How to Invoice as a Consultant [Templates Included]
January 09, 2023
Working as a consultant is an ideal career if you are someone who possesses years of expertise in a particular field. But, on the other hand, things can become tricky once you start preparing a consultant invoice that accurately reflects your billable hours to your clients.
As a consultant, people flock to you because they can depend on your extensive knowledge and background. Therefore, you need to ensure your invoice is consistent with your proposed rates.
If you’re new to the trade and looking for a guide to creating an invoice for your services, you’ve come to the right place!
Read on to learn about consultant invoices and how to create them in a snap with an online generator!
What is a Consultant Invoice?
A consultant invoice is a document that enumerates all the services and the corresponding rates provided by a consultant or a consultancy firm. It is a breakdown of the billable hours and quantity of service rendered that the client has to pay.
Providing consulting invoices likewise aids in ensuring payments are fulfilled promptly.
A tried-and-tested invoice template usually does the trick. However, the use of an invoice template is great for freelancers or startup consultancies since it already has the essential details outlined for them.
But if you’ve been in the business for a while, there’s no harm in using one too! After all, you could find pointers that prove useful in enhancing your existing invoicing processes.
With an invoice template, all you need to do is fill in the boxes with the necessary information, and your invoice is ready to send before you know it.
What Should be Included in a Consultant Invoice
Moving on, the following is the must-have information to include in your invoice:
#1. Consultant and Client Information
First, your invoice must bear your name or the name of your business. It should also contain your contact information, such as your phone number, email address, and business address.
Similarly, the same information about your client must be reflected since they are the invoice recipient. You need to specify their name, address, phone number, and email.
Providing your basic information shows your authenticity as a business or service provider. Also, your client will know how to reach you if they have anything to clarify with the invoice.
Pro-tip: If your agency has a logo, make sure to include it at the top of your invoice. It will help your customers recognize that you sent the invoice.
#2. Consultant Invoice Number and the Date
Otherwise called a reference number, your consultant invoice number helps you organize all your invoices and prevent duplicate payments. It is also a key to enabling faster and more efficient sales tracking.
There are different ways to generate invoice numbers, namely:
- Chronological invoice numbering. Follows this format: YYYY-MM-DD—INVOICE SEQUENCE NUMBER. If the invoice was created on the 1st of December 2022, then it should look like this: 20221201-001
- Sequential invoice numbering. Follows a numerical order, starting with the number 1. You should include your client’s name in the invoice number to avoid confusion with other clients. For example JANEDOE_001.
- Customer invoice numbering. Starts with a number assigned to that particular client. It is then followed by the date and the invoice sequence number. In some instances, you may or may not include the date (especially if it creates a lengthier invoice number in the process). If you add the date, your invoice number should look something like this: 2065-20221201-001.
#3. Description of Your Services
The description of your services exactly indicates what your client owes you money for. This section itemizes all of the services that your client hired you to do.
- Use this list as your guide:
- Concise details of each service
- Total number of hours worked for each service
- Rates per hour or costs per service (it may also depend on your agreement with your client)
- Subtotal of the costs for all hours or services rendered
#4. Payment Details
The payment details refer to your accepted payment channels. It is best to discuss your payment terms with your client before creating and sending the invoice.
Some of the most common and preferred payment channels include:
- Credit cards
- Online payment (PayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe)
- Bank transfer
- Mobile payment
Enumerate your payment details based on your chosen payment channel.
#5. Additional Notes
Including additional notes at the end of your invoice is not mandatory. However, it is typically needed whenever certain adjustments have to be made to the previous or current payment.
For instance, you recently increased your rates mid-month, or your client decided to change their payment schedule from bi-monthly to monthly. If these changes take place within an ongoing invoicing period, the chances are you will have to include that information on a note to inform your accounting staff or your client.
How to Make a Consultant Invoice
Understandably, not everyone has the time of day to create an invoice for their services. You may be catering to several clients or you may be focused on improving your services.
What’s the hassle-free way to make your consultant invoice?
The answer is to take advantage of the free invoice template generator! Free invoice generators offer ready-to-use templates for your business. No Excel computations or formulas are needed. You can forget about formatting tables on Word, too.
All you have to do is enter the details you need in your invoice, click “create,” and you’re good to go! Create as many invoices as you need while saving time and resources.
