Whether you choose to utilise an invoice template available online or custom create your own, it’s vital that your business’s invoices tick all the boxes.

To help you understand how to make an invoice and know what should and shouldn’t be included, we’ve put together this handy and comprehensive guide.

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a commercial document that is issued as a request for payment for a particular product or service. It outlines the payment terms and provides instructions for paying as well.

While invoices and receipts may share many aesthetic qualities and information, the receipt is the proof of payment. The invoice, by contrast, is issued before payment and is a ‘request’ for the customer or client to actually pay. 

Why is it important to invoice properly?

While it might seem tedious to go through the process of issuing and maintaining invoices properly, there are a few reasons why it’s important.

1. Cash Flow

Being on top of a well organised invoice system will ensure your business enjoys steady and regular cash flow.

2. Records

Keeping a record of your accounts receivables is just as important as watching your accounts payable. 

3. Tax

As a business owner or sole trader, you are responsible for meeting your various tax obligations and proper invoices will help you deal with that.

4. Get paid

Without a comprehensive invoice template and record-keeping system, it will be harder for you to stay on top of the money you are owed for the good work you do.

The Two Types of Invoice Templates

Tax Invoices

A tax invoice is only issued if you are registered for GST i.e., goods and services tax. This type of invoice needs to say explicitly “Tax Invoice” somewhere on it.

If you’re not sure whether you need to register for GST, click here.

Regular Invoices

Businesses not registered for GST do not need to include a tax component and should not include the words “Tax Invoice” on the invoices themselves.

How to make an invoice


The key to making an invoice is to know what information or components need to be included. We’ve listed the most fundamental inclusions you need to have below.

Tax Invoice

If you’re registered for GST, make sure your invoice specifically says Tax Invoice somewhere near the top.

Business Information

Often forgotten, but still important: Remember to include your business information. This means the name of your business (or trading name), contact details in case they need to contact you with a question related to the invoice, and your business logo or branding. 


Remember to include your Australian Business Number (ABN) on your invoice, preferably near the rest of your business details. You can register for an ABN here.


Always include a date on your invoice. Note that this is the date of the invoice being issued and not the date the product was sold, service rendered or even the date the invoice was made.

Invoice Number

Most invoices include some sort of identification number for easy recording and tracking of invoices. The exact structure of your invoice numbering system will depend on your preferences and working style. We’ll delve a little deeper into this below.


Include a brief yet clear list of the items sold that the invoice in question is requesting payment for.

When outlining the items it’s important to strike a balance between details that clearly identify the product or service without including too much confusing or convoluting detail. Include the quantity and the price (per unit if relevant) as well.


Again, this is only relevant if you are registered for GST. The GST component of each item on the invoice should be indicated separately. 

You can calculate the GST component as exactly one-eleventh of the total price. At the bottom of the invoice, include the total cost of the products/service, the total cost of GST and the total price inclusive of GST.

Do you need an ABN on an invoice?

There is a bit of confusion regarding including an ABN on an invoice. According to the ATO, tax invoices for sales equal to or in excess of $1000 (including GST) need to have sufficient buyer identification information and/or an ABN.

Many customers/clients will request for an ABN to be included even on invoices for smaller amounts though.

Invoice Numbering

As mentioned above, every invoice of yours should have a unique identification number. The purpose of this number is to help you or your customer/client easily track, refer and record specific invoices.

The way you number your invoices is up to you. Some businesses use numbers and others use a combination of numbers and letters.

Some common forms of invoice numbering include:

  • Simple sequential numbering, e.g., INV001, INV002 etc.
  • Letters at the beginning to indicate the client, e.g., SCO001, SCO002 etc.
  • Incorporating the date into the invoice, e.g., 2022-001
  • Using an internal code for customers and or dates.

At the end of the day, your chosen numbering system doesn’t really matter. As long as it is clear and consistent and works for you, you’ll be able to keep your past invoices organised, recorded and searchable. 

Online Invoice Templates

While you can–and many businesses do–create your own invoice using Microsoft Word, Excel or a Google Doc, you may prefer to find a free invoice template online instead.

These standard layouts make it easier to populate all the relevant information whilst looking professional at the same time. It can be easier to ensure tax and regulatory compliance by using a pre-designed invoice template rather than relying on your own ability to create one from scratch. 

A simple Google search for ‘free invoice template’ will bring up a wide range of options for you to choose from.

Invoice Generating Software

For larger or growing businesses, software is often the way to go. They can markedly speed up the process of creating and sending out invoices and often even include a clickable option for customers or clients to settle invoices on the spot with their credit cards. 

Invoice Records

According to the law, you must keep your business records for a minimum of 5 years. This includes your invoices. 

The record can be physical or digital, but it will need to include all the invoices you’ve issued, the income received and payments made. While it might seem cumbersome now, when it comes to getting your business activity statement (BAS) ready, processing an income tax return or being audited you’ll find life a lot easier and less stressful.

ScotPac – here to point you and your business in the right direction

Needto start exploring funding and capital solutions for your business? Make sure to contact the ScotPac team today.

We’re the experts in assisting everyone from small business to large-scale conglomerates with a flexible, fast funding solution that works for them!