How to make an invoice
By Steven Bennett
When I first started working for myself there were a number of basic tasks that I found far too time consuming. In my first few months of freelancing I was having great success finding clients, pitching, winning and completing jobs but, in a very busy schedule, found it frustrating when I had to make, send and store invoices.
Each time a job was signed off and ready to invoice I used a word processor like Word, sometimes PayPal, to create an invoice by updating a previous one and saving it to my computer, sometimes over the original version by mistake, before attaching it to an email, writing a note and sending it over. This ultimately resulted in countless folders scattered across my hard drive and email inbox with no quick way of finding an invoice when I needed one and on top of this, if I was out of the office, I had no way of looking at previous invoices at all.
At first it was bearable, but after a few short weeks of creating invoices I found that the time wasted combined creating, archiving and sending quotations and contracts was a considerate amount of my precious spare time.
It’s not the invoices fault
Reading this you are likely to fall into one of two camps. Those that empathise with my pain and those that agree that I was simply terrible at being organised. Truth be told, the latter is correct to a point. But, as a new business owner I was more focussed on what I loved doing, forming relationships with clients and dedicating all my efforts to helping them achieve their goals. Making invoices, sending them and finding out a new system to store them unfortunately wasn’t at the top of my fun things to do list.
Storing, sending and making invoices the easier way
Thankfully, I was able to set some time aside to develop a system that made the whole process of how to make an invoice simple. A system that would allow me to quickly create, store and send invoices whilst also allowing me to know when an invoice had been seen by a client, set up reminders to follow up with invoiced clients and automate monthly invoices in situations where clients needed the same invoice each month (only the date and invoice number changed).
I found after using this I was saving myself over three hours a month on handling and managing documents. A large part of this was spent on just creating invoices. As this was time was now free to dedicate to clients and my hourly rate was around £40. Each month had the potential of making me an extra £120 without eating into my own time.
How to create an invoice in Bloom Cube
Having got that of my chest, if you are still here, lets look at how you can store, send and make invoices the easy way.
Invoice number, reference and dates
Enter the invoice number, reference and invoice date for your invoice. Invoice numbers are automatically generated and carry on from your previous invoice. If, however you want to change the invoice number you can do so. For the due date, select the number of days you want paying after the invoice date and a due date will automatically be calculated for you.
We now need to choose who our invoice is for. We can select an existing client or create a new one. When creating a new client, it is always advised that you add as much information about your client as you can. However, only the name, city and country are required at this point.
Products and services
Next, we need to add our products and services. To speed up the creation of invoices you may find it helpful to add products or services to your account. Doing so will allow you to quickly select popular products and services rather than having to enter them in each time.
Enter the description, quantity, value and tax information (If relevant) for each of the relevant products or services. You can add more products/services by clicking the "Add Another Item" button.
Shipping and Discounts
We can now choose, if applicable, how much we want to add for shipping and if we want to provide any discounts. Shipping costs do not affect taxes or discounts. If no shipping charge applies simply enter a zero.
Discounts are entered as a percentage and will affect all of your products before tax. Tax will then be recalculated for each automatically. Discounts do not affect shipping charges. If you enter zero for a discount the discount section will not appear on your invoice.
Payment details & notes
If required we can now add notes to our invoice. Defaults of these can be created to speed up the invoice making process.
Payment details are either instructions on how you wish to be paid or the account details you want the client to send your funds. If left blank this section will not show on your final invoice.
Notes can be used as extra instructions, a thank you note or any other important information you would like on your invoice.
Finally, we need to set the status of our invoice. There are two options for saving your invoice. As a draft or to create invoice.
Saving your invoice as a draft simply saves your invoice in a state that can be edited later. It can't be turned into a PDF, downloaded or sent to a client but can be saved as a usable invoice at a later time when you are happy with it.
Creating an invoice takes the information you have entered and turns it into a finalised invoice. It cannot be edited any further but can be downloaded and/or sent to a client.
And that’s it. That’s how easy it is to create an invoice. We can now access our invoice at any time from a web connected device such as your phone. We can also send our invoice directly to our clients from Bloom Cube, we will know when they have seen it and can automate tasks such as creating and sending future versions of the invoice when we deal with clients regularly and the only thing that changes is the invoice number and date.
If you would like to try our invoice tool, which is part of our full suite of tools for businesses, you can do so now for FREE with our trial. Thanks for reading.