Invoice Like A Pro: Examples and Best Practices


Your invoice should be prim and proper, so that you can get paid by your clients efficiently. While invoicing is not a fun task, it’s a necessary one: by keeping clients informed of your expectations, you will get paid punctually and reinforce your professionalism. After going over some best practices for creating invoices, we’ll review some great (and not so great) online invoicing tools, so that you can spend less time creating invoices and more time doing the things you love!

So here are some general guidelines, best practices and examples that will help you make sure your invoices are up to spec.

1. Their Details and Yours

This is Mickey Mouse stuff, but you can’t afford to forget it. In addition to the client’s address, make sure to include the name of the client’s contact person who handles your account! A company with three employees can figure out what you’re doing; but in big companies, invoices get misplaced, especially if there’s confusion over who belongs to which project.

You’ll also need your company name, your name, address, telephone number and email address. If they have any questions about the charges, contacting you should be as easy as possible.

Design by Nancy Roy Creative1 | Full view2

nancy roy's invoice3

2. Itemized List of Services

People want to know what they’ve paid for. Most people will not pay for something described merely as “Design.” Tell them exactly what they have received: e.g. “Design of three-page static website for Sporting Goods Department.” Be as specific as possible. In five years, would both you and the client know what you meant by your description? Also, specify whether the charge is project-based or hourly.

Design by Hicks Design4 | Full view5

hicks invoice6

3. Include Your Terms

When do you expect the client to pay you? What happens if they miss the deadline? To be able to send follow-up or overdue notices or to charge interest, you need a rock-solid paper trail that no one can argue with.

Design by Francisco Inchauste7 | Full view8

Francisco Inchauste's invoice9

4. Let Them Know How to Pay You

Do you want a cheque mailed to you, a money transfer, flowers? Be explicitly clear about what you expect and in what form. It is usually best to discuss with the client beforehand their preferred method or to come to an agreement about a method you both like.

If you want a money transfer, provide all the necessary information. Foreign transfers need more than your account number: in some countries, you need your International Bank Account Number (IBAN10) or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC11). International transfers also double-charge you: the client’s bank might charge you $20, and your own bank might charge you another $15 to accept the payment. Make it clear which of you will absorb these charges, and talk it it out with them. PayPal is another option, but you still get charged a percentage of the transaction.

Design by Epic Web Agency12 | Full view13

epic invoice14

5. Numbers and Numbers and Records and Books

Referring to “invoice #9048,” rather than “That invoice I sent you last month, I think on a Tuesday,” is much easier to track for both you and your client.

Assign numbers to your invoices systematically, consistently and chronologically. Some people number their invoices by year (for example, 2009043 would be the 43rd invoice of 2009). You could also specify a code for the project. For example, BRAINEOS06 would be the 6th invoice for the braineos15 project that you’re currently working on. Having an invoice and project numbering system keeps everything in line.

Design by Graeme Duckett16 | Full view17

Graeme Duckett's invoice18

6. Thank Them, and Ask Them to Thank You

Money is often a touchy subject, so politeness about it is a good idea. Your clients are paying you money that they’ve earned with blood, sweat and tears, so let them know you appreciate it. You should also invite them to contact you if they have any questions and, more importantly, make it clear that you appreciate their present (and future) business.

Some people also welcome testimonials; for example, by adding, “Let us know how we did. Write a testimonial:” If you’re building your website’s testimonials page or want to complete the feedback loop, this is a great way to get clients to give feedback on your work. If they have suggestions for making the process smoother, it’s also a great opportunity for you to improve.

Design by BGG Design Studio19 | Full view20

bgg design invoice21

7. Don’t Forget: You’re a Designer

Imagine this, you’re at an expensive restaurant. Every detail is perfect: the food was fantastic, the service excellent and the atmosphere rich and plush. Then, you receive the bill, which is printed on cheap paper with low-quality ink. What would you remember about this experience?

Most people spend hours on their website design, business cards and resumes but then use a template for their invoice. The invoice is your last contact with your client, and it should share the attention to detail, branding and style of your other elements. By creating a beautiful, clear invoice, you are saying that you care about the little details.

Most importantly, make sure you have all the necessary information. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes and that your spacing is consistent. Customize your invoice as much as you can. Your logo is a must, but colors and a style that match your other branding items will make it a joy to pay (well, as much as is possible).

Design invoice22
A vintage UK design from the year 1936. In some situations it may be worth considering sending a nice vintage design to your customer. Source23.

The invoice is a boring document, and one often neglected. Andy Clarke from Stuff and Nonsense24 has had “fix up my invoice” on his to-do list for 10 years. This was a fairly typical response from many I had asked!

Jon Hicks lamented that, “The problem is that a lot of tools for invoicing make it quite hard to customize the template. I use Billings25, which is a great app, but doing basic things like getting elements to line up require a pound of flesh!”

Further Invoice Design Examples

Whether you’re using invoice software or designing your invoice from scratch, creating a beautiful invoice is possible. Here are a few examples.

Design by Chase (holdsnowater)26 | Full view27

Design invoice28

Design by Cameron McEfee29 | Full view30

cameron mcefee invoice31

Design by Thomas Maxson | Full view32

epic invoice33

Design by Microspective34 | Full view35

Microspective's invoice36

Design by Julie Fitzgerald | Full view37

julie's design invoice38

Design by Stereotypes39 | Full view40

stereo design invoice41

Design by Veerle Pieters for Devia42 | Full view43

Design invoice44

Design by Ole Martin Buene45 | Full view46

DEM's invoice47

Design by Impulse Studios48 | Full view49

Impulse Studios' invoice50

Design by Sugar Rush Creative51 | Full view52

sugar rush's invoice53

Design by Yummygum54 | Full view55

yummy gum's invoice56

Online Invoicing Roundup

Designing and tracking invoices yourself is a lot of work. A lot of online invoicing applications would save you much time and keep you organized (especially designers like me, who would lose their head if they forgot to attach one!). Hundred of online services are out there. Here, I’ll review seven apps based on their ease of first time use, cost, customizability of the templates, usability and more.

