Icon (Arrow Icon.jpg ) next Edit and select “Make Default.

  • Pro tip -  create a few custom variations of each invoice using different formats and titles to test the effectiveness of each - remember, the subtle changes make a difference!

 

 

 

Creating a custom logo

 

    • QuickBooks lets you change the size and position of logos, but color and style edits should be made before uploading.

    • Pro tip - square and circular logos with white backgrounds tend to look the best on invoices!
    • Before jumping in, logos have a few technical requirements:
      • Files must be in one of the following formats: .gif, .bmp, .jpg, .jpe, or .jpeg.
      • Be smaller than 1MB (this helps with loading speed).
      • Have a bit depth (aka color depth) of 24-bits or less and must use the standard –sRGB.

 

 

 

 

Customing data fields

  • While customizing an invoice, select the “content” tab and then click on the pencil icons (Pencil.png ) on the preview form. Each section of the invoice has its own customizable feature sets which populate to the left.

    Invoice 3.5.PNG

     

  • Contact information section
    • In addition to your mailing address and website URLs, you can choose whether you want to include additional information such as terms of service, due dates, or payment methods

    • In the “display” section below, you can add custom fields by clicking “+ Custom Field” box.

  •  Data table section
    • This is where you can edit data fields such as item descriptions, quantity, and rates. Select “Edit Labels and Widths” to customize the names and size of each column. For example, if you prefer to display unit quantities in “lbs,” type it into the text box.

    • Pro tip - The “Products/service” section includes item categories by default. You can turn these off, but including categories provides customers with more information and helps you get better tracking data (learn more about item categories – Introduction to Categories in Products and Services).

    • To change the order of the columns, grab the square icon (square Icon.png ) and drag it to one of the lines above or below. Once the solid line becomes dotted, you can drop the item in its new home. Isn’t organization is great?

 Related articles and useful tips:

 

For more information on customizing invoices, follow the link to QuickBooks Community member Mathew Fulton (@ParkwayInc) and Parkway Business Solution’s Guide to Customizing Invoices.

 

Customizing Estimates and Receipts follows the same process, to learn more -  check out Customize Invoice and Other Sales Forms.

 

Related articles: 

 

 

Now it's your turn

 

Do you have an awesome invoice? Share your custom design with the QBCommunity!

3 Comments
Highlighted
Level 1

Why Should I Customize My Invoices?

I found that the invoice template provided was not suitable for us.

We needed to provide more information in our Company details - license numbers, contractors authorities, street and postal addresses as well as phone numbers - office/fax/mobile/emergency after hours numbers.

Also need to set up our customers with a "property address" as well as their address.

And Companies that we worked with needed their ABN number on the invoice, Purchase orders, and a few other idiosyncrasies .

Individuals we didn''t need to do this to.

I have actually set up more than 1 customized invoice - 1 I use for Businesses, 1 I use for individuals.

Just got to remember which one to use.

FYI - I set it up so that I could use the "Shipping Address" as a "Property Address" - big failure as on the top of the "Shipping Address" Quickbooks brings the customers name over, again.   Phoned - this is how it is set up and can't be worked-around.  Have now managed to set it up differently using the "message" box.

Days of frustration - setting up, checking, moving,  but I think I am finally there - and mostly happy with the result.

We needed to customize or the system was not going to work for us.

Highlighted
Level 3

Why Should I Customize My Invoices?

Jenny,

Customization of Invoices is definitely lacking in QBO.  If you are a user moving from the desktop version of QBO, you will notice that there is a major change in the functionality.  I, like you, would like to see improvements here!  I know that there is a way to bring in a Word file that will allow further customization, but I find it is not something that most of my clients want to do and there are still fields that are just not there!  Let's keep our finders crossed that we will see improvements here soon!

Highlighted
Level 1

Why Should I Customize My Invoices?

Such a useful article, thanks!

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