Clients want to know not only how much they’re spending, but also what they’re getting for their money. So sending along a four-line Word document that's impersonating an invoice is no way to make a good impression, particularly with a customer's accounting department.
Fortunately, you don't need to spend a ton of money to produce attractive, well-thought-out invoices. Word can produce invoices that look good and save you time. By embedding Excel worksheet objects in Word documents, you can take advantage of Word's page layout tools and Excel's calculation power. Using this approach, we've created some basic invoice templates, which you can download here.
Our templates are fairly self-explanatory, and they’re designed to be modified by you to include specific data, such as your address and even a company logo. We've created four basic files to handle these common scenarios:
- New invoice for services (non-taxable)
- Second-effort invoice for services (non-taxable)
- New invoice for goods (taxable)
- Second-effort invoice for goods (taxable)
You can use the “second-effort” invoices when clients are late with payments. Both of the “second-effort” invoices are identical to the new invoices except the second-effort invoices include a line that allows you to charge a “late fee” when calculating the total bill.
You can see the elements of our taxable goods/shipping template in Figure A. We've created four Excel objects in the document to include your company information; invoice data, such as date; the customer's information; and, most importantly, an itemized billing statement.
All you need to do is punch in the information—the sheet does the rest. Just double-click on any of the objects to open them in Word Excel Spreadsheet mode, as illustrated in Figure B, and enter the data. The sheet's built-in logic tabulates taxes (where appropriate), line-item sub-totals, and the final bill. As you can see in Figure B, you can include taxable and non-taxable items on the same invoice; tax tabulation is handled in a hidden column.
If you need to modify the templates, just click on any of the objects and drag them freely around the layout of the Word document, as shown in Figure C. (If you find that you're having trouble with the Word document's layout, right-click on the element you want to move, choose Format Object, and make sure the Layout tab's In Front Of Text option is selected.) You can also open the objects in Word Excel Worksheet mode and add additional logic or data fields, such as credits against the invoice balance.
|You can modify the template's appearance and contents to suit your needs.|
We've found the most useful aspect of our invoice templates is the ability to keep a running tab of time-items directly in the invoice that ultimately will go to the client. No more keeping a log in Excel and then copying and pasting that information into a cleaned-up Word file for client presentation. You'll be surprised at how much time this simple trick can save.
Ken Hardin is a freelance writer and business analyst with more than two decades in technology media and product development. Before founding his own consultancy, Clarity Answers LLC, Ken was a member of the start-up team and an executive with TechRepublic.com and ITBusinessEdge.com.