If you’re a B2B company, sending invoices is a crucial part of operating your business. Invoices serve to alert your customers of payments they owe, as well as when it’s due, by what means, and more.
If you use a comprehensive accounting software, you can easily create invoices right from this platform. But for smaller operations, such as freelancers, who don’t use an accounting platform with invoicing capabilities and are looking for a budget-friendly solution, creating an invoice in Microsoft Word can be a perfect fit.
You may be familiar with this software for other uses, but among its many functions you can also create an invoice in Word. Not sure how? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process so you can start creating professional invoices in Word in no time.
Step 1: Select a Word Template
Word makes it simple to create an invoice. All you have to do to get started is choose a template that works for you.
When choosing a Word template for your invoice, remember that this template can be customized. You’ll be able to change the colors and alter the structure to best fit your small business branding.
Whether you’re using the online or desktop version of Word, finding an invoice template is simple. Even older versions of Word will include templates, so don’t worry about upgrading to the most recent version just for this task.
Once you’ve got Word fired up, it’s time to find a template.
Search for “Invoice”
On the first welcome screen for Word, look for a search box and type “invoice.”
Word will then pull up all of its invoice templates for you to choose from. If you see the result, “there are no matches,” make sure you’ve selected to search “templates” and not “recent.”
Choose an Invoice Template
Once you’ve selected which invoice template you like, it’s time to download it.
To select the invoice you like, double click it and it will automatically download.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Information
The next step to create your invoice in Word is to gather all of the information that you’ll need to include on your invoice.
To find this information you might need to search your client proposal, as well as their business card, website, or email signature. Now you should have all the information you need to complete your invoice in Word before you send it to your client.
Elements to Include on an Invoice
When you create an invoice in Word, you want to make sure the template you choose can accommodate all of the necessary information your client will need.
Here’s what you should typically include on your invoice:
- Your name and business name
- Your preferred contact information: email, phone number, and address
- Client’s name and contact information
- Unique identifier or invoice number
- Date the invoice was sent
- Payment due date
- Itemized list of services or goods sold
- Total amount due
- Payment options
- Payment terms
Each business is slightly different, so your invoices may include more or less information than the above. But you’ll want to make sure you include all of the information necessary so your client knows who to pay, how much, and for what.
Step 3: Customize Your Invoice
Once you’ve downloaded an invoice template you like and gathered all of the information you need, it’s time to customize your invoice.
To make your life simpler for future invoices, you might consider populating your invoice with your own business information (steps 1, 2, and 3 below) and then saving that as your official template. That way you don’t have to type in your business information each time you create an invoice.
Save your template under your own document filing system. If you don’t have one, consider something like “YourBusinessName_InvoiceTemplate” to make it easy to find in the future.
Each time you need to create an invoice, you’ll make a copy of that file, edit it to include the specific details for that invoice, and then send it to the client. That way you always have a clean, ready-to-go invoice template.
If there’s anything about the invoice template that doesn’t work for your business, you can remove it, add additional elements, or adjust the size of different elements.
If you want to add a place to handwrite information, you can use the Shape and Line tools to create a line or a box for that information. Keep in mind, though, you have a smaller chance of something being misread when it’s typed rather than handwritten.
Add Your Logo
If you want to include your business logo on your invoice, it’s simple to add. When you create an invoice in Word using one of their templates, you’ll find that most leave a space for you to include your business logo.
Click on the space where the logo will go. Once that section is selected, go to “insert” and choose the file from your computer that contains your logo.
You may need to resize or reformat your logo to fit within the space provided on the template.
Add Your Business Information
Next, you can add your business information. To add text, you’ll simply want to click on the space you want to edit. Word will highlight the text box with a border. You can then select, delete the placeholder text, and type in the text you want to include.
The business information that you might include on your invoice will be:
- Business name
- Your name
- Business address
- Business contact information: phone number or email
If you’re creating a working template for future use, this is the final step before you save this invoice as your new template.
Once this step is complete, you’ll want to create a copy of the document to build out a unique invoice.
Add Client Information
Next, you can include your client’s information. This would include their name, address, and contact information.
