Being a freelancer often means acting as an accountant, head of Human Resources, an account manager and more – all alongside your actual work.
You’re basically a one man band.
Luckily, there are ways to streamline your freelance working life. When it comes to invoicing, you want it to be fast and accurate, so you can get back to making money.
Here’s how to make invoicing easier.
1. Use Cloud Accounting Software to Send and Track Invoices Online
Moving your invoicing to an online platform can shave hours from your billing time and see your invoices paid faster. Services such as Invoicely, FreshBooks and Wave offer features such as creating estimates, invoicing, expense recording, time tracking and reporting.
Benefits of using cloud accounting software include automated late-payment reminders, so you don’t have to do the chasing, and invoice templates for fast and accurate invoices. Plus everything is stored in the cloud, so you don’t need to worry about a harddrive failure.
2. Find How Invoicing Best Fits Into Your Workflow
If you usually sit down and spend hours on invoicing, try sending invoices immediately after the work is delivered. For example, photographers can send invoices after sending the final images to the client, rather than dedicating an afternoon to invoicing.
If you work in a creative field, don’t force invoicing when you’re feeling ready to work. Save invoicing for those low effort, low impact work stints, since it takes less creativity.
3. Store Frequently Typed Text for Invoices
When invoicing, you likely type the same thing over and over. It’s useful to store these chunks of text somewhere so you can quickly insert them into invoices. It’ll save you time by requiring less typing – and you won’t accidentally mistype your payment terms.
Invoice Introduction and Details
”Please find attached my invoice for [your wedding photography]. It’s due on [8/8/2019]. Thank you for your business! If you have any questions or queries, just let me know.”
This is a great template for letting clients know when an invoice is due and politely thanking them for their business. You can customize as needed, or add additional details.
Store a copy of your payment terms so you don’t have to type them out each time. Decide the time frame in which you want your invoices paid and include any information about late charges. By storing it as a template, you’ll never misquote a due date or forget details on the large charges.
Your Hourly Rates
Jack of all trades? Whether you’re half photographer, half photo-editor, if you do more than one type of work, store your hourly rates somewhere so you never quote the wrong rate.
A Helping Hand
Apps such as TextExpander can hold templates that can be used in any invoicing system and has built in flexibility so you can customize as you go.
For example, you could use fill in the blank style fields to type your project in an invoice and use time and date math to automatically insert a date that’s 30 days from today – or however many days until payment is due.
Example Invoicing Workflow
Every freelancer is as different as their business, but here’s an example workflow you can adopt and adapt to suit you.
- Begin work. Use FreshBooks’ time-tracking feature to log hours.
- Finish the project for the client.
- Head to FreshBooks to generate invoice from hours tracked.
- Expand hourly rate and project description using templates stored in TextExpander.
- Hit send – option to send a personalized message appears. Expand a template from TextExpander thanking the client for their business and explaining the nature of the invoice.
- Track when client has viewed and paid the invoice on FreshBooks.
Easier Invoicing, FasterPayments
Getting paid shouldn’t be a pain. Use these tips to spend less time invoicing – and get paid faster.
Best & Easiest Way to Invoice Customers
Invoicing is a crucial part of any business, ensuring you get paid for your services or products. Here’s a straightforward and efficient approach:
- Choose the Right Invoicing Software:
- Select software that’s easy to use and suits your business needs. Look for features like customizable templates, automatic reminders, and online payment options.
- Gather Client Information:
- Before creating an invoice, ensure you have all necessary client details, including name, address, and contact information.
- Detail Services or Products Provided:
- Clearly list all services or products provided, including descriptions, quantities, and individual prices.
- Include Dates:
- Specify the billing period or the date the services were rendered or products delivered.
- Calculate the Total:
- Add up the individual costs of services or products, including any taxes, discounts, or shipping fees.
- Specify Payment Terms:
- Clearly state the due date for payment and preferred payment methods. Include any late payment policies or early payment discounts.
- Send the Invoice Promptly:
- Deliver the invoice to your client as soon as possible after completing the work or sale. Consider using email for quicker delivery.
- Follow Up:
- If payment is not received by the due date, send a polite reminder. Keep track of all invoices and follow-ups for efficient account management.
- Keep Records:
- Maintain records of all invoices and payments for financial tracking and tax purposes.
By following these steps, you can streamline your invoicing process, making it more efficient and effective in ensuring timely payments.
Invoicing is an integral part of business operations, but it often comes with questions. Let’s address some of the most common inquiries:
Is an Invoice the Same as a Receipt?
No, an invoice is not the same as a receipt. An invoice is a request for payment issued before payment is made, detailing the goods or services provided. A receipt is a proof of payment provided after the payment has been made.
Do Invoices Need to Be Signed?
Generally, invoices do not need to be signed. However, some businesses and clients may require a signature for verification or contractual reasons. It’s best to adhere to the preferences of your clients or the standards of your industry.
What Invoice Number Should I Start With?
You can start with any number, but a common practice is to begin with 001 or 1001. This helps keep your records organized and makes it easier to track invoices sequentially.
When Should You Invoice a Customer?
Typically, you should invoice a customer after the goods have been delivered or the service has been provided. Some businesses may invoice at the start of a project, especially for large or long-term projects, or have periodic billing cycles.
Should an Invoice Include Bank Details?
Yes, including bank details on your invoice is advisable if you accept bank transfers. This makes it easier for clients to make payments and ensures the correct account is credited.
Who Prepares Invoices at a Company?
Invoices are usually prepared by the accounts receivable department or the person responsible for billing. In small businesses, this task might be handled by the owner or a designated employee who manages financial transactions.
How to Simplify Invoicing with TextExpander
TextExpander is a powerful tool that can significantly streamline the invoicing process. Here’s how you can use it to simplify and automate your invoicing:
- Create Snippet Groups for Invoicing:
- Organize your snippets into groups based on different invoicing needs, such as client information, services offered, or payment terms.
- Standardize Invoice Templates:
- Develop standard templates for your invoices. Use TextExpander to create snippets for various invoice sections, like header, client details, service descriptions, and totals.
- Automate Repetitive Information:
- Create dedicated snippets for recurring details like your business address, tax information, or payment instructions. This ensures consistency and saves time.
- Dynamic Fields for Variable Data:
- Use TextExpander’s fill-in-the-blank feature for details that change from invoice to invoice, such as client name, date, and specific services or products.
- Quick Access to Common Services or Products:
- If you often bill for standard services or products, create snippets for these items, including descriptions and prices. This makes adding them to invoices a breeze.
- Efficiently Handle Unique Cases:
- For less common services or special discounts, create snippets that can be easily customized for each situation, ensuring accuracy and reducing manual entry.
- Update Invoice Numbers Automatically:
- Use TextExpander’s date and time macros to generate unique invoice numbers based on the current date, ensuring a sequential and organized system.
- Integrate with Your Accounting Software:
- If your accounting software allows for text expansion, use TextExpander to fill in invoice fields directly within the software.
By incorporating TextExpander into your invoicing process, you can drastically reduce the time spent on manual data entry, minimize errors, and ensure a consistent and professional approach to billing. This enhances efficiency and allows you more time to focus on other important aspects of your business.