Growing a small business is a tough adjustment if you are unfamiliar with invoices and invoice types. Most people in salaried positions know precisely when they will be paid. Small business owners, freelancers, and solopreneurs are different. You only get paid if you consistently send invoices and get them paid promptly.
To maximize your income and make sure you are well compensated, it is crucial to understand the various invoices available. So we have put together the 10 most popular types of invoices, when to use them, who can use them, and the advantages to each type of invoices in this blog post. Once you understand these ten invoices, you can choose the proper invoice for your project to maximize your income and reduce your risk. Let’s dive in.
Here are the ten types of invoices:
- Standard Invoice
- Credit Invoice
- Debit Invoice
- Mixed Invoice
- Proforma Invoice
- Interim Invoice
- Final Invoice
- Collective Invoice
- Recurring Invoice
- Timesheet Invoice
1. Standard Invoice
1.1. What It Is
A standard invoice is an essential tool that every small business owner uses. The invoice will describe the product or service, price, tax, and payment terms.
1.2. When To Use It
A standard invoice is a good choice when you have a clear and straightforward scope of work.
1.3. Who Should Use It
A standard invoice is probably the most popular invoice type available. The majority of businesses, large and small, use this type of business to cover simple transactions.
1.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
The advantages of a standard invoice include simplicity, familiarity, and ease of preparation. Most of your clients have probably seen and paid standard invoices. Therefore, it will be easy to get this kind of invoice paid quickly in most cases.
You can send a standard invoice using CheckYa in less than a minute. As you add more clients, CheckYa lets you send unlimited invoices to unlimited clients. In addition, you can receive international payments, receive funds directly into your bank account and send invoice payment reminders.
You’re a freelance graphic designer, and you’ve just completed a logo design project for a client. You send them a standard invoice for your services.
Here’s an example of a standard invoice that you can send via CheckYa:
2. Credit Invoice
2.1. What It Is
A credit invoice is commonly used in ongoing business relationships. For example, an accountant might bill a client $10,000 for tax services based on certain assumptions. At the end of the project, the accountant may find that the project was much less complex than expected. In that case, issuing a credit invoice for $1000 could be done. This credit can then be applied to reduce the future fees paid by that client.
2.2. When To Use It
A credit invoice is helpful in a few situations. You can use it to report a refund for a customer who has returned a product. You can also use it to provide a credit amount to a client in a billing error.
2.3. Who Should Use It
Any business owner who deals with refund requests should be familiar with sending a credit invoice.
2.4. Advantages Of This Invoice
Sending a credit invoice is beneficial for a few reasons. First, this type of invoice helps you easily keep track of refunds so you can manage your business accounting effectively. Second, credit invoices also help your customers verify the amount and nature of the credit on their account and the issued refunds. It is unwise to issue a refund payment to a customer without documenting that payment with a credit invoice or a similar document.
A customer purchased a laptop from your electronics store but returned it because it was defective. You issue a credit invoice to refund their payment.
3. Debit Invoice
3.1. What It Is
A debit invoice is the exact opposite of a credit invoice. A debit invoice increases the amount that a customer must pay.
3.2. When To Use It
A debit invoice may be used to correct an invoice. For example, you might have accidentally sent an invoice for $100 when the amount owing was $1000. In that case, you might send a debit invoice for $900.
3.3. Who Should Use It
A debit invoice is helpful in most businesses because you or your staff may occasionally make mistakes on invoices.
3.4. Advantages To This Invoice Type
A debit invoice is helpful in a few business situations. You can use a debit invoice to correct billing errors. Also, a debit invoice is helpful in circumstances a customer has requested additional services or products. For example, a client might ask for additional customization to be performed on a graphic design. In that case, a debit invoice could be used to cover the additional fees. When sending a debit invoice, make sure you include a clear explanation for the additional charges.
A customer hired your plumbing company to fix a leak, but they were quoted incorrectly. You send a debit invoice for the remaining amount.
4. Mixed Invoice
4.1. What It Is
A mixed invoice is a relatively complex invoice type that combines debit and credit line items all in a single invoice.
4.2. When To Use It
A mixed invoice is suitable for more complex business relationships or when you are aimed to minimize the number of invoices sent to a client.
4.3. Who Should Use It
A mixed invoice is helpful to use in situations when you want to send a single consolidated invoice to a customer rather than multiple invoices.
4.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
A mixed invoice can help you simplify accounting for a customer. You can send a single invoice with line 1 showing your standard charge, line item 2 with a debit (e.g., “two hours of additional consulting”), and item 3 (e.g., credit for paying the last invoice ahead of schedule). When sending a mixed invoice, take the time to verify each line item is accurate before sending it.
You’re an event planner who organized a corporate conference. Your invoice includes charges for both venue rental (a product) and event coordination (a service).
5. Proforma Invoice
5.1. What It Is
A proforma invoice is best seen as an estimate of the expected charges a customer will have to pay.