Quickbooks Online57

quickbooks logo58

  • Cost?
    From free to $34.95 per month.
  • Free option?
    Yes, for up to 20 customers. And a free trial is available.
  • Customized invoice design?
    two stars
    Changing the logo is a convoluted process (I ended up using Help, which detailed a six-step process to get to it), and the logo ends up only 1 square-inch. You can choose between about 13 different templates, but I didn’t like any of them. You can change the font and size of various elements (such as the title), which was nice, but the placement of some of the items left a lot to be desired.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    The first time, I gave up in frustration. It wouldn’t let me set up a UK address, so I set up a hypothetical business, an option it allowed. The second time I pretended to have a business in Beverly Hills 90210 and managed to get in. It still took me about 20 minutes to get it together, having discarded my saved invoice a few times after trying to customize it.
  • Usability?
    one star
    The landing page is okay, but the app itself is a bit crowded and disorganized. It tries to show you where quick start items are, but I felt lost. It is inconsistent too: some pages have an ugly brown header, while others had a newer design.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    Yes/Yes. It shows a list of overdue invoices, and an automated email service has just launched.
  • Other accounting features?
    You can track everything, I’m sure, but could I find anything? Would I even want to now?

Other pros?
It’s probably easy for people who are familiar with QuickBooks, because you can import existing books. It seems to solve every conceivable problem, so if you have very particular needs, this might be best for you.

Other cons?
This application immediately made me angry and frustrated. It also can’t be used on Firefox on the Mac (but does work with Safari) or in any country outside the US.

Simplify This59

Simplify this logo60

  • Cost?
    From $9 to $29 per month.
  • Free option?
    Free trial.
  • Customized invoice design?
    one star
    You can add a logo, but I couldn’t find any options for changing color or layout or even find a preview.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    I gave up after 25 minutes.
  • Usability?
    one star
    The logo is okay, but the spacing isn’t super-clean or consistent, and I was confused by which items were associated with which accounts and how to actually generate an invoice.
  • Recurring payments/track late payments?
  • Other accounting features?

Other pros?
It offers a lot of interaction: e.g. each item gives you a pull-down menu, where you can edit and set as “Contacted,” “Lost” and “Change to customer,” but I’m unsure what any of these are for.

Other cons?
Maybe I’m not very good at this, but I couldn’t figure out how to do anything. It shows a “How to” page before the interface; but, of course, I didn’t read it, and then couldn’t figure out how to get back.


Curdbee logo62

  • Cost?
    Free, or upgrade for $5 per month.
  • Free option?
    Substantial amount of features for free.
  • Customized invoice design?
    three stars
    You can add your own logo and change the header color. The design is decent but very limited.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Five minutes.
  • Usability?
    four stars
    Quite well designed and easy to use. A few things required extra clicks, but it never lost me.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    Yes/Turns red, but is not actionable.
  • Other accounting features?

Other pros?
I was pleasantly surprised by this little app. It creates a decent invoice and does it simply. It also has strong integrations with PayPal and Google Checkout to make payments even easier! And upgrading is inexpensive.

Other cons?
You get PDF functionality only with the upgrade; but at only $5 per month, it is definitely affordable!


Freshbooks logo64

  • Cost?
    From free to $149 per month.
  • Free option?
    Yes, a substantial number of features for few clients.
  • Customized invoice design?
    five stars
    Limited. You can add your logo and choose between two plain design options, which look a bit like Microsoft Word templates.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Five minutes.
  • Usability?
    five stars
    Nice and clean. You can also partly customize the colors and replace the logo with your own. Easy to navigate.
  • Recurring payments/track late payments?
    Yes/Yes (can be automatically sent by email.
  • Other accounting features?
    You can track expenses and create reports.

Other pros?
It has great, brief explanations for new users. You can customize the whole application to match your brand and specify permissions on tabs for clients and employees. Seems to scale well for big businesses. It also integrates 10 popular payment gateways.

Other cons?
I couldn’t figure out how to change my currency for individual clients. I might have missed it, but it wasn’t immediately obvious to me.

Less Accounting65

Less accounting logo66

  • Cost?
    From free to $24 per month.
  • Free option?
    Yes, it has some invoice and reporting features for free, and a trial offer.
  • Customized invoice design?
    four stars
    You must create a template to make an invoice. You can add a logo, choose between three different layouts and change the colors.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Five to ten minutes.
  • Usability?
    four stars
    Simple and easy to use. Awkward placement of some elements, such as the permanent bar at the bottom, but you get used to it after 10 minutes.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    Yes/Not yet.
  • Other accounting features?
    Yes, you can track your business expenses here.

Other pros?
Getting started is easy because things behave as you would expect. It also integrates with 37 Signals’ management tools, FreshBooks and more.

Other cons?
When I wanted to create my first invoice, a template wasn’t available, so I created one, but upon returning, I found all of the information I’d entered so far for that invoice was gone! I hate re-entering data in forms (even if only for a minute).

Free Agent67

Free Agent logo68

  • Cost?
    $20 per month, with discounts for yearly subscription and referrals.
  • Free option?
    Free trial, but won’t let you do much until you register your bank account.
  • Customized invoice design?
    four stars
    You can add your own logo and choose between seven attractive templates. You can’t change the color, but I found a template I was happy with.
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Took at least 10 minutes; I couldn’t figure out how to get back into it because it required my bank details.
  • Usability?
    four stars
    Well designed and easy to use. Once I got around bank account entry problem, it was great.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    Yes/It shows a list of overdue invoices, and an automated email service is currently in development69.
  • Other accounting features?
    You can track all business expenses and do your business accounting.

Other pros?
Clear navigation and plenty of explanation for first-time users, with pull-down help bars in case you need them. You can also upload bank statements to track your invoices and expenses against your bank account. And you can customize the front page’s appearance.

Other cons?
Because I was just testing this app, I didn’t want to enter my bank account details. It’s a great feature, but for those who don’t need it or just want to play around, it’s annoying.


Invotrak in Invoice Like A Pro: Examples and Best Practices71

  • Cost?
    Four options, from free to $45 per month.
  • Free option?
    Yes, but you can’t add a logo, and only 2 invoices, and two clients per month.
  • Customized invoice design?
    Two Stars in Invoice Like A Pro: Examples and Best Practices
    They have the option to add a logo if you’re upgraded and the choice between 5 different template styles. They are very plain though, and non-customizable. I personally don’t like them at all!
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Five minutes.
  • Usability?
    Three Stars in Invoice Like A Pro: Examples and Best Practices
    It’s okay. Most things are easy enough to figure out, but they seem to have some weird ways of getting to where you want to go. Not a bad experience but not exactly drool worthy.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    No/Not that I can see. It turns the line red if it’s overdue, but there’s no actionable things here.
  • Other accounting features?
    It has a punch-in system for tracking time.

