How to send an invoice: Methods and free templates (2024)

The method you choose for sending invoices can greatly influence the speed of payment and the overall cash flow of your company. This guide will walk you through the fundamentals.


The method you choose for sending invoices can greatly influence the speed of payment and the overall cash flow of your company. This guide will walk you through the fundamentals.

Sending invoices is a crucial aspect of running a business, ensuring that you get compensated for the products or services you provide.

However, the invoicing process can sometimes be daunting, leading to payment delays.

In this guide, we’ll guide you through the invoicing process, offering valuable insights on the most effective methods and recommending optimal tools tailored for small and medium-sized businesses.

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a document generated by a seller to request payment from a buyer for goods or services provided.

Invoices serve as a detailed record of the transaction, outlining the products or services, their quantities, and the agreed-upon prices. They also act as legally binding requests for payments, specifying the amount due and the payment terms.

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INVOICE: Here is an example invoice generated in Conta’s free invoicing software for Indian businesses.

What to include in the invoice

In india, invoices are valid when containing the following information:

  • Invoice number: A unique identifier for each invoice to keep records organized and make tracking easier.

  • Date of issue: The date on which the invoice is generated and issued.

  • Seller’s details: This includes the legal name of the business or individual selling the goods or services, their GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number) if applicable, address, and contact information.

  • Buyer’s details: Similar to the seller’s details, this includes the buyer’s legal name, GSTIN (if applicable, necessary for claiming input tax credit), address, and contact information.

  • Description of goods/services: A clear and detailed description of the products or services sold, including quantities for products and hours or another quantifier for services.

  • HSN/SAC codes: Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) code for goods and Services Accounting Code (SAC) for services, as per the GST law in India, to classify goods and services.

  • Taxable value and discounts: The value of goods or services before taxes, including any discounts or deductions.

  • Rate and amount of GST: The applicable GST rates (CGST, SGST/UTGST, and IGST) depending on the nature of sale (intrastate or interstate) and the total GST amount charged.

  • Place of supply: Especially important for services or inter-state sales to determine the applicable GST structure (CGST + SGST/UTGST or IGST).

  • Payment terms: Information on the payment due date, late payment fees, and payment methods acceptable.

  • Total invoice amount: The final amount payable, including the value of goods or services, GST, and any other applicable charges like shipping.

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    When to send an invoice

    Typically, an invoice is generated upon the completion of a customer’s order by the vendor or supplier. There are, however, instances where it is acceptable to send an invoice before delivering the service, such as:

    • If your job involves buying materials, asking for upfront payment ensures you have the necessary funds to acquire them.
    • If a client has a track record of delayed payments, invoicing in advance eliminates the risk of nonpayment, allowing you to proceed with confidence.

    How to create invoices

    Invoices can be created in several ways. Among the most popular methods are invoice templates and invoicing software.

    Invoice templates

    Invoice templates are pre-designed layouts, available in formats like Word, Excel, and PDF, facilitating quick and easy creation, editing, and customisation of invoices.

    Invoice templates typically include fillable fields and help businesses save time, present a professional image, and manage billing efficiently.

    Get started with one of our free invoicing templates.

    Benefits of invoice templates:

    • An easy way to get started with invoices.
    • Invoice templates can be tailored and customised to align with your brand.
    • They are generally free of charge.

    Limitations of invoice templates:

    • All required fields have to be filled out manually.
    • Managing payment reminders and credit notes becomes a tedious process.

    Invoicing software

    Invoicing software is a tool that helps businesses create and manage invoices for the products and services they provide. It automates the billing process, generates professional-looking invoices, and can streamline payment tracking and reporting.

    Benefits of invoicing software:

    • Streamlined automation for tasks like invoice generation and payment tracking.
    • Real-time monitoring of payment statuses.
    • Efficient record-keeping and easy access to financial data.

    Limitations of invoicing software:

    • Potential cost implications, especially for smaller businesses.
    • Learning curve during the implementation of new software.

    NEWS! We have launched Conta in India. Conta is a free invoicing software for small and medium businesses. Sign up for free

    How to send invoices

    Whether you’re generating invoices through software or templates, choosing the right method for sending them is a crucial decision. Here are three options to consider:

    In the mail

    While sending invoices via traditional mail may seem outdated, some businesses still prefer this method.

    However, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks, such as slow delivery, lack of confirmation, and the possibility of address changes.

    If you choose this method, make sure to communicate clearly, allowing ample time for postal services to deliver the invoice.

    By email

    Email has evolved into the preferred method for sending invoices due to its speed, efficiency, and eco-friendly attributes.

