Invoice templates for sole traders

Most business owners issue invoices on a regular basis. This can become repetitive and time-consuming if you manually create each and every invoice. Using a pre-made invoice template can save you time and make sure that your invoices contain all of the necessary details. 

This article explores what information needs to be included on a sole trader invoice, how to format your invoices, and how invoicing software can speed up the process and make sure that your invoices are compliant.

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Basic information on an invoice template

Regardless of your business structure, it’s important that your invoice template contains some basic information. Without these details, your invoices aren't considered to be official documents. 

All invoices must contain:

  • The word ‘invoice’

  • A unique invoice number

  • The date the invoice was issued

  • The invoice due date

  • Your name, address and contact details

  • Your customer’s contact details

  • Details of the products or services sold (including a brief description and the price)

If you’re registered for VAT, your invoice template should also include the rate of VAT charged, the total amount of VAT due, and your VAT registration number.

Additional information on an invoice template

The purpose of an invoice is to outline the details of a sale and let customers know how much they need to pay. Although not strictly necessary, it’s a good idea to add a few pieces of extra information to your invoice templates, including:

  • Payment terms: let your customer know which payment methods you accept and what happens if they don’t pay on time

  • Images: show your customer exactly what their purchased goods should look like

  • Attachments: attaching additional documents (such as drawings, plans or a contract) can provide information that doesn’t fit within the invoice template.

Formatting an invoice template for sole traders

While there are some official rules on which bits of information need to be included on your invoice template, the guidelines for formatting an invoice template are much less restrictive.

The best way to format an invoice template is to think about your invoice as containing four distinct parts that each contains different pieces of information. Below, we’ve provided an example of how you could format your invoices:

  1. The header: customer’s contact details (their name, company address and email address)

  2. Top right or left: information about the specific invoice (the invoice number, the issue date and the due date)

  3. Centre: information about the products or services sold (a description, the price and the quantity of each item, and the total amount due underneath the item lines)

  4. The footer: your company details (your name, address, contact details and bank account information)

Formatting your invoice template in this way makes it easy for your customers to understand how much they need to pay, and makes it easier to find specific invoices at a later date.

Standard invoice template vs. invoice template for sole traders

There are very few differences between a standard invoice template and an invoice template for a sole trader. 

They both need to contain the same basic information and they should both follow the same guidelines for formatting and design. However, there are a few things that set an invoice template for sole traders apart from an invoice template for other kinds of businesses:

Name

Unlike corporations and limited companies, sole traders don’t need to use an official business name. Instead, they can trade under their own given name. 

If you trade under your own name, make sure this is displayed. HMRC guidance states that if sole traders use a business name, they’ll need to state both their name and the business name on their invoices. For example, Katie Smith trading as Elite Designs.

Address

Every invoice you issue needs to include the address your business is registered at. 

As sole traders are much more likely than corporations and limited companies to trade out of their homes, your invoice template may show your personal address. However, only show your personal address you don’t have an official company address.

Registration numbers

Every company registered for VAT should show their VAT registration number (VRN) on their invoices. Companies may also want to display their company registration number (CRN), but, because sole traders don’t have a CRN, there’s no additional registration number that they need to display. 

Sole traders do have Unique Taxpayer References (UTRs), but these are highly confidential and should never be displayed on an invoice template.

Invoicing software for sole traders

There are two different ways to use a pre-made invoice template for sole traders. The first option is to download an invoice template for Word or Excel. This requires you to manually update the details of every invoice you send and develop a system for recording, storing and managing your invoices.

The second option is to use online invoicing software with pre-built invoice templates. Not only does online software automatically update many of the details on your invoice template, but it also makes it easier to record payments, create customer statements and report your income to the tax authorities. 

With SumUp Invoices, you can create invoices using our simple invoice template. Get started and create your own invoice in less than 1 minute.

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