Other pros
They make an effort to add helper text along the way, but I didn’t notice it until 15 minutes in.

Other cons
It doesn’t auto number the invoices, so you have to remember what the last invoice number you gave a project.


blinksale logo73

  • Cost?
    From $6 to $24 per month.
  • Free option?
    A 30-day trial is available (a credit card is necessary).
  • Customized invoice design?
    five stars
    Nice templates, but you can also create your own CSS-based version! Yay!
  • Time to create a customized invoice?
    Five minutes.
  • Usability?
    four stars
    Very nice and easy to use.
  • Recurring payments/actionable late payments?
    Yes/Yes. It has a customizable email message for overdue notices. You can view all of your overdue invoices in one place and send each with one click. You also get history of when you sent your reminders.
  • Other accounting features?
    You can receive Blinksale invoices from other companies you purchase from.

Other pros
A lot of explanation for new users, and the input fields show examples of data, making it easy to see what to do next. It integrates with Basecamp and PayPal. And sent invoices can be linked to your client’s own Blinksale account.

Other cons
You can’t test this application without submitting your credit card details, even for the free trial. You also can’t create PDFs on the “Bronze” plan (the ideal plan for part-time freelancers). Finally, it doesn’t automate the numbering of your invoice IDs (although it tells you your last one).

Related posts

You may be interested in the following related posts:



  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
  34. 34
  35. 35
  36. 36
  37. 37
  38. 38
  39. 39
  40. 40
  41. 41
  42. 42
  43. 43
  44. 44
  45. 45
  46. 46
  47. 47
  48. 48
  49. 49
  50. 50
  51. 51
  52. 52
  53. 53
  54. 54
  55. 55
  56. 56
  57. 57
  58. 58
  59. 59
  60. 60
  61. 61
  62. 62
  63. 63
  64. 64
  65. 65
  66. 66
  67. 67
  68. 68
  69. 69
  70. 70
  71. 71
  72. 72
  73. 73
  74. 74
  75. 75
  76. 76
  77. 77

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

Kat Neville is a freelance Canadian web designer (living in the UK) who is constantly coming up with too many ideas for new websites. She also loves arts and crafts, gardening and going on adventures. You can find her design work at

  1. 1

    It is great to see some example invoices! I know others have mentioned some alternative accounting services, but since a good invoice starts with keeping track of your billable hours you must check out Harvest ( It is not only a brilliant time tracking app, but it also makes invoicing a snap. And it has a widget that you can put straight on your Windows 7 desktop to make sure keep track of your hours!

    • 2

      I totally agree – I’ve been using Harvest for a few months now and love it. The ability to track you’re time via you’re iPhone or a desktop widget is very, very handy. Well worth the $10 per month!!!!

  2. 3

    Great post guys. Lots of inspiration and tips to find in these invoices. Thanks for mentioning us too ;)

  3. 4

    Hey folks, nice post but I’m missing Bamboo Invoice , a Invoicing System written in PHP built on CodeIgniter and developed by Derek Allard, an open Source System to manage your clients/invoices


  4. 8

    I definitely love the idea of seeing the invoice as a piece of design. Great inspirations so far – I am going review my invoice design for sure quite soon.

  5. 9

    I was looking for create ideas like those to remake my invoice!
    I’m using On The Job from Stunt Software and i recommand it to create automatically your bills..
    Keep good work!

  6. 10

    Oh, wow. Great post. We all need to be better at invoicing and this definitely helps.

  7. 11

    Great post and samples! Thanks for featuring my invoice! One correction though. The link to my website says BGG Design Studio. And the name is BBG Design Studio. No big deal :) Thank you so much for including my design. I’m super excited!!!!!!

    • 12

      Congrats on the feature!

    • 14

      Is it still possible to change from BGG Design Studio to BBG Design Studio? Please? Thanks :)

      • 15

        Do you use a billing program or a set template with your invoice, or do you create and send each one individually? I love the custom look of the invoice, but I wonder about manageability with multiple clients and/or a invoicing/accounting/book keeping software.

        How does that work for you/or anyone else that was featured here with these great designs?

        Currently, I do a custom designed quote as a pdf and send boring paypal invoices when it is time to collect and keep records of transactions/payments in email or in writing when I meet face to face with clients.

        I am not thoroughly thrilled with my system and would love tips, if anyone reading this post has any to offer, I’d be much obliged. Or you can reach me via email to offer suggestions if you feel so inclined!!



        & great post. I’m so inspired but a little halted on how to go about making changes!!



  8. 16

    I use Blinksale for everything.

    It’s pretty much perfect.


  9. 17

    One more service to ad from the makers of quickbooks but it’s free and has amazing functions and produces invoices with all the functions listed above. It’s working great for me.

  10. 18

    We use Invotrak at work and it’s awesome (because we built it and know exactly what we need :p).

  11. 19

    Nice to see this. I redesigned my stale Invoice a few months back, making it less detailed and easier to read. I created mine in INDD and then sent to PDF and created a Form, so I open one, edit any info needed and Password-Protect any changes and send the PDF to the customer. Works like a charm and now my invoice matches my brand’s colors.

  12. 20

    Kat: this is a fantastic write up. I do want to note that you can try Blinksale without entering any CC info. So, simpler to try it out now.

    Thanks again. Good stuff.

  13. 21

    It’s an interesting post, but on the roundup of invoicing systems they all appear to have a monthly fee. Go to a download site such as and you can find plenty of elegant and professional invoicing systems out there for a low one-time fee. I use Busy Bee Invoicing –

  14. 22

    Great post! I am looking for an online invoicing application that supports vector elements. The examples are very nice but I wonder if the designers set them up by hand or if they use an application to fill them.