5.2. When To Use It
Send a proforma invoice if a customer requests a specific invoice for a project. For example, a contractor might send a proforma invoice before starting a project. If the project ends up becoming more complex, additional invoices may be needed.
5.3. Who Should Use It
A proforma invoice is somewhat less common than some of the other invoice types covered above. This type of invoice is helpful if your business does not use proposals or quotes to communicate pricing to customers.
5.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
A proforma invoice is helpful for communicating pricing information to a client. Clients can better understand what the final invoice will look like when you clarify the specific elements of your price and deliverables upfront.
A customer inquires about purchasing a custom-made piece of furniture from your shop. You provide a proforma invoice with the estimated cost before starting the project.
6. Interim Invoice
6.1. What It Is
An interim invoice is used in larger projects to spread payments as progress is made.
6.2. When To Use It
Using an interim invoice is wise on longer projects. For example, a consultant might use monthly interim invoices throughout a three-month project. In this scenario, an invoice could be sent when each stage of the project is finished.
6.3. Who Should Use It
An interim invoice should be used on projects longer than 30 days. Before using an interim invoice, make sure it aligns with your contract. A customer should understand when and how interim invoices will be issued.
6.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
Using an interim invoice is valuable because it helps a small business to earn revenue while delivering a large project. This type of invoice also benefits the client because this invoice spreads payments over an extended period. An interim invoice should be either time-based (e.g., send an interim invoice every 30 days throughout a 90-day project) or milestone-based (e.g., send an interim invoice when a significant project phase has been completed).
You’re a construction company working on a major building project. You send interim invoices to the client at various project milestones.
7. Final Invoice
7.1. What It Is
A final invoice is sent when a major project is completed. This type of invoice can also be used when a customer or a small business has decided to end a relationship.
7.2. When To Use It
Using the phrase “final invoice” in your communication implies the end of a working relationship. Therefore, this type of invoice should be sent when you intend to end a business relationship.
7.3. Who Should Use It
A small business can send a final invoice to confirm the end of a customer relationship.
7.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
The main advantage of a this type of invoice is that you have an opportunity to bring a customer relationship to a conclusion. A final invoice is your opportunity to reconcile any outstanding credits, debits, and other adjustments a customer has with your company.
After months of development, your software development team has finished a custom software project. You send the final invoice, including all agreed-upon charges.
8. Collective Invoice
8.1. What It Is
A collective invoice sometimes consolidates multiple bills and customer accounts into a single hefty invoice.
8.2. When To Use This Invoice Type
A collective invoice may be relevant to large companies. It is a relatively uncommon type of invoice type. Use a collective invoice only if a customer requests it.
8.3. Who Should Use It
A small business should use a collective invoice if it makes sense to save time. For example, a small business might work with several departments of a Fortune 500 corporation. In that case, sending a single collective invoice to the corporation’s accounts payable department might be advantageous instead of multiple invoices.
8.4. Advantages Of This Invoice Type
This invoice type can help to reduce the administrative effort involved in managing invoices. Instead of chasing multiple invoices for payment with a customer, you can focus your follow-up efforts on a single customer.
A customer has made several small purchases from your online store over the past month. You send a collective invoice that lists all their orders and their total due.
9. Recurring Invoice
9.1. What It Is
A recurring invoice involves a set fee to a customer on a set schedule, such as a monthly charge.
9.2. When To Use This Invoice Type
A recurring invoice is relevant if you sell products or services on a subscription basis.
9.3. Who Should Use It
Several kinds of businesses can use a recurring invoice. For example, a technology might use a recurring invoice to bill for access to their software as a service (SaaS) product. In addition, a solopreneur could use a recurring invoice to bill a client for recurring coaching or consulting relationships.
9.4. Advantages Of This Invoice
This type of invoice is beneficial for situations where you are billing the same amount over and over again. In this case, manually creating the same invoice does not make sense. You can create recurring invoices and send them to clients through CheckYa.
You offer a monthly digital marketing service to a client. You send them a recurring invoice at the beginning of each month for your services.
10. Timesheet Invoice
10.1. What It Is
A timesheet invoice provides a bill to clients based on hourly rates and hours worked. It is commonly used by service-based businesses such as law firms, accounting firms, and consultants.
10.2. When To Use This Invoice Type
A timesheet invoice should be used if your contract requires it or is generally expected in your industry. For instance, the legal profession has a long tradition of charging fees using a billable hour model.
10.3. Who Should Use It
A timesheet invoice should be used if you have agreed to use an hourly rate or another time-based billing method (e.g. a weekly rate) with the client.
10.4. Advantages Of This Invoice
The advantage of this type of invoice (timesheet invoice) is that the small business owner can bill for every hour worked on the project. However, an unexpectedly large timesheet invoice may cause a negative impression on clients. It is wise to provide detailed descriptions on timesheet invoices so that your clients know exactly what they are being billed for.
You’re a freelance web developer who worked on a client’s website for 20 hours this month. You send an invoice based on your timesheet, specifying the hourly rate.