Understanding Your Invoice Templates


Understanding Your Invoice Template


An invoice template is a great tool for any product vendors or service providers. In the following article we will explain and describe the invoice template in a bit more detail, and provide some answers to a few frequently asked questions people have concerning these documents.

What Is an Invoice Template?

An invoice template is a computerized form that allows companies to create professional looking invoices for their customers in just a matter of seconds. By using this tool, employers and accounting professionals save both time and money, while still turning out a great product.



An invoice is a detailed bill left by vendors and outside suppliers for the goods or services they rendered to a company or individual. Usually, it lists a number of pieces of information(which we will go into more detail about later in this article), including the quantity of each item being purchased, prices, billable hours, a service description, and a contact address or website where payment can be made. While some expenses may be paid for out of a general fund (in the case of business purchases) or petty cash, an invoice is usually paid through an accounts payable department by the posted due date.


Microsoft Word INVOICE Templates Version 1
Microsoft Word INVOICE Templates Version 2
Microsoft Word INVOICE Templates Version 3
Microsoft Word INVOICE Templates Version 4
Microsoft Word INVOICE Templates Version 5

Written in a legal format, the invoice can be used as evidence of any incurred debt. The recipient of the goods or services can challenge the legitimacy of individual charges, but the document itself is considered a genuine debt. In some cases, a vendor or service provider cannot collect on a bill immediately; so the company will send an invoice at a later date for payment. Other times, the actual daily or weekly expense of a service may be so low that a company will actually wait until the charges have accumulated to a certain point, and then send a bill to cover all of the costs at once. Vending machine attendants and bottled water providers, for example, may only send one invoice a month instead of billing the company or individual a few dollars a day for supplies.

There are many ways that vendors can get their hands on an invoice template. Many websites today now offer an online and downloadable sample of the form, which can then be tweaked and personalized to match the needs of the vendor. There is very little cost for these document samples, and some companies even offer them free of charge. Additionally, there are many computer programs today, such as Microsoft Office, which provide invoice templates for their customers, available in both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Each of these programs offers a step-by-step guide to make the process of creating a document in this format easier than ever. A professional invoice should contain clear information on the goods or services, accurate pricing information, and current contact information for any billing questions a client may have.

Keep in mind that not all invoices are bills of sale. A manufacturer may send out a “shipping invoice”, which details all of the parts and accessories included in a given order. This document should be carefully compared to the parts and accessories that were actually received by the business or individual. Automotive dealers also get an invoice from the factory, one that highlights the actual price of the basic vehicle and any optional equipment that may be installed. The dealer may offer its customers a discount, sometimes selling the automobile at a cost lower than the actual invoice.

Why Do I Need an Invoice Template?

In running a commercial business, the chore of creating invoices manually would not only be tedious but incredibly time-consuming as well. To overcome this problem, thousands, if not millions of companies choose to design or download blank invoice templates—computerized documents that are simple and easy to use. These templates can be found online and are sometimes free to download, and they typically contain all the required fields necessary in which to create an invoice. So, too, do the templates in Microsoft Word and Excel.

Invoice templates churn out professional-looking documents each and every time. The programs are customizable, giving the user a choice of attributes, including color, font style, text style, company logos and more. The templates provide space for all the purchase related information as well, and have the ability to perform all the necessary calculations automatically. Never again should you slave over a calculator, especially when you consider that invoice templates are now easier to get than ever and are often even free.

Businesses that continue operating without an invoice template can waste hundreds of man hours each year. To create one of these forms manually, they must identify the clients and calculate the amount of the purchase, a process that often take hours. With an invoice template, on the other hand, companies can quickly create, print and mail their invoices, while simultaneously saving a copy for their records in their computer’s database.

Some online invoicing software programs provide clients with emails that contain links for viewing the bill online. The client can simply click on the link to view the bill, and then pay the bill using any number of online payment methods. People can even download a PDF version of the bill if they wish to inspect it further at a later time. An invoice template can save companies hundreds of dollars each year in paper costs, the cost of printer ink, and mailing and postal charges, as many of these tasks can be handled online. Further, if a client wished to be sent a paper version of the invoice, the vending company or service provider can simply print the form along with a return receipt attached onto the windowed envelope.

