A Quick Guide to Invoicing

With the free invoice generator by Hiveage

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document you (the seller) send to your customer or client (the buyer) that indicates the amount and costs of the products or services that have been provided by you. It specifies what the customer must pay you according to your payment terms.

An invoice is a legal document. If you issue an incorrect invoice to a client, it should be cancelled and a new invoice issued with the correct information. You should not simply delete the incorrect invoice from your records as this could create accounting problems later.

What should my invoice include?

Title

The invoice should be labelled as such: the title of the document should say “Invoice” (in some jurisdictions, you must say “Tax Invoice”).

Contact Information

The invoice should clearly state who it is from (you, the seller), and who it is for (your customer). In the From field in our free invoice generator, include your name or business name and the address, and any other contact information, such as the phone number, email and website URL. In the To field, mention those details of your customer.

Invoice Number

Every invoice you send should have a unique number, and duplicate numbers should be avoided. The best way to do this is to have a proper invoice numbering format, and increment it per invoice. The easiest approach is to simply start with one (1) and work up from there. However, it is common to have a prefix (e.g.: INV-001) or a bigger starting number (e.g.: 1001).

Dates

The invoice should have a date, which specifies when it was created and sent to your customer. It should also have a due date, when it becomes payable. If you expect to be paid immediately, you can choose the “Due upon receipt” option. For most small businesses we have worked with, a due date of 14 days or less has shown to provide the best results.

Line Items

There are four types of line items to choose from in this free invoice generator. The most common is the Item type, where you mention the goods or services, their quantities and the rate. The amount will then be automatically calculated for you.

The Expense line item type can be used when it is a straightforward expense where you do not need to mention the quantity or rate: simply type in the description and amount.

With the Mileage line item type, you can set a per mile or kilometer rate (you can specify the unit—miles or km—by entering it in the Unit field. The invoice generator will then calculate the amount based on the distance and rate.

Use the Time line item type to bill for your time: mention the task in the description field, enter the time you have spent on this task in HH:MM format in the quantity field, and set an hourly rate.

For all these line item types, you can include a date (e.g.: the date you delivered a service or worked on a task), and links (e.g.: a web URL where the work is available for view). You can also attach files and add labels for easier referencing—sign up for Hiveage for these and many other powerful invoicing and billing features that are not present in the free invoice generator.

Set Taxes, Discounts and Shipping Fees

You can add taxes, discounts and shipping fees to the invoice sub total using the free invoice generator. The discounts will be applied first. The taxes will be applied after discounts. The shipping fees will be applied at the end. The total will be calculated by deducting the discounts from the sub total, and adding the taxes and shipping fees.

Invoice Notes

The Invoice notes field in the free invoice generator can be used to add further details about your service, such as terms and conditions, payment instructions, return policy on goods, and how many days the client has to make the payment before incurring a late fee. You’ll also want to thank your client and appreciate their business.

What’s next?

Whether you’re a freelancer or small business owner, the best thing you can do to ensure success is to keep the business end of your enterprise simple in order to keep the focus on actual work.

The problem with sending invoices randomly—either using our free invoice generator or a regular word processor—is that you don’t have a convenient way of recording what was owed, who was billed, when they were billed, when payments were expected, and if payments were received. It is easy for something to fall through the cracks. This is where having a proper tool to manage your invoicing comes handy.

Hiveage offers a simple, elegant and powerful platform for small business owners to send elegant estimates and professional online invoices, have evidence of when it was sent, and know when it has been paid. Hiveage also make it easier to files taxes at the end of the year because all your billing and income information is collected in one place.