Benefits of Using Invoice Templates
Invoice templates offer multiple benefits to your consulting agency or business, such as:
- Easy-to-use. You don’t have to know complicated formulas or spend hours in front of your computer trying to decide which format would look best on your invoice. The template already has all the key details laid out for you.
- Saves time. Simply fill in the boxes or blanks in the templates with the appropriate information, and you can finish several invoices in less than five minutes.
- Ability to save invoices on cloud. With most agencies going paperless these days, it is just practical to start saving invoices on cloud. It reduces paper waste, saves space in your office, and provides larger storage and higher security for all your files.
- Creates a consistent experience. When a business consistently changes the format of its invoices, it inevitably raises doubt in its clients. Templates use a uniform and consistent format, thereby continuously meeting client expectations.
- Reduces staff training time. You do not need any previous experience to use an invoice template.
Best Consultant Invoicing Practices
Now that you’ve learned the key parts of an effective consultant invoice and the benefits of using an invoicing template, do you know the best consultant invoicing practices?
#1. Automate Your Invoicing Process
Instead of frantically trying to meet deadlines for different invoicing schedules, automating the entire process saves you the trouble. Invoicing software is a go-to solution. You can set a schedule for your billing and invoicing processes, and the software automatically creates an invoice at the designated time and date.
#2. Always Double-Check Invoices
This is a simple yet often overlooked step in creating invoices. Double-checking means guaranteeing that all the details included in the invoice are correct. Everything has to be error-free, from the rates to the date and invoice number to the personal details and payment information.
#3. Track Your Hours
Create a tracker to help you itemize all your hours worked and provide an accurate computation of your total costs. This will also come in handy if you have to work extra hours for a client.
#4. Keep a Record of All Your Invoices
Storing all your invoices on a secure cloud platform will yield more benefits for your company in the long run. Whether it’s to create an annual audit, retrace any payment discrepancies, or update your invoices, never skip this practice!
#5. Use a short and simple format
Your invoice should be simple and easy to understand. The client should be able to find the rates, the total amount to be paid, and payment details in a heartbeat. Complicated details on your consultant invoice will likely make your client hesitant to pay you.
Different Types of Invoices for Consultants
There is not one type of invoice that suits all types of consulting services. Here are some you might want to know about:
A universally recognized type of document sent by a seller to a buyer to request payment on services and/or products purchased.
It is a group of invoices compiled together for a single client. This is usually done when a customer subscribes to or purchases multiple items and services offered by the seller.
It contains an estimate of the total charges to be billed by a seller to a customer. The estimates include the number of items, costs, delivery and shipping charges, and added taxes. Pro forma invoices provide leeway for buyers and sellers to negotiate the final prices in their transactions.
Consultants also refer to this as consulting retainer. It refers to a fixed sum of money paid in full before commencing the service. The payment covers the services and target deliverables expected from the consultant in a given time frame.
It is applicable when services are charged based on the hours dedicated to completing the task or project. The total number of hours is added up and then multiplied by the hourly rate.
It is a statement issued whenever a customer requests a refund or returns a product. It is also used when there are discrepancies with the previous invoice, pricing discounts that the business wants to offer, or adjustments needed in the accounts receivable balances.
A digital invoice is the electronic version of a typical paper-based invoice. It is typically in a Word file or PDF format and is sent digitally via email.
A tax invoice is issued when a buyer purchases taxable items or goods. This is applicable when the goods are bought for the purpose of reselling them.
Similar to a typical sales invoice, a small business invoice contains the total costs charged for all services and products rendered to a client.
A freelancer invoice is used by self-employed agents or independent contractors to bill their clients for their services.
Successful transactions underline the rate at which a business or service merits referrals and repeat customers. As such, you should aim for 100% transparency in your invoices, down to the very last cent.
Your invoice serves as solid proof of your hard work.
Consistency and clarity in your invoices show professionalism and reliability. When done efficiently, proper invoicing effectively earns your clients’ trust and compels them to continue doing business with you.
- A consultant invoice is an essential document that tracks and itemizes all billable hours and services you’ve provided to a client.
- Ideally, your invoice should contain your information along with your client’s details, invoice number, description of your services, payment details, etc.
- The best way to create a fault-free invoice for your services is to maximize free invoice templates. Invoice templates save time, money, and resources!
- Keep in mind that when creating a consultant invoice, always track your hours, double-check invoices before sending, and keep all invoices in safe storage.