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What's the Right Way to Invoice for Your Business?


When you start using a product like WorkflowMax, there are so many different options for invoicing, it can be difficult to understand what will work best for your business. This is especially true if you’re a new company, or you’ve never had a robust invoicing system before – it can be difficult to know what is standard in your industry, or what is best for you and your clients.

Here are 10 common types of service businesses sending invoices through WorkflowMax, and some tips for the best way to invoice for each:

1. If you … are a creative agency working across different clients

As a creative agency, you want everything you do to be part of your impeccably crafted brand. From your website to your business cards and even your coffee cups – and this includes your invoices. The look and feel has to be just right so that the client sees you take just as much care over your own branding as you do over theirs.

WorkflowMax can help: by enabling you to create invoices using your own custom branding and design. It’s easy to learn how to customise your invoice template in our free online training course.

Other invoicing features agencies will love:

  • Create recurring invoices for jobs that occur monthly, such as social media management.
  • Use job templates for the kinds of jobs you do frequently – with a couple of clicks the job record is made an an invoice ready to go!
  • Charge staff at different rates, such as junior and senior designers.
  • Time tracking six ways, including a widget enabling your creative team to track time directly from the Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Attach other documentation – such as drafts – to the job and invoice to keep all project files together.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.

2. If you … are a freelance creative growing your business

In contrast to a creative agency, what a freelancer needs most of all from invoicing software is speed – the more time spent on admin is less time spent on income-generating activities.

Of course, freelancers also crave invoicing flexibility to charge jobs in a way that works for them. Personally, as a freelancer, I don’t like to include an hourly rate on jobs, as I feel it encourages clients to view your services based on the speed at which you produce a job, instead of your skill level.

WorkflowMax can help: by allowing you to create job templates for the types of jobs you do all the time, such as creating business cards. With a couple of clicks you can have the job set up!

Other invoicing features freelance creatives will love:

  • Calculate your invoice however you like, using actual time and costs, quoted time and costs, a percentage of quoted value for progress invoices, or a flat rate.
  • Add subcontractors to WorkflowMax so they can track their hours for invoicing. You can charge subcontractors out at different rates.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • Invoices are automatically created based on the hours and costs added for a job. You can choose the level of detail to include, and customise the final amounts.
  • Write on/off hours for a job to arrive at a fair price.

3. If you … are an architect project managing construction jobs

With a complex project like a build, you need to be able to juggle many different subcontractors, timesheets, and job costs on one invoice. Your clients will expect a breakdown of all the different hours and costs, and you need to be able to easily generate monthly invoices with a lot of detail without tearing your hair out in frustration.

WorkflowMax can help: by enabling you to include all the details of the job, from the hours worked by you and the various subcontractors, to all the costs associated with materials. You can adjust totals and write on/off hours to arrive at a fair price.

Other invoicing features architects will love:

  • Send progress invoices as a job continues through various stages, with a few simple clicks.
  • Invoice numbers are automatically added to help you keep track of the different stages.
  • Automatically push invoices into Xero for reconciliation. Once reconciled, you can track your firm’s profitability in WorkflowMax.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • Subcontractors can use WorkflowMax as well to track their time, enabling their time to be automatically added to the invoice, saving you time.

4. If you … are a fabrication firm creating products for the construction industry

Your clients are busy people. They don’t need a breakdown of every bit of the job. What they do need is a clear outline of exactly what their order contains, so they can check off the different parts of the order as they’re delivered.

WorkflowMax can help: by allowing you to edit the type of information you include on the invoice. While you can track every detail of the job for your own records, you can keep your invoice simple so the client isn’t bogged down with unnecessary detail.

Other invoicing features fabricators will love:

  • Write on/off hours on a job or task to arrive at a fair price.
  • Record charges to be brought forward to future invoices with future billing.
  • Create custom rates for different tasks, to make setting up jobs and generating invoices even quicker and easier.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • With complete control over every feature of the invoice, you can override rates and change any details to reflect the nature of a job.

5. If you … are an events company providing services at conferences, weddings, and galleries

Event companies manage a huge array of different details, from supplying catering and waiting staff, to setting up and packing down infrastructure, lighting rigs, and project environments.

Part design studio, part warehouse, part construction and fabrication firm, an event company like yours needs to be able to project manage a variety of different tasks and costs across a job and invoice accordingly.

WorkflowMax can help: Capturing costs through the project management features of WorkflowMax helps an events company to keep track of everything, and because WorkflowMax is an all-in-one integrated system, those costs can be used to generate an invoice in a few simple clicks.

