What is an invoice and what is it used for?
A business invoice is a request for payment from a business to its customer. The invoice provides customers with the information necessary to pay the issuer and includes a list of goods and services received from the issuing organization.
Typically, a simple invoice will include the following:
- Issuer’s contact information, including the business name, address
- Invoice number and account number for easy reference
- Line items detailing the goods and services received
- A subtotal (before sales tax) and a final amount owed by the customer
- Terms of payment, including due date and late fees
- Acceptable payment methods (credit card, PayPal, etc.)
The purpose of an invoice is to consolidate all of this essential information into a single, summarized document so that customers can easily review the work or goods received and remit payment.
Invoices also help businesses keep track of what they’ve paid for and what they still owe, making them essential from a bookkeeping perspective.
Creating a professional invoice
Invoicing has come a long way in the last few years. While it’s possible to build your own invoices in Microsoft Word and Excel (or in the G-Suite), it’s typically faster to use invoicing software to create professional invoices.
For small businesses, freelancers, and organizations with a limited finance department, using specialized software as an invoice generator is faster and easier to handle. This is especially true when designing a custom invoice.
On top of that, many invoicing software options generate online invoices and downloadable PDFs so that it’s easy for customers to view the documentation and download a copy for themselves.
While it’s possible to do this in Google Docs or Google Sheets, specialized software typically goes a step further by helping you capture customer account information and by issuing payment reminders to customers with an outstanding balance.
Free invoice templates for your business
If you’re looking for free invoice templates, PandaDoc can help. Our template library contains plenty of sample invoices to help you grow your business.
All of the templates in our gallery are available as PDF downloads. PandaDoc users can import our templates into the PandaDoc document editor for total customization.