    I don’t like the blurry logo when working with non vector logos in PDF’s. There doesn’t seem to exist an online invoicing application that supports vector logos so that it still looks great on PDF. Billings looks great and does support vector elements but it is an offline application

  15. 23

    Well rounded post full of great examples and even resources. This was super inspiring and helpful. Thanks!

  16. 24

    Beautiful words Kat, just what I needed. Thanks a lot for the effort to bring this up!

  17. 25

    that is a very very useful article, i always was wondering about how to make a sexy look invoice to give to the clients, and now i have much more ideas than i ever imagine :)

  18. 26

    You missed the one that I use Creative Pro Office.
    Its free, has excellent project management and time tracking features.
    Invoicing is basic, you can only add your logo.

    I can’t justify a monthly fee for some kind of online solution to billing. I would rather go back to running everything off Excel or stumbling through Quickbooks again.

  19. 27

    i use curdbee and love it.

  20. 28

    I use ZOHO invoice and I love it – simple simple simple

  21. 29

    Nice guys, thanks for featuring our invoice design! Also really like BBG’s invoice design! We’re using an osx app to do our invoices.

    Is it still possible to change Yummy Gum into Yummygum (1 word) ? Thanks ;-)

  22. 33

    Two Socks - Graphic design and print

    November 5, 2009 1:56 pm

    Very Surprised BallPark didn’t make the list?!?

  23. 34

    Just wanted to add that there is also another service which offers online invoicing and tracking of payments (Paypal) called Invoice Machine ( ). They also offer an API to their services, so you can build your own interface to it, if you are so inclined.

    • 35

      i am agree, one of Best Invoicing application in The Invoice Machine , simple and Maximum User-friendly as same like Apple Mac OSX system ;)

  24. 36

    Great article Kat! I personally use The Invoice Machine ( for my invoices.

    Clean, efficient and allows for some customisation. The monthly rate isn’t too bad, and it sends automatic reminders / thankyou’s if you want it.

    • 37

      Hi, I didn’t knew about
      Thanks – this seems great!!

      Very nice article – as usual!

  25. 38

    If you/we are a designer, every little piece of your job needs to represent you as well. great post :D

  26. 39

    as always great post

  27. 41

    “The invoice is your last contact with your client, and it should share the attention to detail, branding and style of your other elements.”

    So true! I use a more traditional style of invoice but after seeing these beautiful examples I’m ready to make some changes, very inspiring.

  28. 42

    Another good invoicing option is InvoiceMore ( ), although the invoices shown in this article look much better from a design standpoint.

  29. 43

    No! Invoices have to be as ugly as possible = Olde and still valid knowledge of a designer.

    But if you like a well-designed invoice with a lot of wonderful details, the kerning of the figures of the total amount thus for instance, your client can study and enjoy, then go for it! Don’t forget to give a little space to the dollar-sign, so your client can realize it is real money.

  30. 45

    Thanks…This post is amazing… It’ll be great if you guys can have a post for proposals…cause that is actually the main core thing from which a client analysis you and get to know your actual worth…

  31. 46

    Thanks for a great post. Now I’ll have to update my invoice.

  32. 47

    Really nice post, didn’t know people are putting so much effort in the layout of their invoices. Makes sending (and paying!) invoices a lot more fun to do!

    There are a lot of nice online invoice tools, I really like the approach the vendors are taking. I’m currently using to create and send my invoices. Really like it!

  33. 48

    An invoicing app that I use, and definately should be on that list: You can create whatever design for your invoices (and other sendable stuff like reminders) you want.

  34. 49

    I use for all my invoicing, does everything i need!

  35. 50

    Hey folks as it was mentioned before it would be nice to additionally add open source solutions. Bamboo-Invoice for example is one of these solutions. Anyone knows another nice open source solution?
    KR Bijan :)

  36. 51

    Do you know “Invoy” from portuguese software company Empty Factory?
    Try it at
    It is a simple, easy-to-use and beautiful software for Mac.
    As they say: Invoicing finally made easy on Mac.

  37. 52

    Got to give a mad shout-out to On The Job from Stunt Software. You will be hard pressed to find a more intuitive time-tracking software program, and the customer service I have received from them was amazing.

  38. 53

    sick to see nice invoices !!!!!!!

  39. 54

    Great post. Thanks for introducing some more apps. I’ve been using Freshbooks todate for my simple invoicing needs, but I think I have cheaper options available, especially Curdbee (funny name too) :)

    I just checked their demo ( and looks amazing to me and hard to believe how they give all that for free. Thanks for discovering these new services for SM readers.

    Keep them coming.

  40. 55

    I was searching for same kind of article and once again i found it on SM ..
    u rock people .. very inspiring article. I am planning to change my stationary soon ..
    this will really help me !

  41. 56

    Great post – insightful, appreciate the ‘Round Up’…

  42. 57

    Tip: Make sure to check your invoice for adequate language and proper spelling.

    Quote (from Stereotypes sample): “Wir bedanken uns über die Zusammenarbeit mit Ihnen und freuen uns auf eine weitere erfolgreiche Geschäfte mit ihnen.”


  43. 58

    Very nice examples :) I have to create a design for my invoices, this is a good inspiration.

  44. 59

    Great post! I am just missing some software links to offline solutions. I haven’t found anything useful so far.
    You really picked up beautiful samples.

  45. 60

    Don’t forget to putall the legal requirements on the invoice, in Europe this is especially your VAT identification. Your accountant knows the details.

  46. 61

    Very funny: I just redesigned my invoice template two days ago. And now to come right on cue, you publish such a great article on invoicing. I’ll add or change some details again :-)

  47. 62

    great post! I always use paypal but this one of mine is an exception. I’ve been looking for samples but none of them are good. This post is very useful for my reference :D Thank u!

  48. 63

    Great examples! Love them.
    Just want to mention our online billing service: Billomat (http:://, wich sadly is currently only available in german (We’re working on an english version).
    But most of the above examples could be created with the new Word-based template engine of Billomat 2.0

  49. 64

    For the German speaking market I am missing (English version is coming) and The solution of looks very interesting as well.

  50. 65

    There’s a bit more to it than just invoicing, but if you are a small business you can do your books and get pdf invoices using (and it is free)

  51. 66

    It’s lovely :). The most freaky invoices I’ve ever seen!

