If you work for yourself then one of the most important things you’ll need to is send out invoices to your customers and clients.
Invoices are a legal document between you and your client/customer, so it’s important you have all the right information on them to create a binding agreement that gets you paid.
Here is a self-employed invoice template for you to download and use – it’ll also work if you’re a freelancer or sole trader. I’ve also included guidance to help get you started using your invoice and customising it.
This guide is for business owners who are self-employed. If you have a Limited Company then you’ll need a different invoice template which you can find in this guide.
Download Your Self-Employed Invoice Template
Choose the right one for you, depending on whether you are VAT registered or not and it will open in google sheets for you to take a copy:
You should only charge for VAT and show VAT if you are VAT registered.
Getting Started Using the Invoice Templates
Now you have your template, you’ll need to customise it so it’s right for your brand and business.
Step 1: Add Your Details
Begin customising the self-employed invoice template by adding your:
- Business Name
- Email Address
- VAT number (only if you are registered)
At the bottom of the template be sure to add your bank details, so your customers knows where they need to pay you.
Step 2: Add Your Payment Terms
This is important.
Payment terms mean the length of time you give your customers to pay you. In effect, you are giving them credit, especially if you deliver your product/service up front and then wait to get paid.
Typical payment terms are:
- Upon receipt of invoice
- 7 days
- 14 days
- 30 days
What these payment terms mean are that you are agreeing to give your customer an extra number of days to pay you after the invoice date.
Choose the one that is right for you, although in reality there may be some industry standards you just need to adhere to and will govern which one you select.
Also be aware, that some companies, especially the larger ones may not be able to accommodate short payment terms despite your requests for administration reasons or some may even dictate how many days credit they get from their suppliers.
Step 3: Change the Branding
I’ve set the template up with my brand colours, so you’ll want to change them to match your own branding.
In fact, depending on how confident you are with google sheets you can add almost any parts of your branding you like.
Highlight the cells you wish to change and click on the ‘fill’ button on the bar to select your colour.
Step 4: Add Your Customers Details
You’ll need to make your invoice out to your customer, so they know its for them.
You can overwrite the Customer Name and address lines on the template.
If you are using my bookkeeping spreadsheet the ‘customer name’ cell is linked to an address book and automatically populates name and address for you. I designed it to save you the hassle of typing in their address each time.
Step 5: Enter the Invoice Date
Usually this is the date that you are raising the invoice.
If you are using the VAT registered version of the template, then you’ll need to enter the tax point or the invoice date, whichever is applicable to your transaction.
Step 6: Enter Your Invoice Number
You need to include some kind of reference or number on your sales invoices.
It is a legal requirement because if HMRC ever investigates your business they will want to review your invoices in numerical order.
This is an easy check to confirm that you have included all your invoices in your accounting records.
You don’t necessarily need to start at number one, in fact, many people choose not to because it hides how new their business is. But wherever you start, run a consistent system.
Step 7: Enter Invoice Values
You’re ready to start entering details of the money you are owed! Give your client as much information as possible to avoid questions and delays in you getting paid.
The template will automatically calculate the individual amounts and totals.
If you are using the VAT version, you’ll need to select the appropriate VAT rate from the drop-down list (it is a legal requirement to show the VAT rate you are using on your invoices).
Step 8: Save a Copy
You must keep a copy of all the invoices you send out as part of your bookkeeping and tax records.
If you are using my bookkeeping spreadsheet, add details to the invoice tracker so you can keep an eye on who owes you money as well as keeping a log of your invoices in case the tax-man ever asks.
Step 9: Send it to your client
Final step is to send it! The sooner you get it out the sooner you’ll get paid!
Credit Note Template
In the event that you need to refund your client or customer, you may need to raise what is known as a credit note.
A credit note is basically the opposite of an invoice and you can download a template here which matches the version of the invoice.
This self-employed invoice template is the first part in getting you paid. Make sure you keep an eye on who owes you money so you can chase them as close to your payment deadline as possible.
According to The Federation of Small Businesses over £6,000 on average is left unpaid to small businesses by clients each year. So it is crucial you do not get overlooked, either accidentally or on purpose.
New Here? These are my most popular resources:
- The Ultimate Bookkeeping Spreadsheet – Organise your money, track the numbers that matter and stay on top of your cash;
- FREE Guide: 11 Common Small Business Setup and Tax Mistakes – Are you worried your business isn’t set up correctly? Use this guide to identify whether you’re making the 11 most common financial pitfalls I’ve seen when it comes to setting up a business and taxes, as well as finding out how you can put them right;
- Sole Trader or Limited Company? – Download my free calculator to check which business structure would help you to pay less tax;
- FREE Business Expenses Cheatsheet – Check what you can and can’t claim as an expense against your taxes.
- 6 Core Elements of Self-Employment Taxes – Confused by taxes? Worried you’re missing something when it comes to tax allowances and reliefs? These easy to follow 6 mini-guides will have you on top of the tax side of things in no time at all.