How to make an invoice: A beginner’s guide (2024)

The best way to create an invoice is by using invoicing software. You can either use a paid tool or a free invoicing app such as Conta. Here you will find everything you need to know about making invoices in 2024.


The best way to create an invoice is by using invoicing software. You can either use a paid tool or a free invoicing app such as Conta. Here you will find everything you need to know about making invoices in 2024.

Regardless of whether you are running a small or large business, invoicing is a vital part of your business operations.

In this guide, we will help you find the right invoicing tool for your business and explain how to make an invoice, step by step.

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Important steps before making an invoice

Pick a method to create your invoice

The two most popular tools to make invoices are invoicing software and spreadsheet templates.

Spreadsheet templates are easy to use and can be downloaded for free online. With an invoice template, you have complete control over the design of your invoices and can tailor them to your needs. A downside, however, is that the invoicing process takes unnecessary time. Fields have to fill out manually and invoices have to be sent as attachments in manually written emails. Another limitation is that invoice numbers are not assigned automatically, which is illegal in some markets.

Invoice software helps you create and send invoices in an efficient manner. Fields (such as date invoicing number, and contact information, are filed out automatically) and it takes less than a minute to craft invoices. Furthermore, invoices are automatically sent to you, as email or eInvoice. Invoice software also helps you streamline the invoicing process through powerful automation functionality, such as automated payment follow-ups and recurring billing. The main downside, however, is that invoicing software charges a monthly fee. Yet, there are some free invoicing systems on the market, such as Conta.

Choose the right software

For small business owners, invoicing can be quite stressful because of the time it takes. 

Therefore it might be smart to consider choosing an easy-to-use software without advanced functionality you are not likely to use.

Here is an approach you can go by when choosing invoicing software:

  1. Create a list of all your needs: What do you need in order to work efficiently? Is it important for you that it is easy to use?
  2. Find software that you would consider choosing: Software can be found in a simple Google search and through friends.
  3. Pick the most affordable alternative: Make an estimate for the invoice volume in your company and pick the right plan for each software. The software which has the lowest price, whilst also meeting your needs, should be chosen.

Remember to try Conta before any other paid alternative. Conta is a free invoicing software for small and medium businesses.

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How to make an invoice, step by step

1. Include the essentials

There are some elements that have to be included invoice in order for it to be valid.

Start by making sure that the following elements are in place:

  • The word “Invoice” on top of the document
  • A unique invoice number
  • Date of invoice
  • Date of delivery

Most invoicing software will automatically assign this information to your invoice, but if you are using a template, you have got to make sure it is in place.

2. Be clear on who the invoice is meant for

Include the company name, email and address of the receiver, to make sure that there is no doubt about who the invoice is meant for. Also include your own contact information, to make sure that your customer knows that the invoice is from you.

3. Optimise for timely payments

There are some things you should include in your invoice to get paid on time.

Research finds that companies using polite language in their invoices, by for example including the words “please” and “thank you”, get five per cent faster payment.

You should also nudge customers to pay on time by creating a sense of urgency, for instance, by adding the following note: “Please make payment within 14 days of issue of the invoice, otherwise 4 % late fees apply”.

Ready to send your first invoice?

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How to make an invoice for free with Conta

Creating an invoice using invoicing software is even more straightforward.

Conta helps you include all the mandatory fields that have to be in an invoice and guides you through the process of sending the invoice.

Here is how to create free invoices in Conta:

  1. Create your free account
  2. Click on “Create invoice”
  3. Fill in the blank fields
  4. Click send

If you want to customise your invoices with your own branding, the logo can easily be uploaded in the Settings section. Here, you can also activate automated payment reminders.

Your invoice is sent – what’s next?

Invoicing is an essential part of running a business. Without sending invoices, it is hard to stay afloat. Before crafting an invoice, pick software that serves your needs without being too complicated. We suggest that you try Conta.

After successfully having sent your first invoice, here are some tips to consider:

  • Remember to check whether your customers are paying on time. When they are not, be quick to send a payment reminder.
  • Consider automating repetitive tasks. If you are sending the same invoices each month, for instance, you can set up recurring invoicing (which creates and sends invoices from period to period automatically).

Free Invoice Template vs. Free Invoicing Software

Email to clients
Track sales and sales tax for accounting
Unlimited invoicing and estimates
Send automatic payment reminders
Recurring invoicing
Track invoice status
Add collaborators

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Make invoice FAQ

Can I just create an invoice?

Both companies and private individuals can issue invoices. The only requirement is that you have sold a product or a service. In fact, many companies require an invoice when making a purchase, despite buying the good or service from a private individual.

Can an invoice just be an email?

In most cases, asking for payments via email without an invoice document is not sufficient because emails are not considered to be proper sales documentation. Therefore, you have got to send an email with an invoice as an attachment.

What should you not put on an invoice?

An invoice should contain the following:
• Invoice number
• Date of sale
• Seller’s name and organization number
• Buyer’s name and address or organization number
• A clear description of the product or service
• Time and place of delivery of the goods or service
• Price including VAT specified in [Currency]
• Total price
• Payment due date

If you are exempt from VAT, should reference the applicable directive or any other reference indicating that the supply is exempt or subject to reverse charge.

Are you looking for an easy and affordable way to create, send and manage invoices? Sign up for Conta’s free invoicing software.