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An invoice is a bill that you can give to your clients, asking them to pay for the goods or services that you sold to them. As a writer, you would invoice a magazine for an article that you write; as a marketing consultant, you would invoice a business that you contract for etc.

How to make an invoice

You can create it as a Word doc, as a PDF or any other document type. Make sure that it’s not too niche (e.g. a screenshot or image file) as the finance team of the business you’re invoicing may not be able to accept it. 

If you’re self-employed, make sure that it includes the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address and contact details
  • The business’s registered address
  • A unique number (the number of the invoice) – this is up to you to decide, but make sure you keep track of the numbers that you use
  • The payment terms – this is the date from which you send the invoice to the latest payment date, usually 30 days
  • A quantity, description, and price for each good or service that you provided
  • The total price
  • Your bank account information

There are lots of free invoicing templates and tools online which will make it easier for you to create something if you’ve not done it before.

How are they used?

You don’t only use invoicing for payment but as a general method of tracking.

  • Keeping track of sales
  • Track your inventory (if you’re selling/creating physical products)
  • To request payment
  • Keep track of income for tax purposes
  • To forecast future sales

I’m VAT-registered

If you’ve registered for VAT, the invoice needs to include more detail – read more about VAT invoices on HMRC’s website.

You can issue an invoice either before or after you’ve supplied your customer with a good or service.

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