Creating invoices with Excel?

Are we repeating ourselves? Maybe a bit...but as the famous enlightenment philosopher Voltaire said, ‘I will repeat myself until they understand me’, and well, this is an article for those who are still using Excel to create invoices.

It’s for those who continue to toil away with making invoices in Excel (and Word) that we continue our fight to simplify their invoicing and provide them with a simple and professional solution for their business.

We’ve already gone into detail about how invoice templates in Excel fall short of the requirements for entrepreneurs (take a look at ‘Excel invoice templates: the solution for freelancers?’).

Creating invoices with Excel can seem like an easy solution. But it's anything but. Debitoor invoicing software is different.

But we’ll also do a short recap of the points covered. The most important ones include:

  • The invoice number. Excel does not automatically update your invoice with the next invoice number in the sequence you have chosen. So it’s up to you to keep track of the correct invoice number to be used and remember to update it each time.
  • The VAT calculation. Excel invoice templates will not determine the necessary VAT automatically. Which means you will need to take time to do the calculation by hand, increasing the chance of error.
  • The design. Or rather the lack of design. By creating the same invoice that everyone creates in Excel, you reduce your professionalism and the ability to stand out in the mind of your customers.
  • And finally, the lack of control over your invoices. More below.

Why Excel is not your invoicing solution

I’ll admit to something here. Excel can be a good option if you just need something once or twice to create an invoice. So for those who use it sparingly, you’re forgiven. However, because invoicing is about so much more than creating invoices (tracking and entering payments, invoices from suppliers, delivery notes, etc.), creating invoices in Excel can turn into a bit of a nightmare.

No matter whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or just starting out, (or even if you’re an advanced Excel user), it’s software that wasn’t created for controlling your invoicing. And this becomes obvious quite quickly when you use it repeatedly for this purpose.

The main problem? Excel lacks any system to provide you with the tools to manage your invoices. It is up to you to keep track of payment dates, overdue payments, and whether you have sent reminders to customers. And entering payments on invoice? How does that work in Excel?

An Excel spreadsheet is not the easiest type of document to work with. A quick example from James Kwak, a university professor of economics at the University of Connecticut: JP Morgan lost millions due to a simple copy-paste error in an Excel spreadsheet. The lesson? Don’t underestimate Excel.

Excel is a highly complex software designed to handle advanced calculations. Just because it offers invoice templates does not make a good or even easy solution for your invoicing needs.

Creating invoices with Excel vs. invoicing software

Arriving at the point of our article: where Excel falls short on invoicing and complicated spreadsheets, invoicing software like Debitoor excels. Why waste time and hassle trying to make Excel work for your business when there are invoicing programmes out there that aim to make this as simple and fast as possible for freelancers and small business owners just like you?

What invoicing software like Debitoor can give you (that Excel cannot)

  • Professional invoices that are updated constantly based on the latest regulations and requirements.
  • Beautiful invoice templates that are easily customisable for your business.
  • An overview and control over the status of your invoices. See immediately whether they are overdue, paid, etc.
  • Systematic and centralised control of the cash flow of your business, read: expenses.
  • Mobile apps that are free to download, allowing you to handle your invoicing on the fly, from anywhere.

So after this, what do you think? Enough to convince you?

Written by WhitneyWhitney, 13 January 2017