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How do I Choose the Best Invoice Format?

Diane Goettel
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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The best invoice format is a format that allows for maximum detail and clarity for both the company or sole proprietor generating the invoice and for the person or organization that is receiving the invoice. Some of the most important information to include on an invoice includes a total amount that is being charged as well as a detailed account of the products or services that yield that total. If there are any other charges, taxes, or fees that are also calculated into the invoice total, these should also be reflected in the detailed account of charges. Also, it is important to make sure that there is clear information about how the invoice should be paid, whether there are payment plan options, or options in terms of the types of payment that are accepted, and a due date by when the charges on the invoice must be paid.

In some cases, an invoice format can be very simple. For example, a freelance writer invoicing a magazine for services rendered might only include the following on her invoice: her name and address, one line about the services rendered and the related charge, and information about how the magazine can pay her for her services. On the other hand, a supplier of construction materials might have to use a very detailed and advanced format when billing a contractor for supplies for a skyscraper.

In most cases, companies can create one invoice format to be used for almost every transaction. This makes the invoicing process much easier and more streamlined. If there are clients that require a number of additional pieces of information on an invoice, this may be added to a "Notes" section, which can be added to an invoice format. Depending on the needs of a company's various clients and the range of services rendered, it might be necessary for a company to use more than one invoice format. In this situation, it is important to use as few formats as possible just to streamline the process and keep information as organized as possible.

Companies may begin with a simple invoice format and tweak the format in order to meet their specific needs that arise over time. This is often the best way to find the perfect invoice format for a company. In order to begin, however, there are a number of companies that sell basic invoice formats. It is possible to get some for free using word processing software.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By jennythelib — On Aug 01, 2011

One other suggestion - you might want to include an invoice number for both your reference and the client's. If you have just one or two clients, as with some freelancers, you might be able to get away with just using the date as the invoice number.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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