  52. 67

    I use

    Great interface, easy to use and they also offer a free account (3 invoices/month) if you want to try it out first.

  53. 68

    I’ve been exposed to FreshBooks which restricts to 3 clients for their free option, while I’ve discovered CurdBee which enables 20 clients on their free option. Their premium option is still way too cheap compared to the others. I’m hooked…thank you Kat for sharing such vital resources.

  54. 69

    For french freeleance, there is also which is very good and not that expensive (free ~ 2.5€ ~ 4€ per month). Monae also gives a lot of legal advice for french workers and can calculate your benefits, taxes, and so on… Very easy to use, yet very powerful.

  55. 70

    Very interesting. Is nice to see how other designers do their invoices. The budget/finance/marketing areas of design are an area that are not covered that much on SM and I may address this with an article shortly.

  56. 71

    Awesome, I’m a beginner in all of this and I was just looking for an invoice system and it seems that some of you put real prices, cool:D

  57. 72

    This is a great post. Nice examples. Great inspiration. Would like to see more posts/articles like that.

  58. 73

    I think that invoices should look like invoices. Remember that they are handled by accountants and managers and they’re not necessarily fans of elaborate designs.

    Impress the client with the quality of your work, not with the design of your invoice, which should be clear, readable and look like an invoice and not an ad flier. What if someone discards an invoice because she didn’t even figure it was an invoice in the first place?

  59. 74

    Thanks for this great post. These impressive invoice designs will make me redo my own templates soon!

  60. 75

    Thanks for featuring FreeAgent.

    Just to clarify, FreeAgent does have more invoice customisation capabilities and you can even add your own CSS . In fact one of the invoices you’ve showcased above is a modified version of one of our templates.

    You don’t need to add your full bank details, but because FreeAgent is an accounting system, we do encourage you to start using that side of it also. Perhaps we need to make that process a bit clearer.

    Thanks anyway!

  61. 76

    Fantastic that you got to show some of the great designs and styles top designers are using, really nice open door into the area with the reviews. Great post!

  62. 77

    Some will print and post invoices to clients but a majority will favour the pace and ease of firing their invoices off electronically. I use an online system called to send and track all my billing.

    Essential Considerations…
    When designing your invoice, consider the impact of it being printed. Does your design demand too much ink? Does you design force multiple page invoices?

  63. 78 will not only do your invoicing it’s a full online accounting package… free to use for up to 15 invoices per month. It slaughters Quickbooks & MYOB etc. I’ve been using it for almost 2yrs and LOVE it… so does my accountant :)

    (Satisfied user only)

  64. 79

    Probably the best article here to date. Excellent pieces of advices.

  65. 80

    Nice Post Kate, thanks for mentioning CurdBee..We are already working on fully customizable CSS based invoicing templates, which would be more attractive for our clients.

    If anyone likes to try out the fully featured CurdBee, visit

    Muzi Mohale >> Even in CurdBee free edition, you can have unlimited clients.

  66. 81

    Very nice article! I need to design an invoice – I’m currently using a stock one from haha! Where does all the time go?

  67. 82

    Very useful post! Help me to make my stuff most professional. Thank you.

  68. 83

    I’d also like to name On The Job. Great program for time tracking and generating invoice, but I’m missing the possibility to print the invoice on your own designed invoice. At least in version 2, haven’t tried v3 though. Other than that, great support and they’re friendly too.

  69. 84

    I typically don’t like “online” services. Something about “trusting” a third party with your clients billing info I just don’t like. If you use a Mac I think “Billings” is the best software. You can find it here:

    Out of the box is has very well designed template invoices!

  70. 85

    One word… AWESOME!!! Great inspiration… thanks!!!

  71. 86

    Love it! Thanks for sharing ur ideas!

  72. 87

    Its really important to take care of everthing. Specially the paying methods and never to forget the invoice, its like the last flavor the client gets fro the designer.

  73. 88

    I use Blinksale invoices look terrible in gmail.

  74. 89

    Great roundup of designs. I would also add: be sure to itemize even the items that you through in gratis, if any, and then deduct their cost. This lets clients know the exact value of things that you might not always charge for.

  75. 90

    Mr. Hicks is too much of a gentleman to point out that his company is called hicksdesign — all one word, rather than two. I’d imagine he’d very much like you to update it, also.

    There you go, Jon – I’ll do your dirty work for you ;)

  76. 91

    Oops, meant to say also that this is an excellent article – an invoice is all part of the work you produce for your client, so is worth taking the time over – it represents you and your company, just like your work does.

    Really great source of inspiration, good job Kat

  77. 92
  78. 93

    wow, thanks for this!

  79. 94

    Excellent post!


  80. 95

    £90 for a Scotch Egg. Wow, Pricey

    Great post. ;-)

  81. 96

    Looks like I’m a bit late to the game, but you should also consider doing a review of an online invoicing solution called ReceivePay at

    ReceivePay offers secure online invoicing as a plug-in for QuickBooks and Microsoft Word – for those that don’t use an accounting package.
    Invoicing Specifics at:

    It offers a large majority of the benefits you point out in the reviews you provide.

  82. 97

    Superb and Very Useful post specially if one is looking to set up their own business.

  83. 98

    If someone told me, “There’s a new article on effective, beautiful invoices for Web developers,” I would immediately know that it was from Smashing Magazine.

    In the short time that I’ve been a reader, I have quickly become familiar with this publication’s style. You own your brand so well, that even the subjects are a part of it. Thank you for continuing to be a consistent comfort and inspiration in my workday.

  84. 99

    Harvest is also a great option for invoicing and time tracking. Worth a look:

  85. 100

    Thank you very much. Very resourceful. I remember searching for such articles long ago and did not find anything. But now here is it.

    When we have Smashing Magazine, why we need to go to school? Much Much better and its free. ;D

  86. 101

    Yeah I’m surprised, no mention of Billings? It’s an excellent program, if only because I don’t see the purpose in paying $10, $15, $20 a month or more when you can buy a great desktop application for $40, one time cost.

  87. 102

    You guys seem to have missed CannyBill ( )

    Excellent site and service.. Their integration rocks!!!

  88. 103

    Wow, it had never occured to me, until viewing all of these great examples, to put “THANK YOU” on my invoices, but now I feel like an ass for not having it! I just went into my invoice template and added a “thanks stamp”. I feel better now.

