How to create an invoice (+ free invoice template in Word)

Curious and Geeks
Learn how to create an invoice

If you are here, it means that you have probably secured your first sponsored post or freelance job. Congrats! It’s well deserved!
Now comes the admin part and you need to send them an invoice. Are you wondering how to create an invoice? Don’t freak out, I am here to help! 
I have come across a lot of invoices during my corporate career and put together a free invoice template in Word, that will hopefully, make the admin work easier for you.
Let’s look at why would you need an invoice and what should a UK invoice includes.

Why do I need an invoice?

Most of the times, for your sponsored posts, you will receive your payments directly to Paypal, or the brand will send you their own templates for you to fill in. No much work needed in these cases.

Sometimes, however, you will be asked to provide your own invoice.
Why? Because it is a legal requirement ensuring that you keep accurate records of your income and your expenses. For the brands, it serves as an evidence of services they paid for. 
They won’t be able to issue the payment without a valid invoice. Your invoice will need to be approved by their purchasing service and their finance team before being paid. 

Ok, now you know that you might need an invoice, so let’s look at what it needs to include.


What do I need to include in a UK invoice?

For your invoice to be approved and eventually paid, it will need to include the information listed below:

  • A – Your name, your address and your contact information – this will help the brand identify who they are paying.
  • B – The name and the address of the company you are invoicing – this will help with their approval process – to confirm that it’s an invoice for them to pay.
  • C – The invoice number – this is a unique identification number, that you will have to come up with, useful both for you and for the company (to keep track of what they paid, to avoid paying twice the same invoice, etc.).
  • D – The date of the invoice – for you and for the company – you will be able to keep track of what invoices were issued when and follow the payment if it’s late.
  • E – A clear description of the service provided – include the title of the blog post, the title of the email they sent, etc.
  • F – The amounts being charged per line item – if you have been asked to write two posts, you can set the quantity to two, the price for one item to 50 and the sub total price to 2*50=100.
  • G – The grand total – make sure you have checked that it ties back with the sum of each line.
  • H – The payment terms or terms and conditions.
  • I – Your payment details.
  • J – If you are a limited company, you will need to include: the registration number, the registered office, and the full name of your company.

Let’s now look at the invoice template and check where these information appear.

Template of an invoice in word - image showing the personal details, the company details and the invoice details.

A – Your contact details – fill in once

To update your template, you will need to fill in the section A with your details. You will have to insert your name, your address, phone, email and address of your blog. If you want you can also include your logo.

You will only need to update this section once and save the updated document as a new template. You can use this new template for all your following invoices.

B – The brand details – update for each invoice

You will need to update this section to include the name of the brand you worked with, their address, their phone, the email of your contact.

C – The invoice number – update for each invoice

You will need to come up with a unique number or alphanumeric characters and increase it by one each time you issue an invoice. This number needs to be unique and you can’t issue two invoices with the same number!

If you want you could use the first two letters for a brand and add 4 numbers after. For each brand you will work with, you can change the first two letters and start from 0000.
Or choose an easier option and only have numbers that will increase by one at each invoice.

D – The invoice date – update for each invoice

You will need to enter the date of your invoice for tracking purposes, this will help you identify when an invoice is overdue so you can start the chasing process.

Next on the invoice example, come items E, F and G.

Template of an invoice in word - image showing the line items and the grand total.

E – Description – update for each invoice

You will need to give a description of the service provided and for which you are requesting your payment. Be as specific as you can but stay concise: You can include a link of the post you wrote, the date and the title of the email they sent with the details of the job, etc.
That will help them accelerate their approval process as they will know exactly what they are paying. It will also help you make sure you included all the work you did.

F – The price per line item – update for each invoice

In most cases, you will only have one line item and one quantity for this line item. And that’s completely fine. But in case you had to buy something rechargeable for your article, pictures for example, you will need to specify the quantity and the price.

G – The Grand Total – update for each invoice

This can be simply the sum of your line items but can also be different if you choose to include a discount or if you are subject to taxes (better ask a certified accountant in this case). Do a quick check in Excel and don’t forget to report it in the first part of the invoice.

The last items in the invoice example are I, H and J.

Template of an invoice in word - image showing the payment details

H – Terms and conditions – depends on your needs

In this section, you will be adding any specific terms and conditions you might have. Or you can indicate your payment terms, adding something like “30 days from the date of the invoice”.

I – Payment methods – fill in once

Indicate in this section, what type of payments you accept and enter your bank details.

J – Limited company – fill in once

If you are not a limited company, you can delete the information in the footer and insert your logo instead.

Now that your invoice is ready and signed, let’s send it!


