How to Create an Invoice in Excel & Google Sheets: Step by Step Guide
If you’re new to creating invoices for a small business, this guide is here to help you. Learn all aspects of how to make an invoice, from formatting to numbering.
Creating invoices for small businesses is a tedious task you slog through if you want to be your own boss. It may be annoying, but the reward (getting paid!) is worth the work. And a variety of tools, templates, and software help get the job done fast.
You can likely make do with a simple invoice template when starting out. Find them online or on your computer through Microsoft Word. Here are the steps for how to create an invoice.
How to Make an Invoice Using a Simple Template
Choose Your Template
You can make your invoice from scratch even if you have basic Word or design skills. However, if you’re new to invoicing, using a template can keep your invoices professional and consistent. You can find free options online or on Word or Google Docs. Look for one that is clear and concise. Just like a resume, avoid flowery details or clutter.
When deciding on a template, keep your clients in mind and keep it easy to read and the design simple. For instance, heavy use of colors and blocks requires a lot of ink if they need to print for their records.
Serve Vital Info at the Top
When sending an invoice, make it crystal clear that this bill needs to be paid. Achieve this by:
- Type the word INVOICE on top in bold.
- Include the company name (or logo if it includes your business name), the amount due, the date due, and your information close to the top of the page, so it’s easy to locate.
- List the types of payments you accept under your info, making it as easy as possible to pay you. The easier you make it, the quicker you get paid.
How to Number Your Invoice
When creating a numbering system to keep track of your invoices, you may think, “start with one and go from there.” But if you have multiple clients or customers, that system can get murky quickly.
Consider more streamlined ways to generate invoice numbers effectively — for instance, start with the first three letters of the company or their last name, then start numbering sequentially after a hyphen.
Be Extra Descriptive in the Description Box
Amount due? Check. Who you are, and how they can pay you? Check. That information should be short and to the point. In the description box, however, it’s important to detail what goods or services you supplied. That helps you avoid follow-up calls or emails to clarify.
If you performed numerous services, list each and how much each item costs separately. Show your work so they can easily do their own calculations if needed. It’s also important to include the date. You can even add the time it was started and completed if you charge hourly.
Double-Check Your Math
One downside to using a basic template is that they don’t come with an automatic total generator. That means you may have to add the sums yourself. Accidents happen, but you never want to overcharge and break trust. So double-check your work and avoid mishaps.
Always Say Thank You
Adding “Thank you for your business!” to the end of your invoice adds a personal touch, even if overlooked by some clients. Repeat customers grow your business, and this is a way to connect. Clients aware of your appreciation are more likely to choose you again.
How to Create an Invoice in Excel
Many people hear the word “Excel” and panic.) But it’s time to get over your fear because Excel can make creating invoices for small business easier. Here’s how to do it.
Use a Template
If you need to improve at Excel, make your life easier and select a template. Unlike a simple template, these are designed to do calculations for you automatically. You can even choose templates that add tax.
To find a template, enter the word invoice in the search box at the top. Then click on the template you want.
Fill in Info from Above
Add all the info listed in the simple invoice instructions. The best part is that the calculation should be done for you.
Save as a PDF
PDFs are a great option when sending an invoice because they can usually be viewed regardless of the recipient's operating system.
Send Your Invoice
When sending via email, be descriptive in the subject line. If you own a business, you know just how fast your inbox becomes clogged. Make sure to identify yourself with the company name, the invoice number, and the range of dates for service so your client can flag it as important.
How to Create an Invoice in Google Sheets
We have good news — preparing an invoice through Google Sheets is very similar to Excel. Select a template and fill it out with the same instructions as above.
You can also download it as an Excel invoice if you need to. Hover your cursor over Download under the File menu and choose Excel in the window that appears. When it comes to the best program to create invoices, choose the one you’re the most comfortable operating. Many offer similar features, and each has a slight learning curve.
Consider an All-in-One Program
Templates through Word, Excel, and Google Sheets are great options. However, as your business grows, you may want to invest in accounting software that allows you to do everything. When you run your own business, it seems there’s never enough time to get it all done. Make the paperwork as streamlined and convenient as possible; it’s worth the price.
Several accounting software options allow you to generate invoices, send them, and keep track of the tax info for your company all in one place. Some accounting software even allows you to pay your quarterly taxes right from the site. Some solid options include:
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