    Great article.

    A also use the Billings app for Mac and highly recommend it. Their template designer isn’t the most user-friendly thing, but the templates are infinitely customizable.

  89. 104

    I’m curious to know what programs people use to design their own invoices? I am using a sleek but generic invoice through Word… I would like to design a custom one but I’m not sure how to do it while still keeping it easy to edit text!

  90. 105

    Andreas Ostheimer

    November 6, 2009 2:48 pm

    Nice selection of online invoicing services. In Austria and Germany we use services such as or


  91. 106

    This is a beautiful roundup of invoices! The best part is that I’m redesigning my company’s invoices this week. The article could not have been timed better!

  92. 107

    I once found and it is just great but never gets talked about. It is 100% free and has lots of great features. It is definately worth taking a look at for those who want a free service.

  93. 108

    Looks like Blinksale’s website doesn’t work?

  94. 109

    This is yet another great artice SM! I feel the need to update my invoice design. I have been procrastanating setting up a proper invoice system (rather than manually) for some time also as I couldn’t be bothered trial and error-ing across the recommended ones. But you have done it for me. Thanks!

  95. 110
  96. 111

    Another amazing article from the Smashing team. Always finding obscure graphic design needs and bringing it back to the forefront. I will be updating my invoice design this weekend!

  97. 112

    Thanks for this post: it reminds me that I should work on my invoice templates!
    I use Billings 3 on Mac, and I highly recommend it!

  98. 113

    Excellent article, to be honest Smashing Magazine is excellent too!

  99. 114

    Ehi guys, that’s very inspiring.
    Thank you, definitely I’m going to think about a deep restyling ot my invoces.

  100. 115

    Now there are also mobile invoices. Mobile Invoicer lets you create an invoice on your phone and then you can hand it to your customer to let them pay immediately or your can email or text a link so they can pay on their phone or on their computer.

    As mentioned in the article, making it easy to pay is important and Mobile Invoicer lets you give your customers the option of credit card, PayPal or Google Checkout.

  101. 116

    Thank you great post!

  102. 117

    I’d like to know what software is used by these talented designers to create these lovely invoices and what the usage is. How do you populate the fields? Do you import vector files into invoicing software?

    I’d love to know if there is an invoicing application that will allow the import of a vector or bitmap background? MS Money Home and Business (which I use, great software–shame they discontinued) does not.

    @Vivian: I love your invoice!!!

  103. 119

    Keep up the good work.
    Smashingmagazine is great, in addition to my diploma in graphic design, i m always learning and learning from you guys. per example this article.
    Best regards

  104. 120

    Have to mention

    I’ve been using them for a while now. Support is fast, it’s easy to use and they have some awesome invoice templates to choose from. It makes me look a whole lot more professional.

  105. 121

    I need a invoice system that i can run/install on my own machine/webserver. Smth. like bamboo invoice. Is there anything similar?

  106. 122

    Gotta love the Scotch Egg (expense) in the second one.

    Thanks for the article Kat Neville

  107. 123


    November 9, 2009 7:53 pm

    Thanks for featuring me! I’m so excited!

  108. 124

    I worked in finance at a big company for a while. Here’s something that you may find useful: when designing your invoices, don’t put any crucial information too close to the edge of the page, and make sure you use dark or bold colors for any text on the page. Big companies will sometimes xerox and scan your invoices numerous times, and if information fades or gets cut off, this could cause a delay in payment (as they’ll have request another invoice from you).

  109. 125

    Nicely done. I was just scouring the net for a good online option. At the moment, I’ve settled with Intuit’s BillingManager.

    Pros: There are a handful of templates which are a snap to customize. Totally free service! Unlimited clients and emails. PDF attachments and CC to one email address is available. Very easy to create line-items for invoices.

    Cons: No advanced template customization. No integration with Paypal or Google Checkout. Using their payment service is expensive.

  110. 126

    A nice list. Please have a look at Simple Invoices.
    An Open Source and excellent tool

  111. 127

    You missed to add ZOHO Invoice to the list.

    Believe me….it is the best out there.

  112. 128

    For those looking for a great invoicing system you should totally check -

  113. 129

    ZohoInvoice(, a pretty one for online invoicing, is missing.

  114. 130

    I’ve started using Bamboo Invoice, I love it! really easy to setup, use and it’s free.

  115. 131

    A new open source invoicing software not mention its:
    The current default design is not fancy but with the open source version I can put my own HTML & CSS in it.

  116. 132

    I like these beautiful collections, thank you

  117. 133

    Hi guys,

    I just found this post when checking some stats on our Flickr page, and I’m delighted to see that our Devia Invoice is being featured here ! The design was actually done by Veerle Pieters from Duoh! (

    What I did was create a Billings invoice template based on the design supplied by Veerle. I have to say I couldn’t do everything she designed, but the result is pretty close to the original design. It did take me a while to get it right though :-)



  118. 134

    Some v cool designs here. Very inspiring. Thanks.

  119. 135

    You might wanna try, It’s completely free with lots of cool features like recurring invoices, pdf support etc..

  120. 136

    A very nice detailed post regarding invoicing. I am a web developer and not much of a designer but after reading this article I will surely improve the look and feel of my invoice :) Thank you!

  121. 137

    Thank you – great article! You’ve made me look at invoicing in a whole new light ~ will take some of your great suggestions and put them to good use!

  122. 138

    REALLY nice designs… On the back of mine I make sure to add the Graphic Artist guild seal as well as my terms and conditions.

    gee, looking at all these invoices and hourly rates I can help but feel bad for all the designers who get ripped off by crowd sourcing companies like “Genius Rocket” and “crowdSPRING” who never get to send their invoices because they were lured into the guise of a con-test…

  123. 139

    There is a neat little desktop tool called Fanurio . I love it! You can try it for free too. You can just click to start, pause it, etc and you can do nifty reports. I use it to track the time I spend on client projects.

    Even though I only bill hourly for consulting projects, it helps me to see how much time I’m spending to make sure my rates are in line. With Fanurio you can customize invoice templates using your own layouts and export them to HTML or PDF.

  124. 140


    very interesting..and also funny…the right mix. As a translation agency, we have sometimes quite wired invoice coming from ours translators…I will make a post concerning your article so relevant!