How do I send my invoice?

Most of the times, you will be sending your invoice by email. But before attaching it to your email, you should probably consider converting it to a PDF. 
This will reduce the risk of your invoice being altered.

In case you don’t know how to convert a Word document into a PDF, here is a simple explanation. Feel free to skip it if PDF has no secret for you.

Why should I avoid sending Word documents?

Word and Excel documents are easily alterable. You can change the numbers or some info inadvertently while having the file open and doing something else. Your contact might do the same if he opens the file and is disturbed by a call or a colleague.


How do I convert my file to a pdf?

  • If you have Windows 10, that should be easy. First, go to your Word document and click on File, then Print. At this stage, you will want to scroll in the list of printers available and see if you have the option Microsoft print to Pdf. Select it if available and click print. You will be asked to enter a name for your file and a location to save it.
  • If you do not have Windows 10, there are different options:
    • Go to smallpdf and load your Word document.
    • Upload your Word document to a Google drive, convert it to a Google doc and save it as a pdf (this is likely to alter the format though).
    • If you have a mac, head to File –> Save as. Then in the file format text box, choose pdf. Finally click export.

Now that you have your pdf, you can write a polite email to your contact and include the pdf. Specify in the email that this is the invoice related to the post you have been asked to write and include the link to show that your post is live.
You might also have to send a hard copy of your invoice by mail, if you have been asked to.

Now that your invoice is gone, let’s organise your files.


How should I keep track of my invoices?

To ensure that you have a good bookkeeping, you should keep track of all the invoices you issued.
First, you will need to save them on your drive!  Have a directory for your admin work and store the invoices by month or a frequency that is suitable to you.
To ensure you have a backup, you can either print them (not very eco-friendly) or have your directory backed up on some cloud service (ok ok not eco-friendly either but let’s agree to disagree).

I personally use Google Drive for that and here is a brief how to, if you are interested.

How to back up your files on Google Drive?

You will need to download the Backup and Sync application for Google Drive.
  • First head to this page and depending on your operating system, choose the appropriate version to download.
  • Accept the terms and conditions.
  • Launch the exe file that was downloaded.
  • Start the program. You will be asked to sign in to your Google drive account and choose between creating new directories or using an existing one.
  • I chose the second option and selected my blog repository to be fully backed up on the drive. That means that each time I add a file or update one, the change is mirrored on the drive.
On your local drive, all the backed up files will have a green tick-mark. If you do not have a Google account and do not want to open one, there are several other cloud options available on the net (Amazon has one for the Prime members -which we use for storing our pictures).

You will also need to log your invoices. The easiest way, will be to record them in a Excel file. Don’t make something too complex, you will mainly need, the brand name, the grand total, the description, the date of the invoice and the invoice number.
You will then have to add a column to indicate the status of the invoice (to be issued, awaiting payment, paid).
The final step would be to add a filter to flag all overdue invoices (In case you need help with that, let me know. I do love Excel and will happily help).

You are all set now and can go back to your blog while waiting.


Wait, have you been waiting too long?

In case you haven’t received your payment after the due date (generally 30 days), you will need to chase your contact:

  • You could first send a quick and nice email to your contact: I just wanted to make sure you received my invoice as it was due yesterday.
  • If no answer, you might want to send a more formal email and indicate a new deadline: I am following up on my previous email. I still haven’t received the payment initially due on the xx/xx/2018. Could you please liaise with your purchasing department and make sure the payment is issued before the xx/xx/2018?
  • In the meantime, you can also call your contact.
  •  If it is still not working, you can issue a ‘statement of account’ . It is an invoice with a settlement date within 7 days. It can include late payment interest and penalties. You can also mention that you will remove the post from your blog. This is my third email regarding the late payment. Unfortunately I will have to remove the post from my blog if the payment is still due at the end of the settlement period mentioned in the statement of account attached.
  • The last step would be to seek some legal advice. Check out moneyclaim.gov.uk for some help.

Thank you for still being here! Here is a link to download the word template. It comes in two colors and I’m happy to do some tweaks if you need to. Just drop me an email with what you want and I will look into it.

Download your free invoice template in Word

I hope that your learned a bit more on how to create an invoice.

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10 Comments

  1. I have not reached the stage of needing to create an invoice but I thought this was a super helpful post that I am going to save in case I become thankful. You provided a very clear easy to follow explanation.

  2. These are great tips for what to include when creating an invoice. I used to do my dads when he was a chimney sweep, so I had a good idea of what I needed to include when I first started accepting paid work, but I’d have had no clue if I didn’t have prior experience 🙂

    Louise x

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