Other invoicing features event companies will love:

  • By tracking hours worked from your team, you can easily bill for changes to the initial estimate.
  • Invoice for a percentage of the quoted price upfront, to provide a deposit.
  • Use progress payments to bill clients weekly or monthly for progress made over a long-term project.
  • Capture and add all associated costs for different parts of the event, including hireage, lighting, projections, fabrication, etc.
  • Subcontractors can track time through WorkflowMax, which can then be added to the invoice.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • Choose which information the client sees on the invoice – a complete rundown of every cost, or a more simplified list.

6. If you … are a lawyer needing to bill at small increments of time

As a lawyer, you need to keep accurate track of the time spent on each client’s job. If you don’t track a minute, then you can’t bill for it. You need a way to account for all those minutes and transfer them with ease to your invoice.

WorkflowMax can help: The time tracking features of WorkflowMax enable you to track time down to the nearest minute. With the click of a button, you can then transfer your time to the invoice for each job.

Other invoicing features lawyers will love:

  • Set up each lawyer at your firm with their own rate (charging different rates depending on seniority or expertise).
  • Further edit your totals manually if any changes are required.
  • Include fixed costs such as photocopying with ease.
  • Breakdown costs such as travel, documentation, and filing fees, so the client can see exactly what they’ve paid for.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • Create standard job templates for jobs you perform all the time – such as a limited license, basic conveyancing, or creation of a will.

7. If you … are an IT technician installing and monitoring a client’s system

For IT services, invoicing often needs to recur on a monthly basis, to cover monitoring of client systems and services.

WorkflowMax can help: by enabling you to create recurring monthly invoices with a few simple clicks. This saves companies like Digital Reality $10,000 in billable hours every month.

Other invoicing features IT services will love:

  • Create job templates for jobs you perform all the time, such as web hosting or system upgrades. This enables you to invoice with a simple click.
  • List out the different components you’ve installed on the invoice. This helps the company if they have to repair or replace the system in the future to have an accurate list of exactly what’s been done.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • WorkflowMax integrates with both Zendesk and Freshdesk, enabling you to send invoices directly from your tickets.

8. If you … are a business consultant travelling to meet clients

As a consultant, you live on the road for a large part of your career. This means you need to carry your office with you and invoice as you go, which can be difficult if you’re shuffling stacks of paper around in your briefcase. But with cloud software like WorkflowMax, working on the road has never been so easy.

WorkflowMax can help: As WorkflowMax is in the cloud, you can track time and send invoices from anywhere in the world – even the beach or the Amazon jungle – as long as you have an internet connection.

Other invoicing features business consultants will love:

  • Different tasks can be set as different rates, so you have control over your billing.
  • You can charge members of your team out at different rates, depending if they’re a junior or senior consultant.
  • Keep the invoices simple or add more detail so your client can see exactly where their money is going.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.
  • WorkflowMax integrates with more than 30 other applications, including Xero accounting – enabling you to bring your entire office on the road on your phone or tablet.

9. If you … are an engineering firm helping a client create a stable structure

It’s your job as an engineer to make sure buildings and infrastructure obey the laws of physics, and remain safe and functional for many years to come. When it comes to invoicing for your services, you also want an invoicing solution that’s functional – enabling you to easily incorporate time and costs and retain control over the final result.

WorkflowMax can help: Pull through data on WorkflowMax timesheets for accurate billing, and raise and record purchase orders to capture costs. With all this information, you can then choose the way you want to invoice (actual time and costs, a percentage of quoted value, or progress payments) and how much detail the client needs to see.

Other invoicing features engineers will love:

  • Every aspect of your invoice is customisable, allowing you to charge different employees, tasks or costs at different rates, and write on/off time to arrive at a fair price.
  • Subcontractors can also use WorkflowMax to track their hours.
  • You can attach other documentation (such as blueprints and instructions) to invoices so all project files are stored together.
  • Create added value for clients by running reports on your invoices and job management to show them how much work you’ve done for them over the year.
  • Run reports on invoices to see who hasn’t paid so you can easily follow-up.

10. If you … have any kind of service business that bills by time.

WorkflowMax can help.

If you want to know more about WorkflowMax comprehensive invoicing features, then check out the invoicing page on our website, or sign up for a free trial to find out yourself!

What industry is your business in? How do you create your invoices?

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Steff Green
Steff Green is one of WorkflowMax's resident wordsmiths, writing everything from website pages to blog posts, ebooks, emails and everything in between. Steff is also an award-winning author, with several fantasy novels available on Amazon. When she’s not writing up a storm, Steff lives on a lifestyle block with her musician husband, two cantankerous cats, several sheep and chickens and her medieval sword collection.

Steff Green