  125. 141

    Great article! I have used for a year now. With the built-in “templateprogram” you can make your own invoice design with ease!

    Works best for those in UK and Scandinavia though..


  126. 142


    Just stumbled across this article. Fantastic write up. Ronin ( is an online invoicing and time tracking application designed *specifically* for designers and developers.

    As such, we allow full invoice customization, down to the HTML/CSS level. Most of your example invoices could be implemented in Ronin. Plus, we take care of all of the hairy stuff, like tracking hours, projects, staff, clients, you name it.

  127. 143

    I did not see Ronin on the app list. Any reason?

  128. 144

    This is a great post. I would love a follow-up article on the best invoicing software mentioned in the comments.

  129. 145

    What I have been looking for the most is something that I can start off with FREE and grow into as decide how much I like it, the one that seems to fit this bill the best as an all around bookeeping option is WORKINGPOINT.

  130. 146

    I am from germany and I use easybill, too. I have tryed other software but I like easybill. An other good software is fastbill or

  131. 147

    Awesome ideas! What do you use to make those invoices? How do you keep track of your invoices? I’m in love with Project Bubble! They deserve a great shout out, and they are absolutely free!

  132. 148

    Awesome article! Such a great summary of the invoicing landscape.

    I’m making a time tracker without timers called Lapsus. Initially, I’m targeting it at Ruby on Rails developers, but long term, it will be available for web designers, graphic designers etc.

    Long term, it will send time data to a lot of these invoicing apps, blending the best of the desktop and the web.

    If you’re interested in finding out more, you can sign up to the Beta at

    Thanks again for an awesome post!

  133. 149

    Awesome briefing of the way invoicing should be done. I really loved the brevity in a manner the points have been explained. If anyone would like to know more about how online invoicing should be done and the tips and techniques of online invoicing, then refer to another useful post ‘9 Invoicing Tips for Online Invoicing’ at:


  134. 150

    I’m totally inspired. Thanks for nice post

  135. 151

    So glad you guys have done an article on Invoicing. When I was starting out I looked all over the place trying to find a decent writeup on what standard practices are, and had no luck!

    I personally like my data to be stored locally and so for offline invoicing for Mac i’d highly recommend GrandTotal (

    After working through a number of invoicing programs, I found this one offered by far the easiest complete customisable invoice layouts in design terms. I did a write up on my experiences at my blog which you can read here (

  136. 152

    Since a year I’m with Freshbooks, and I like it. It possible to keep track of my time managment, add staff. And it even tells me what other company’s are doing in the same profession.

    Sad thing about Freshbooks, it’s not possible to customize your invoice (so it’s not possible to upload a HTML template) but it seems no invoice tool can do that..

  137. 153

    Great job guys, keep up the good work!

  138. 154

    Great article…thanks for all the attractive examples, especially.

    The bit about numbering caught my eye, as I’ve come up with a really workable invoice numbering system. I give each client a two- or three-letter code, based on their name. For example. John Smith Publications Inc. would be JS. The number part of the number is the date of the invoice expressed yearmonthday in numerals. Today’s invoice to John Smith would be JS100803. In the rare case that I send more than one invoice to the same client on the same day, I simply add an A, B, C etc. to the end of the number.

    Sorting invoices in the Finder on my Mac then becomes a really efficient system. I keep all invoices together in one folder. Invoices automatically sort themselves by client and then by date because of the file naming convention I’ve used. Once an invoice is paid, I simply label it with a colour, and that way I have an at-a-glance way to see how I’m doing with payments. I’ve even started adding the value of the invoice to each filename after I’ve emailed it to the client…that can be helpful too.

  139. 155

    ohhh…god still exists…i can’t even begin to explain the relief i got cos of this post..
    i have driven myself insane day after day to find good invoice examples…for my boyfriend’s new solo projects….i didn’t come across any sample which was remotely interesting..i was about to give up thinking maybe there was no such thing as a creative and impressive invoice example..

    And then I stumbled upon this post just by chance..just don’t know how I came across this
    page..but thank heavens I did…I could have cried with happiness and relief at that moment…this is such a blessing for probably looks like i’m going overboard over this…but i dont care cos i’m just so relieved and super thrilled…
    I’m definitely gonna tell all my friends to visit this site once and lay a bet with them that they’ll never visit or look for other site after they visit this page…

    Thanks so much for this article…its absolutely brilliant..

  140. 156

    “Imagine this, you’re at an expensive restaurant. Every detail is perfect: the food was fantastic, the service excellent and the atmosphere rich and plush. Then, you receive the bill, which is printed on cheap paper with low-quality ink. What would you remember about this experience?”

    I’d remember the food, the service and the atmosphere, like everyone else.

    “Oh, it was a lovely restaurant, the food was sublime and the service was truly magnificent”,
    “The atmosphere? Exquisite darling!, although when the waiter brought me the bill I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was printed on cheap paper with low quality ink, I shant be dining in that establishment again, I can tell you”

    Get a grip.

  141. 157

    Ok, nice post … and for the german readers and guys who wrote her comments above: Ive just launched a Site to get a good overwiew of all german services to write bills online under

  142. 158


    I was stuck with a very dull invoice design – basically a word document with my logo at the top. Niiiice….

    So I found this page, and felt inspired to create something new.

    Thanks Smashing Magazine!

  143. 159

    Just what I was looking for. Thank you very much

  144. 160

    Great article and good collection of reviewed online tools.

    I’ll just add my company Tradeshift ( to the list. We have a pretty simple web application for creating and receiving invoices. Not just PDF invoices but also electronic invoices.

  145. 161

    hyyee i need a BOUTIQUE INVOICE can any body help me how can i make it……???

  146. 162

    Just the post I was looking for, I appreciate the great list of invoicing tools and breakdowns by price, usability and custom features. Thanks!

  147. 163

    Matt Fairbrass

    May 3, 2011 4:58 am

    Give Clear Books a try, they have a really cool and easy to use invoice theming tool for their accounts package, and they are much cheaper than FreeAgent, Freshbooks or Quickbooks:

  148. 164

    Would love to see an updated version of this article. We’ve recently been looking into online invoicing – between Xero and MYOB. We went for MYOB but the invoicing is kinda average (
    I’m still searching for a good, clean invoicing tool and they are hard to find. I’ve just got one designed from a graphic designer friend of mine, which looks great, but synching it up to create them on the fly is irritating.

