Consultants provide professional advisory services rather than physical products, so it is essential to have a traceable log of invoices to ensure you are paid in full and on time.
Usually, a business won’t issue a receipt to confirm they have received a consultation invoice, although you can have email ‘read receipts’ activated. An integrated software consultant invoice template will help retain a record of all invoices issued and outstanding amounts.
Selecting a professional invoice template for consulting services is an efficient way to set up on-brand documentation and provide automated notifications to let you know when your client has settled your invoice.
How to Raise Invoices for Consultation Services
Customized, well-formatted documents are important for all consultants, regardless of the specific services you provide–capturing all your billables, recording costs such as mileage, and detailing the time spent working with your client.
How should you invoice a consulting client? A lot depends on the structure and scope of the consultation, but you might wish to:
- Invoice for a deposit to pre-book the anticipated time or days required
- Charge a set rate per day, week, or hour
- Offer a fixed-price consultation, such as an IT systems audit
- Bill as you go, usually at the end of each week or month
In any case, tracking your hours is paramount. Most consultants base the bulk of their invoicing on the hours worked, which is the norm in most sectors. Using an invoice template ensures that every document is consistent, a particularly important factor if you are charging weekly or monthly over a longer-term consultation project.
What to Include on a Consultation Invoice
Invoices should always use the same header, which helps your client immediately identify who the invoice is from, what it is for, and which department to refer the paperwork to. Pre-formatted templates retain your information, so you won’t need to replicate this every time, and your software will automatically insert your header at the top of each new document.
Some of the information to include is as follows:
- The business name and logo, or your name if you are an independent consultant
- Your contact information, preferably a phone number, email address, and office location, to expedite any queries
- The word ‘Invoice’ at the top of the page, and a reference number
Consultancy invoices must identify who the payable party is, and this might need changing if you’re working with several clients, even if they represent different branches of the same organization. Getting the payee information wrong is one of the most common reasons an invoice is rejected, so you should add the point of contact or manager you have worked with on the consultation to ensure prompt payment.
Many companies that hire consultants have devolved accounts payable teams, so providing as much supporting detail as possible will help them get your invoice approved without asking for more information.
Your consultation invoices should include the date you raised and sent the document and the expected due date. It is entirely your choice whether you offer payment terms, such as a set number of days, but the invoice should clarify whether you anticipate an immediate payment or if there is a date by which the invoice must be paid.
Never assume that it will be obvious from your business name or logo which services you are billing your client for! While invoices only need to include a brief description of the work carried out, this can also be especially relevant for consultants. Most projects comprise varied aspects, such as time spent in discussions, reviewing processes, analyzing reports, and compiling recommendations.
Breaking down your billable hours, including your hourly or daily rate, and showing itemized totals on each line substantially reduces the likelihood of queries and demonstrates all the work you are charging for, including that which might have been carried out behind the scenes.
Busy clients prefer efficient payment solutions, so if you use an invoice template, we recommend adding an integrated payment gateway link to facilitate one-click remittances.
The easier you make it for your client to pay, the faster they are likely to do so! Rather than adding bank details and waiting for a manual wire transfer, a secure payment link usually means you get paid quickly and can move forward with your next project!