What Needs to Be Included in an Invoice Template?

To be accurate, professional and legal, an invoice template must contain several components. Whether you decide to download an online form composed in PDF format, or create your own for free using Microsoft Word or Excel, the following components or elements should always be included:

• Heading. Several pieces of information can be included in the heading of the invoice. Including, of course, the word “INVOICE”, to identify the document, and the name and contact details of the company issuing it. For truly professional-looking invoices, we recommend you include a clear and detailed business logo, one that will allow customers to quickly identify your invoice.

• Invoice Number. The invoice number is a crucial element in any invoice template. The invoice number allows you to file your invoices in numerical order, which in turn helps with accounting and bookkeeping tasks you may need to accomplish at a later date.

• Name of Company/Person Being Billed. On the top left, of the invoice, below the heading, you will need to record the name of the person or company being billed and their contact information.

• Description of the Product/Service. The products and/or services you are billing for should be clearly explained in this section of the document. This includes product and service numbers where applicable.

• Quantity. The quantity of each item or service purchased should be directly opposite the name of the product and the description.

• Individual Price for each Item or Service. The per-unit price of each item or service being purchased should be indicated in this section.

• Sub-Total. The sub-total is calculated by multiplying the quantity of each item or service by the unit price, and then adding the sum of those amounts. This is what is known as the pre-tax total.

• Taxes and other Charges. Any applicable taxes, handing and shipping fees should appear just below the sub-total.

• Grand Total. The grand total is the sum of the sub-total and the cumulative total of any taxes and shipping fees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the Difference between an Invoice and a Receipt?

In the simplest terms, an invoice is like a bill that informs the customer of what he/she owes. A receipt, however, is a record of payment that you provide to the customer after the sale has been finalized.

Through its format, the invoice explains to the customer exactly what he is paying for, detailing all of the specifics of the transaction, including quantity and description of the goods and/or services being provided, the price for those goods and services, additional charges including taxes and shipping, the total price for the transaction and the payment terms.

The receipt should show the date the payment was made, method of payment used, the amount of the payment and a reference to the invoice that the payment relates to. It should also show any balance due, whenever applicable.

How Is an Invoice Different from a Bill?

Invoice and bill are two terms that are often used in business, and although both of these documents are similar, there are some subtle differences.

An invoice is a business document issued by a vendor to a consumer, demonstrating the products, quantities and the agreed upon prices for any products or services for which the seller has already provided the purchaser. An invoice specifies that, unless paid in advance, the payment is due by the buyer to the seller on a specific date, according to the agreed upon terms.

In contrast, a bill is a document requesting payment for goods previously supplied. The format of the bill is much different than that of an invoice. Bills are commonly used by restaurants when collecting for the food that was supplied, by credit card and utility companies and other service providers. With a bill, the customer is expected to pay in full immediately. If it is not paid, a collections company can be hired to collect the amount owed, which may prove detrimental to the consumer’s credit rating.

Where Can I Download Free Invoice Templates?

Invoice templates can be downloaded from any number of online websites, but not all of these sites offer these handy documents for free. Fortunately, this website does carry free invoice templates for its customers—sample forms that can save you hours of time and money. Simply scroll to the invoice template that best suits your purpose, click and download. It really is that easy.

Should I Use (Microsoft) Excel or Word to Create an Invoice?

The newer versions of both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel offer users a variety of invoice templates. You can even create your own from a blank document or worksheet. As for which one you should use: probably the one you feel more comfortable with, but if you’re looking for a program with which you can create special formulas to match the price type of your products or services, we recommend Excel.

Microsoft Excel  can also help you invoice your customers. In other words, it allows you to prepare an itemized list of products sold or services rendered.

Naturally, method one—downloading a pre-made template from Excel—is the better way to go for novice computer users, but for those quite familiar with the inner workings of the Excel program, creating your own personalized invoice may be a fun project.

Here are a few examples of Templates you can Download: