Invoices are one of the most important document types in any business. Acting as a formal receipt for any service or goods purchases, an invoice allows for safe, fair, and professional transactions between a business and its client base.
However, small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) rely even more heavily on invoices to protect their financial interests and ensure proper compensation. Unlike larger businesses, SMEs don’t often have the legal or financial buffers that can prevent exploitation from clients.
But the admin side of invoices can become tedious without a proper billing system. Invoice templates allow for a more efficient and sustainable approach to managing business transactions. This leaves you free to focus on other important areas, like business growth!
Why Your Business Needs To Use Invoice Templates
In the past, businesses have relied on analogue methods to produce invoices for their clients. But today, most businesses have adopted the electronic approach to creating these important documents. Digital invoices are faster, easier, and more sustainable than their paper predecessors.
But there’s another advantage to using digital invoices: the ability to reproduce them effortlessly.
With an invoice template, you no longer have to start from scratch every time a client purchases goods or services from your business. Instead, you can simply fill in the blanks and hit send.
An invoice template provides you with the perfect outline for a perfect invoice—free of errors or time-consumptive preparation. And even better, you can find a template for just about every kind of invoice under the sun.
Here are five of the most popular invoice template types for small businesses:
Standard invoice template
Without a doubt, the standard invoice is the most popular and essential type of invoice. Used for billing everything from product purchases to service payments, this straightforward template features everything you need for a professional, reliable invoice.
A standard invoice template typically includes all the basics—the invoice number, current date, sender’s details, client’s details, list of obtained goods or services, total amounts owed, and the sender’s relevant bank information. The standard invoice template is an SME must-have.
Timesheet invoice template
If your business works out payments based on an hourly rate, a timesheet invoice template is essential. Instead of simply factoring in the total amount owed, this type of invoice template features a format that calculates rates based on how much time gets invested in a project.
This makes it easier for clients to understand how the total amount owed is determined, and exactly how much time was required for the outcome of their product or services.
A timesheet invoice template should include special information such as tasks worked on, hourly charges, start and end date of the project, overall hours worked, and administrative fees.
Pro forma invoice template
You can think of a pro forma invoice as the pre-invoice rather than the invoice itself. This document is usually sent out before handing over the agreed-upon goods or services so that the client can gain a better idea of what the final invoice will look like.
Essentially, a pro forma invoice template allows you to produce a formal estimate of what a client owes your business. It typically includes all the basic information of a standard invoice, with the minor alteration of it being flexible as the project evolves.
Interim invoice template
An interim invoice breaks down one large payment into multiple smaller payments. This type of invoice template is great for small businesses that work on longer-term projects, such as construction, website development, or marketing campaigns.
Interim invoice templates are very important for these types of SMEs because it keeps the cash flow going rather than a long labor process with payment at the end. Typically, this template includes the basic tenets of an invoice, plus additional information pertaining to future deliverables.
Past due invoice template
The average small to medium business gets paid between 4 and 7 days later than the stipulated invoice date. To make matters worse, chasing after unpaid invoices is an expensive and exhausting process, especially when you are a small business with minimal access to resources.
It is in situations like these that a past due invoice template comes in handy. These templates are essentially warning invoices that get delivered to clients who owe an outstanding sum.
It serves as a stern reminder that they still owe you X amount of money, and incentivizes them to pay you with late-payment interest rates. A past due invoice template should include all the standard invoice information, plus additional late fees or accumulated interest.
The Benefits Of Using Invoice Templates
Invoice templates come in every shape, size, and type, and their advantages are not limited to just one thing. In fact, there are several notable benefits of these templates, including:
- Sustainability – Digital invoice templates are far more eco-friendly than paper invoices, making them the more sustainable option.
- Decreased errors – Templates already contain all the formatting and structure you need to produce an accurate invoice, thus decreasing the potential for human error.
- Professional appearance – Invoice templates are professionally designed, so even if your business lacks a knack for aesthetics, you can still impress clients with clear, well-designed documentation.
- Easy automation – Automation is everywhere and it’s designed to make life easier. Many of the sites that provide invoice templates also provide the option to add automatic notifications and other powerful optimization perks.
When you look at the facts, it’s easy to see why invoice templates have become such a popular alternative to making invoices from scratch. These widely accessible, reusable document types have changed the SME billing game forever—from header to footer.
When it comes down to it, invoice templates simply are a more efficient way to manage billing systems. Without these templates, creating, filling, and sending out invoices takes up critical production time, and makes the invoices themselves more prone to errors.
Due to the importance of accurate, professional accounting systems, there are a wide variety of invoice templates available for SME businesses to choose from online. Whether you’re looking for a free invoice template PDF or an Excel-based sheet, you won’t struggle to find what you need. This makes it easier than ever to optimize invoice workflow and nurture your business!