What Does a Professional Invoice Look Like in 2024

DAVID FAČKO

10 min

·

December 7, 2023

Invoices are the bread and butter of every business. But what does a professional invoice look like? Which of its elements hold the most meaning for your company, and why? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place to find answers. In this article, we’ll go over each aspect of a professional invoice template, explain its use and meaning, and teach you how to leverage them to get paid earlier and build better, long-lasting relationships with your clients. 

But before we get into all that, let’s take a step back…

Why are Professional Invoices important?

Imagine a situation like this: You’ve finally wrapped up a project, sent the invoice, and… nothing. You wait ten, thirty, sixty, maybe even ninety days, and yet no payment is in sight. Instead, all you receive are more and more questions regarding your invoice and requested amendments. What’s going on?

Aside from shady customers, the case may be that you need to rethink your approach to invoicing. Professional invoices are supposed to be easily legible and only mention the necessary transactional and legal details to ensure no problems arise. This allows you to complete your projects and sales with minimal hassle and get paid as quickly as possible. 

The question is, what details should you include to create a professional invoice?

What to Include on a Professional Invoice?

There are several vital pieces of information each professional invoice needs to include. To help you double-check your existing invoices for potential faults, we’ll detail each necessary aspect below, as well as highlight it in the following image. 

invoice looks

Take a moment to delve into the diverse world of invoicing and observe the distinct appearances and formats of various invoice types.

1. Invoice Number & Name:

Each invoice must include a unique identification number. Typically, this combines the year and the invoice’s number (i.e., 2023001).

Furthermore, depending on the customer’s country of origin, you may need to use a different name for the invoice according to local legislation. For example, VAT invoice in the UK or tax invoice in Australia and New Zealand.

2. Your Business Information:

All your invoices need to include your business information, including the name, address, contact information, and identification number of your company.

3. Customer’s Business Information:

Similarly, as in the previous step, you’ll want to include the name, address, contact information, and identification number of your customer’s company.

Furthermore, depending on the customer, you may need to include a TIN (tax identification number). This is particularly relevant for non-profit and child-care service industries.

4. Issue & Delivery Date:

For legal and taxation purposes, each invoice must include when it was issued and delivered.

5. Logo, Stamp, and/or Signature:

A professional invoice should also include a visual confirmation of your (the sender’s) identity, either in the form of a logo, stamp, or signature. This gives your invoices more weight and makes you look more trustworthy as a professional. A logo especially helps customers easily differentiate your invoices at a glance.

6. List of Services or Products Delivered:

To help your customers rest easy knowing that you’re not scamming them, you should include a list of all products or services provided, their amount, price per unit, and total price per item. You can also add a description underneath each item to make the invoice (and price) as clear as possible.

7. Total Price:

Your invoice should include the total price at the bottom of the page and any taxes or extra costs the customer needs to pay.

8. Fine Print / Boilerplate:

Every basic invoice template has a space for your business boilerplate / fine print to list your Terms & Conditions. This typically includes the number of days a customer has to pay, accepted payment methods, and potential penalties and late fees.
This is vital because if you do not state these details explicitly, your customers may take weeks, if not months, to pay you, and you’d have no legal ground to stand on.

9. Thank-You Box:

At the bottom of your invoice, there’s space you can attach a small “thank you”. On top of being a nice customer service gesture, this provides a unique branding opportunity where you can address your clientele to ensure your company stays on their mind for a long time. 

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How to design a Professional Invoice?

Often, companies and small freelance businesses don’t tend to worry about design and just opt for a standard, blank invoice template. And while there’s nothing wrong with that inherently, it means you forego the unique branding opportunity well-designed invoices can provide. 

Incorporating customized branding elements into your invoices not only enhances professionalism but also fosters brand recognition, a crucial aspect of invoicing for freelancers seeking to leave a lasting impression on clients.

Branding has a noticeable effect on sales, and even professional-looking invoices can help transform one-off customers into long-term clients. Especially so if you operate in the commercial sphere, where your invoices might be seen by tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people every month.

“But how do I design a professional AND visually engaging branded invoice?”, you may ask. Well, as it turns out, quite easily. Consider these three steps to designing invoices:

We’ve touched on this in the previous section, but to reiterate, using a logo on your invoices is a fantastic way of easily setting yourself apart from the competition. 

2. Incorporate Company Colors:

Think about your website, e-shop, or ads. Ideally, you should be using the same colors repeatedly to make your customers associate them with your business. Why not double down on your efforts and design your invoices in your company colors?

3. Clarity

A professional invoice should be simple and neat. Its main focal point has to be the most critical information for the receiver – the price, due date and the bank account number where the payment should be made. These invoicing elements are critical for the whole invoicing process.

4. Speak To Your Clientele in the Thank-You Box:

Each business should have a specific target customer in mind. These people have a unique way of speaking, which gives you the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with them even in your invoice’s thank-you box.

What should a professional invoice look like

There are also a number of other design basics you should keep in mind when creating your business invoice. These include: 

  • Consider the Structure of the Invoice:
    Most customers will do with a digital email invoice. But for the clients who may want to print out a physical copy, you’ll want to work within the standard margins of an 8.5 x 11” page. Also, make sure to leave enough room for all the necessary information.
  • Make the Invoice Easy to Read:
    Readability is a key aspect of every invoice. Keep this in mind while designing, and try to work clear invoice layouts, like grids.
  • Highlight the Most Important Information:
    To further improve your invoice legibility, you can use different sizes and colors to differentiate the most important information, like deadlines and total prices

But thankfully, you don’t need to worry about these aspects with Billdu’s free invoice templates. Each comes in a variety of formats, is easily customizable with logos and colors, and can be downloaded in Word, Excel, PDF, or Google Docs.