    When sending an invoice via email, it’s normal to include a brief thank-you message in the body, expressing gratitude for the transaction. Attach the invoice in PDF format for easy viewing and download.

    Via an invoicing software

    Several invoicing software options offer the flexibility to send invoices directly from the platform in various formats. This may include digital dispatch or providing customers with a secure link to access and pay the invoice online. This method ensures a seamless and secure transaction process.

    Conta Invoicing Software
    FREE INVOICING SOFTWARE: Conta is a cloud-based invoicing software free for small and medium-sized businesses. With Conta, you can create invoices on any device, including tablets and smart phones.

    What is the best way to send invoices?

    In today’s digital age, email and invoicing software are preferred due to cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits.

    A 2019 study found a growing customer preference for electronic invoices, expected to increase by over 16% annually until 2027.

    Why the shift? Recent studies find that electronic invoicing can save up to 60 per cent of your costs, whilst decreasing your carbon footprint by nearly 67 per cent.
    Therefore, we recommend utilising dedicated invoicing software, and one notable option is Conta’s free invoicing software. Conta offers an intuitive interface and smart features like one-click crediting and automated payment follow-ups. It’s completely free, making it a cost-effective choice for entrepreneurs.

    How to send invoice emails

    Sending invoices via email expedites the billing process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send an invoice via email:

    1. Write a clear subject line

    Ensure the subject line clearly conveys the purpose of the email, including the invoice number and payment due date. This helps in immediate recognition and prevents the email from being overlooked.

    2. Attach the invoice

    Include the complete invoice as an attachment to the email. The attachment should be in a widely compatible format, such as PDF, ensuring the recipient can easily save, print, or upload it without alterations.

    3. Provide invoice and payment details in the email body

    In the body of the email, provide a brief and friendly message. Include essential details like your business name, a greeting, and a concise note about the attached invoice. Maintain a professional tone throughout the communication.

    INVOICE EMAIL: An invoice email is an email that a business or freelancer sends to a customer or client who owes money for a product or service. A well-written invoice email is important for establishing a good relationship with the client and getting paid on time.

    3 invoice email templates

    Standard invoice email

    Subject: Invoice [Invoice Number] for [Product/Service] Due [Due Date]

    Hi [Recipient’s Name],

    I hope this message finds you well. Please find attached Invoice [Invoice Number] for the recent [Product/Service]. The payment is due on [Due Date]. Your prompt attention to this matter is highly appreciated.

    If you have any questions or require further clarification, feel free to reach out.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Best regards,

    [Your Name]

    On the day payment is due

    Subject: Payment Due Today – Invoice [Invoice Number]

    Hi [Recipient’s Name],

    I hope this email finds you in good spirits. Today is the due date for Invoice [Invoice Number]. Kindly ensure the payment is processed as outlined in the attached invoice.

    Should you have already processed the payment, we sincerely appreciate your promptness. If there are any concerns or if you require assistance, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Best regards,

    [Your Name]

    One week after the late payment was due

    Subject: Gentle Reminder – Invoice [Invoice Number]

    Hi [Recipient’s Name],

    I hope this message finds you. We noticed that Invoice [Invoice Number], which was due on [Due Date], remains unpaid. We understand that circumstances may arise, and we are here to assist.

    Please review the attached invoice, and if there are any issues or questions, let us know. We appreciate your prompt attention to settling this matter within the coming week.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Best regards,

    [Your Name]

    Final notice before sending to collections

    Subject: Urgent – Final Notice for Invoice [Invoice Number]

    Hi [Recipient’s Name],

    I hope this message reaches you. Despite previous reminders, Invoice [Invoice Number] remains unpaid. As a final notice, we urge you to settle this outstanding payment immediately.

    Failure to address this matter within the next [specified duration] will regrettably leave us with no option but to escalate this to our collections department.

    Your immediate attention to this matter is crucial.

    Best regards,

    [Your Name]

    Invoicing mistakes to avoid

    • Neglecting to specify a clear due date for payment may lead to confusion and late payments.
    • Omitting itemization in invoices could result in opacity, increasing the likelihood of breakdown requests.
    • Delaying the sending of invoices may hinder payment expediency and reflect negatively on professionalism.
    • Failing to double-check recipient details might result in sending invoices to the wrong person.
    • Neglecting to implement a system for timely follow-ups on overdue payments could lead to prolonged delays.
    • Ambiguously communicating payment terms and conditions on invoices may lead to misunderstandings.
    • Overlooking consequences for late payments, such as additional fees or interest charges, may impact financial accountability.
    • Failing to verify invoice accuracy before sending may result in disputes and discrepancies.

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