  149. 165

    this is really great stuff overall, just wanted to say thanks

  150. 166

    Im using, its an awesome online invoicing tool that is easy to use.
    Their design is very clean and professional, I first started with their free trial and now I’m a full time member. Billgrid is great for small to medium business owners, as well as freelancers.

  151. 167

    You should also take a look at OroTimesheet for time tracking and invoicing. It is really easy to use and very affordable.

    You can visit the company’s website at

  152. 168

    Anthony Everette

    July 4, 2011 7:13 pm

    Great article and some fantastic designs. For a minute I thought they were just a tease and I wouldn’t be able to create anything near as stunning. Thankfully though I got far enough down to the recommendations and tried curdbee. The only problem I have is that the free version sends your invoice laden with advertising. Ah well, you get what you pay for (or dont).

    Thanks again.

  153. 169

    Georgina Nibbet

    July 18, 2011 1:27 pm

    Great looking invoice form guidelines to help small businesses manage their finances. I referenced these before moving onto the templates that I found here.

  154. 170

    I’m a designer and just started using I used to use freshbooks, but they were missing the accounting functionality. Tallyzip brings is all together, which is rather nice.

  155. 171


    may I add for the “Online Invoicing Roundup” cronsync

    Cronsync is a web based time tracking and invoicing solution. It simplifies and professionalizes billing and invoicing procedures and shows you how profitable clients and projects are.

    Best, Jakob

  156. 172

    i am using
    it works amazing.


  157. 173

    great guide, made a fab invoice. do we have a page where we can upload our invoices and rate? would be nice for feedback!

  158. 174

    Wow! What a helpful page – I’ve bookmarked it. The sample invoices are FANTASTIC!!! Thanks.

  159. 175

    I would like to add inqonto

    Besides online invoicing it covers all relevant items for your accounting without getting lost.


  160. 176

    This is one of my favorite Smashing Magazine articles. It’s try, an invoice could be your last contact with a client. Thank them for working together. And work on your branding.

    I used to work with freshbooks, now I work with

  161. 177

    Not only have you listed a few invoicing applications, but gave design examples that can be used as templates for invoicing. Nice work!

    I’d like to add our own invoice creator to your list: BeachCandy ( We’re all about simplicity, and might appeal to freelancers who want simple invoicing.


  162. 178


    Salestastic is a system that has just come out. They’ve got a free for life account going at the moment too. Perfect for freelancers. Worth checking out:

  163. 179

    This was very useful, even 3 years later, thank you!

    I hope Cameron McEffee found his typo–misspelled received–because that is a gorgeous type job he’s got going on.

    Stereotypes is my No. 1 favorite in this post, absolutely sublime.

  164. 180

    Great article. You’ve hit most of the best invoicing practices and given some great sample invoices.

    If you want to get paid faster, include a small discount for early payment or a small fee for late payment. This can help move your invoice to the top of a stack of invoices with no incentives. If you provide an incentive for early payment you can cover your costs by slightly increasing your rate. Either way, you can save yourself from having to send follow-up invoices.

    If you are a freelancer or a small team doing creative work, I’ve created an app specifically for your situation, Scoreboard:

  165. 181

    Great article!
    If it could interest your readers, I use Abak Software since more than 5 years and tt works dramatically well.

  166. 182

    These look gorgeous even after 3 years. We used them for inspiration to create free invoice templates (word, excel) on Not everyone can afford using complex invoicing solutions, sometimes word invoice template is all you need.

  167. 183
  168. 184

    Jack Avetisyan

    June 8, 2013 5:14 pm

    Nice article but in all honesty no one cares what your invoice design looks like. Just make it clean, simple and easy to follow. No one is going to frame this. I use freshbooks for all my invoices and it does the job.

    • 185

      True, but specially as a designer it IS part of your corporate design and should imho be an example of your abilities, like every piece of business communication.

      • 186

        Our Invoice Software is a simple and easy to use Invoicing software suitable for all types of businesses. Simply enter customer details, product details, pricing etc. and your invoice will be automatically generated.

        Invoice Software

  169. 187

    I’ve started using for my invoices and I really love its for its simplicity and effectiveness.

  170. 188

    Great roundup & examples!

    But to me it’s funny to see how a lot of the things recommended as “best practices” here are actually legally mandatory to be on an Invoice in my country (that is Austria). :D

  171. 189

    Hello, thanks for sharing this list! But I miss my new favorite system

    It is new online business management software with lots of advantages. They can handle your invoices easily and you can create professional proposals with their creator. Great stuff! Anyway, you can check your company performance with their useful tools. You can try it for free, especially great for small or medium companies. Check it now, if You have free time!

  172. 190

    How come nobody mentioned

    Smashing Magazine, I guess people would like to see a complete round app of such apps too. Hope you would consider adding Invoicera, the next time. It’d be great to see things from your perspective.

  173. 191

    is a great online invoicing site that is free.
    A one time fee for removing their small link in the footer is available also but the interface and functionality is great.

  174. 192

    Just the kind of advice I was looking for, thank you!

  175. 193

    I have my own small business and use, cannot understand why this is not on the list. Very simple and easy to use. Recommend to all small business owners.

  176. 194

    Thanks a million for this! Love that it’s dense with value and visuals. Rare to come upon a post so relevant and charming.

  177. 195
  178. 196

    Use Pancake! You can completely brand and theme it!

    If you use for your online invoicing you can completely control the branding side of things, so your sweetly designed invoice will look as you want.

    Using a monthly service like any of those listed above means you need to use their invoice designs, Pancake let’s you design your invoices.

  179. 197

    Great list! I think that your focused to much in visual appearance of the invoice, but personally I think that usability and functionality around documents is more important then visual appearance! For me (small business owner) the most important thing is the whole package, modules that I get with the app. So I searched the web and found one that suits perfectly for me. I’m using for invoicing and expense tracking and payment manager. I’m using module for sending overdue notices directly to partner email and address and also I’m sending email newsletters once a week with marketing module. I really like this app!


↑ Back to top