In the case of Billdu, you have a “Pay with PayPal” button directly on your digital invoices, so the client can pay immediately, without going through the hassle of making a bank transfer or using an otherwise slower payment method.

If you’re still making invoices using Word and Excel, upgrade to effortless invoice generation with Billdu automation feature. For simple and efficient invoice creation, consider using the Billdu Invoice Generator for Australia.

How to Quickly and Professionally Create and Send an Invoice?

Creating and sending an invoice both quickly and professionally is a key aspect of efficient business management. To start, choose a reliable invoicing software or platform like Billdu, which simplifies the process and ensures a professional look. Begin by selecting a template that aligns with your brand image, adding a touch of professionalism.

One of the advantages of using digital platforms is their ability to automatically calculate totals and taxes, reducing the likelihood of errors.

Before sending the invoice, double-check all the information for accuracy. The best invoicing software allow you to send an invoice at the best time directly to your client’s email, streamlining the process. This not only saves time but also ensures that the invoice reaches the client promptly.

It’s a good practice to follow up with a polite email or message, confirming the receipt of the invoice.

Final thoughts on Professional Invoice Design

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the importance of professional business invoices and how to design them. As we’ve explained, each one of your invoices offers a unique opportunity to build rapport with your clients, strengthen your company branding, and solidify your standing as a professional.

Furthermore, by including all necessary information on your business invoices in a clear and intuitive way, you can ensure you always get paid on time. And if not, you at least have a legal leg to stand on to persuade non-payers to give you what’s yours. 

And you can do all of this with our free online invoice generator. You don’t even need to sign up for one our free 30-day trial! But as you’ll find Billdu is much more than just an invoice maker. So, why not power up all your financial documents with options like the free profit and loss template and see how we can help your small business grow?

Create professional looking invoices quickly and easily with Billdu!

Create professional-looking invoices quickly and effortlessly with Billdu. Click here to start streamlining your invoicing process today!

Free 30-day trialNo credit card requiredCancel anytime
Billdu invoice maker and invoicing app

Looking for Downloadable Invoice Templates?

Wondering what should an invoice look like? Look at our free invoice templates in a number of formats

Frequently asked questions

How to create a professional looking invoice in Microsoft Word?

Easily create a professional invoice using Microsoft Word! Start by opening a new document and searching for 'invoice' in the online templates. Choose your desired template, download it, and personalize it with your business details - logo, company information, and a unique invoice number.

Check out our guide on creating an invoice in Microsoft Word.

How to create a professional looking invoice in Microsoft Excel?

To create a professional invoice in Microsoft Excel, start by selecting an appropriate template from Excel's range. Customize this with your company logo, contact details, and specific terms. Enter customer information and details of the transaction, including date and invoice number. Add the items or services provided, with quantities, prices, and taxes. Excel's automatic calculations help ensure accuracy.

Use formatting tools for a clear and professional look, clearly stating your payment terms. Save the completed invoice in Excel and PDF formats for record-keeping and easy sharing with clients.

What are the types of professional invoices?

Professional invoices come in various forms, each tailored to specific business needs and scenarios. From standard sales invoices issued after a transaction to progress invoices used during ongoing projects, understanding these types can help streamline your billing process.

There are also commercial invoices for international trade, and timesheet invoices typically used by freelancers and consultants. Recognizing and utilizing the right type of invoice for your business transactions ensures clarity, legality, and efficiency in your financial dealings.

What are the key elements in creating invoices?

Creating invoices involves several key elements for clarity and professionalism. The header should display your company’s name, logo, and contact information, and the client's details, including name and address. Each invoice requires a unique number and should specify the date issued and payment due date.

The main section lists the goods or services provided, with descriptions, quantities, prices, and the total amount due. Include any applicable taxes and clearly state the payment terms and methods. Optionally, use a footer for additional notes or terms and conditions. These elements collectively ensure your invoice is comprehensive and easy to understand.

Is a Signature Necessary on an Invoice?

A signature is not typically required on an invoice. Invoices are generally considered a request for payment and do not need to be signed to be valid. However, in some cases, such as with certain legal or contractual agreements, a signature may be necessary to confirm receipt or agreement to the terms.

It's always a good idea to understand the specific requirements of your industry or any contracts you have with clients to determine if a signature is needed on your invoices.

What does the invoice look like when you are a VAT registered?

When you're VAT-registered, your invoices must comply with specific tax requirements. Alongside standard details like company and client information, and a breakdown of goods or services, a VAT invoice should prominently display your VAT registration number.

Each item or service must have the VAT rate applied and the total VAT amount shown separately. This ensures clarity in tax calculations both for your business and the client. The invoice should also include a more detailed description of items or services and the date of supply if it differs from the invoice date. These details are essential for VAT reporting and auditing purposes.

DAVID FAČKO

SEO Specialist at Billdu

David Fačko is an SEO specialist at Billdu, one of the best-rated invoicing software for freelancers in the world.

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