Invoice vs. receipt: What is the difference?

Managing the financial records for your business can be straightforward once you understand the distinctions between invoices and receipts. They may look alike, but they're used for different things at different times in a sale. Let's clear things up so you can use them the right way.


Managing the financial records for your business can be straightforward once you understand the distinctions between invoices and receipts. They may look alike, but they’re used for different things at different times in a sale. Let’s clear things up so you can use them the right way.

What is an Invoice?

An invoice is a formal request for payment, typically issued before the payment is made. It details the goods or services provided, the sum owed, and the terms of payment, including how and when the payment should occur. For Australian businesses, issuing an invoice is often the first step in collecting payments owed to them, and it’s a necessary document that helps maintain healthy cash flow.

Conta offers free invoicing software for businesses. Conta is dedicated to providing a seamless part of your business operations. Get started with Conta today and turn invoicing into a process that supports your business’s success without touching your bottom line. Send invoices for free

Send invoices for free

How to create an invoice

An invoice serves as an itemised account of the products or services you have provided, outlining the specifics to ensure clarity and facilitate smooth payment. 

Here’s how to create a seamless invoice:

1. Identify your business

Start with the essentials: your business’s name, contact details, and a visible logo. This not only brands your invoice but also provides easy reference for your customers.

2. Customer details

Record your customer’s full name and contact information. Clear identification is key to avoiding any billing confusion.

3. Dates and numbers

Each invoice should feature a unique invoice number for tracking purposes. Include the issuance date of the invoice and, if applicable, the date the services were provided or the goods delivered.

4. Service or product breakdown

List each provided service or item sold, alongside the corresponding quantity and price. Precision here will prevent disputes and promote understanding of the charges.

5. Payment instructions

Clearly outline the payment expectations. This includes the due date for payment, the total amount due, and a list of the payment methods you accept.

As an optional touch, consider including a personalised message or note of thanks at the bottom of your invoice. This can add a customer service flair and encourage ongoing business relations.

Issuing an invoice is quick and free with Conta. Just sign up on our website without any charge and begin by adding your business’s name, contact details and logo. Input your customer’s information, list the services or products provided with their prices, and specify the payment terms.

Send the finished invoice directly through Conta via email or download it for physical delivery. Keep track of payments through the dashboard, which also sends out reminders for you. Create your free account with Conta now for an easier invoicing experience.

Send invoices for free

What is a receipt?

A receipt, on the other hand, is an acknowledgment that payment has been received. It confirms the completion of a transaction and typically includes the date, amount, method of payment, and a brief description of the service or product. Providing a receipt is considered good practice and often mandatory by consumer law, especially when dealing with consumer transactions.

How to create a receipt

A receipt is your proof of payment, meant to confirm that a transaction has taken place. Here’s a brief rundown on how to write one effectively:

1. Business details

Begin with your business name, contact information, and, if applicable, your logo. This provides a professional touch and allows the customer to identify the source of the receipt.

2. Transaction details

Include a unique receipt number, the date the payment was received, and the name and contact information of the customer.

3. Itemise the Purchase

List all products or services the customer has paid for, each with the price paid and the quantity. This specificity helps validate the receipt and assists with potential returns or exchanges.

4. Total Amount

State the total amount paid, including any applicable taxes or discounts. The grand total should be prominent and easy to find.

5. Payment Method

Indicate the method of payment used, whether it was cash, credit, bank transfer, or another form. This can be crucial for both parties’ financial records.

6. Confirmation

It’s good practice to include a line that confirms the payment was received, and the balance (if any) that remains.

7. Signature

If necessary, sign the receipt to authenticate it, especially if it’s a handwritten one.

Creating a receipt might be straightforward, but ensuring it’s precisely filled out is crucial for maintaining proper financial records and customer trust.

Download our free invoice template.

Invoice vs. receipt: the similarities

Invoice vs. receipt, what are the similarities? Both invoices and receipts are integral components of the accounting process for businesses. They share a connection to the purchase and sale of goods and services and contain similar information, such as the name of the client, a break-down of prices, and the total amount associated with the transaction.

Invoice vs. receipt: the differences

Invoice vs. receipt, what are the differences? Despite their resemblance, invoices and receipts have critical differences. An invoice is issued before payment to request payment, serving as a record that the seller has billed the buyer. A receipt, however, is issued after payment as proof of the transaction. The invoice sets the expectation for payment, whereas a receipt is evidence that the obligation has been fulfilled.

Situational use of invoices and receipts

Invoices are necessary when you need to bill a client or customer, particularly in B2B (business-to-business) transactions where payment is not immediate, and there’s often a payment term that must be adhered to, such as net 30 days. 

Receipts are imperative after a transaction has taken place, demonstrating to the customer that they have paid and to the business that they have received money for the service or product sold. They’re particularly useful for B2C (business-to-consumer) relationships, such as retail sales.

Create invoices for free

Running a business comes with its challenges, and managing invoices can be one of them. That’s where Conta comes in. We’ve taken the complexity out of invoicing by offering a free invoicing software solution.

With Conta, you’ll find simplicity mixed with smart features to take the hassle out of billing and payments. Creating and sending invoices is now as simple as a few clicks, and best of all, it won’t cost you a thing. From small startups to more established enterprises, Conta’s easy-to-use platform is designed to free up your time so you can focus on what you do best – growing your business.

Create your free account

So why wait? Sign up now and experience the ultimate ease in invoicing, courtesy of Conta. Create your free account today!