Add Itemized List of Services or Products
There should be a large section of the invoice that has a grid of lines. This is where you put in your goods or services that have been sold. You should have already agreed with the client on the fee.
Depending on your business and type of work, you can break down your itemized list in whatever way works best. You might do it by item type, hours, or another distinguisher. The smaller the chunks you break the itemized list into, the better your client can understand what work you did.
Next, you’ll add in a cost for each item on your list of services and products.
You should include a cost for every line item.
Total the Cost
Now, you’ll need to do some math. You need to include a total cost on the invoice. This is the amount you expect to be paid by the client.
When you’re using a Word template to create an invoice, you’ll need to do that math yourself. Some of the best invoice software systems will do the math for you.
There are a couple of numbers that need to be included in the total. For those businesses that must charge sales tax, you’ll have a subtotal (before tax), the tax percentage and total tax amount, and then the total cost, which is the tax and subtotal added together.
Step 4: Consider What Information Might Be Missing
Every invoice will be slightly different and what you need to include will depend on your business, so you need to think about what information will be necessary for your customer to understand what they’re paying you for and what they need to pay you.
Your invoice template from Word may not include boxes for everything you need to include on your invoice. Before saving your invoice and sending it to your client, make sure you’ve included everything they need to know.
Step 5: Save as a PDF
One of the most important things to remember when sending a digital copy of your invoice to a client is you should save it as a PDF.
To do this, go to “file,” choose “save as,” and then rename the file within your naming conventions and choose “PDF” as the file type.
The reason you want to save your invoice as a pdf is because this type of document can’t be edited. This ensures that you and your client see the same document, and they can’t make any changes on their end without consulting with you first.
Step 6: Send Your Invoice
Now you’re ready to send your invoice to your client. You can send it to them via email or print it out to mail or hand to them in person. However you send it is up to you.
Tips to Create a Good Invoice
When you create an invoice in Word, you want to make sure you’re sending a document that will be understood by your customers and useful to your business. Keep these three tips in mind when creating these documents.
1. Provide All the Necessary Information
The number one thing that makes for a good invoice is whether or not it’s informative. Both you as the business owner and the recipient of the invoice need certain pieces of information included on the invoice.
You need to include the client’s name as well as a unique identifier for accounting purposes. The unique identifier or invoice number makes it easy to find the invoice in your files if you need to look it up later. Adding the client’s name to the invoice makes it easy for you to track your clients and how much they spend with you.
Probably the most informative section for your client is the itemized list of products or services. Your invoice should tell the client exactly what they’re being charged for. Your contact information should also be included on the invoice. This makes it easy for the client to reach you quickly if there’s any kind of problem, and so they know where to send payment.
2. Keep Your Brand in Mind
When learning how to create an invoice in Word, it might feel like there’s an initial learning curve. Luckily, using a template in Word makes creating a nice, professional-looking invoice pretty simple. All you have to do is put the right information into the correct spots.
Even still, there are a few important mistakes you should avoid to ensure a professional-looking invoice. You’ll want to make sure your invoice is free of typos, doesn’t have too many competing elements (i.e. colors or images), is clearly laid out and well-spaced, and that all of the placeholder text has been removed.
Your invoice is a part of your small business brand and leaves an impression with your client about your business. Even though creating an invoice in Word is a simple process, you can still create a professional and on-brand document.
3. Send It on Time
What your invoice looks like is just as important as when you send it. In many cases, you’ll send an invoice when the work is complete or the products are delivered.
However, for large or ongoing projects, you may not be able to wait this long. In some cases, you will incrementally invoice clients as you complete different aspects of a project, known as progress billing. This helps with your business’s cash flow, while decreasing the chances of your client skipping out on their bill. However, you will need to decide this with your client ahead of time and before you start work on the project to ensure you’re on the same page.
The Bottom Line
Once you learn how to create an invoice in Word, you’ll realize how truly simple it is to put together an invoice that includes all the information you and your client need. When you make an invoice in Word, you create something that’s useful and professional, which can make life as a business owner just a little bit easier.