Invoicing is one of those tasks every business has to perform, whether big or small. Whether you have one thousand employees or one employee. If you are a Limited Liability Company, (in the U.S., LLC) raising invoices is mandatory when doing business. They are used for record-keeping purposes, as well as being a handy way for you to keep track of what a client owes, and what has been paid. in this guide, I will show you how to prepare an invoice by hand, and then how to prepare and send invoices using WordPress. This last part will be useful especially if you use WordPress to conduct your business.
Preparing An Invoice
This guide walks you through preparing an invoice, but I’m assuming you have already discussed with your clients what the payment arrangements are, and that they are in writing so that both you and the client have a copy. Having a written copy of payment arrangements, (as well as documentation for other parts of the project, such as scope, deliverables, ETC.), means that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect. The invoice is part of that process of communication. it details how much is owed, how much work has been completed, and how payment should be made.
What Should An Invoice Include?
The first thing your invoice should include is company or contractor details. These are:
- Company or contractor’s name
- Company or contractor’s address
- Company or contractor’s telephone number
- Company or contractor’s email address
Each of the invoices you generate should have its own number. The numbering scheme you use is up to you, but the numbers should be in sequential order. This is so that you can keep track of outgoing and incoming invoices, and so that you have something to refer back to if questions arise.
Your invoice should include two dates:
- The date the invoice was raised
- The date the invoice is due
if no due date is specified on the invoice, then it is assumed to be thirty days after the invoice was generated and sent.
Every invoice should include client details. The name should be included at a minimum, but other details such as an address or phone number can be included as well.
The fees section of your invoice should include the following:
- A description of the services rendered
- The gross amount due
- The taxes due, if applicable
- The total amount due
Terms of Payment
The terms of payment section should include how the invoice should be paid. How you accept payments is up to you. If you need the invoice paid via money transfer, that should be specified here along with your baking information:
- Bank name
- Account number
- Routing number if you bank in the U.S.
Sending the Invoice
Once you have finished adding all the above details to your invoice, it’s time to send it. How you do that depends on the relationship you have with the client and what has been previously discussed concerning invoicing. Some clients want paper copies of invoices, while others will accept digital copies. If sending a digital copy, a good practice is to send the invoice as a PDF so that it cannot be altered. You can also send invoices via email or in some other attached format.
Invoicing With WordPress
As discussed above, you can generate your invoice manually. But if you’re working with WordPress, there are several plugins that will help with the invoicing process, allowing you to automate as much of it or as little of it as you like. Elegant Themes has an excellent roundup of invoicing plugins for WordPress, (both free and paid), as well as a few themes specifically created for invoicing. I personally use a plugin called WPInvoice, which leaves a lot to be desired as far as accessibility goes, but comes with a lot of features in the free version, including the ability to accept payments using Stripe, and integration with the WPCRM plugin so that I can keep track of clients and automatically select the client’s information when generating an invoice.
Invoicing is a necessary task. It helps ensure that you get paid. You can generate them manualy, but you can also streamline the process using WordPress, which will make invoicing much easier. There are also other non-WordPress solutions for generating invoices. If you have a favorite WordPress or non-WordPress one, share it in the comments below.