Now that commerce has moved into the digital space, tech solutions such as e-invoicing are growing as the primary ways to conduct business online. The global e-invoicing market is set to grow to $24.72 billion by 2027, according to Facts and Factors. In 2018, it was only valued at $4.6 billion. Mastering the art of e-invoicing is now one of the most important elements to starting an online business, as well as keeping it afloat. For that, Google Docs is one of the most powerful tools, thanks to its accessibility and flexibility. To get started making effective invoice templates today, just remember these simple tips.
Get the Essential Invoice Elements Down
There are some things that should be in your invoice no matter what. These include your brand logo, your contact details, the date, and the invoice number. There is also information that clients will always expect to find there, such as their contact information name, and a detailed breakdown of the services you provided, costs incurred, and payment due date. Your clients will also want to know your payment policies and accepted payment methods.
Balance a Unique Invoicing Style With Clarity
Proper formatting and naming conventions are both essential for your invoice to appear professional. What’s more, the style and format of your invoice can also be vital to maintaining a good brand image. Make sure that your visual design gives off the kind of feel you want clients to associate your company with. For example, a construction company would benefit from earthy tones and textured design elements. Meanwhile, an air-conditioning company would want to use cool tones. The bottom line is you want to avoid sending bland and boring invoices. Ideally, they would make an impression on the people reading them. You’d want them to instantly recognize your brand and gain the information they need in a way that’s quick and not unpleasant. If you really want to invest in the quality of your invoice, it may be advisable to hire a designer.
On the other side of the coin is an obligation to clarity. If you let your design choices get in the way of your clients getting the information they need from your invoice, you could have an unpleasant situation on your hands. For example, your clients would be none too pleased if there happens to be a service charge or fee that they miss because of confusing invoice layout. That will not be a good look for your company. Always highlight the bottom line, payment channels, due dates, and other need-to-know info. Your entire design will have to revolve around these elements.
Consider Google Docs Templates
Google Docs templates can do much of the heavy lifting for you if you’re alright with using a predefined design motif. The Google Docs homepage has its own template gallery at the top of the page. This can be expanded by clicking the dropdown button marked “Template Gallery.” Then you’d want to scroll down to the section named “Sales” and select a relevant template. But what you can see in the selection isn’t the only kind of invoice template Google Docs can provide you. Y
ou can also download pre-built templates that designers have made online. Once you’ve loaded the template, you can change some basic design elements, such as font and image color.
If you’re satisfied, you can rename and use the document as you normally would. The reason it’s important to get familiar with this system now is because Google has many planned features for Google Docs, such as AI-generated summaries. In the future, these could become the industry standard.
Designing With Eye-Catching Elements
Certain types of businesses benefit the most from a loud and attention-grabbing invoice. In general, these are the businesses that seek to give off a warm and friendly vibe. So that means large letters, colors that pop, and patterns that catch the eye. This is often best paired with conversational language and accessible design motifs to maximize connectivity with the reader.
But even businesses that do not belong to this group can still stand to add some dynamism and energy to their invoice design. Too often, featureless invoices get lost in the pile of bills and other generic white-paper mail that people receive. Implementing a design that’s simultaneously striking and fitting with your company’s brand image is the perfect way to avoid that. That being said, lively designs are definitely not for everyone.
When to Use a Direct and Minimalistic Approach
On the opposite end from eye-catching invoices are minimalist ones. These are often the design philosophy of choice of companies who prioritize professionalism and prompt service. These invoices are centered around the bottom line and other all-important pieces of info, with often only a single solid color serving as the page highlight. Also, if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to invest too much in things like invoice design, a minimalistic yet distinctive style is your best bet.
Minimalistic designs need to be efficient with their limited elements to deliver information properly. For example, color-coding information would be the best way to highlight certain types of information. Red would be critical info, blue and green would indicate that something is favorable to the client, and so on. This simple and no-nonsense style conveys to a client that you are about serious business, and your focus is on quality of service and not on trivial things.
Playful and Specific Invoice Design Motifs
Sometimes, creative invoice designs are the best way to infuse your brand image with a lot of personality. For example, if you’re a tailor who specializes in clothing inspired by early 20th century fashion, an invoice that makes use of a modernist style would be great for reinforcing your connection with that aesthetic.
Some businesses take it a step further, delivering their invoices folded into origami art instead of an envelope, and other such outside-the-box formats. With an e-invoice, this can take the form of animated or interactive elements.
There are those that may view this as gimmicky, however, so use them in moderation. However if you’re an art-focused or otherwise unconventional business, you could probably afford to unleash your creativity a bit more. When you’re selling an aesthetic feeling that is unique for your brand, it helps to make use of every avenue to cement that vibe in your clients’ minds.
Whether you’re making a digital invoice or a physical one, these guidelines should help you create it in such a way that it leaves a good impression on your clients. As with every other part of your business, your invoice carries your brand name with it, so craft it with care.