Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Tips for using a sole trader invoice template in Australia

5-minute read

The quality of your paperwork can have an impact on how your business is perceived by customers. Scruffy quotes and correspondence, for example, could be considered an indicator of the quality of goods or services you provide. Therefore, it pays to make sure your invoicing gives the right impression, and that starts with a professional-looking invoice template.  

What we'll cover


Key take-outs
  • A professional-looking invoice can help support the credibility of your business
  • The Australian Tax Office requires invoice templates to feature specific information
  • Adding extra elements to your invoices may help you get paid faster
  • Online invoicing has many benefits
  • Invoice templates for sole traders are available through a variety of sources.

Why does my sole trader business need a good invoice template?

Some notable innovations have started life written on a napkin, including (according to legend) the structure of Oprah Winfrey’s media empire, the font for all credit card numbers, and the script for the movie ‘A Few Good Men'. But that doesn't mean your business can get away with casual paperwork that looks like it's been written on the back of a napkin.


As a sole trader, you are your business, and everything associated with your business is a reflection of you and the way you operate. An amateur-looking business card makes your business look amateur too, and the same goes for all your stationery – including your invoices.


That's one reason not to compromise on your sole trader invoice template design.

What information should be on a sole trader invoice template?

To comply with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) guidelines, your sole trader invoice should feature the following information:


  • The words ‘Tax invoice’ (or similar) if you are charging Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Space for your business name and/or trading name 
  • The quantity and description of the goods or services provided 
  • Your Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • The date the invoice was issued
  • The GST amount, either for each line item or as a whole.


If you're charging GST, there are two ways to express it to comply with the guidelines: 


If the invoice is for $1,000 or more:

The GST amount must be included for each individual line item. This allows you to feature a mix of GST items and GST-free items.


If the invoice is for less than $1,000:

You can still feature the GST for each item on its line. Or GST can simply be included in the invoice total, using words such as 'Total price includes GST'. You can only choose this method if GST has been charged on every item making up the total on the invoice.


If you're just starting up a business and are not sure if you need to register for GST, our Business basics for sole traders article may help.

What else should be on my invoices?

Extra elements added to your invoices may help avoid overdue invoices and actually speed up payments.


Tips to help speed up invoice processing:

  • Address the invoice to the person most likely to be the main approver
  • If emailing the invoice, take the time to find a personal email address rather than using a general one
  • Add your contact number and/or email address so that your customers can contact you with any queries that might delay payments
  • Include your payment terms and the due date you request payment by.


Some businesses find that offering a discount incentive for prompt or early payment works well for them, so that's something worth considering for inclusion on your invoices.


Tips to make it simple to pay you:

Another way to encourage fast payments is to let customers pay you the way that's most convenient for them. So, you might want to offer a number of options in the payment details section of your invoices, which could include:

  • Bank-to-bank transfer (listing your bank account BSB and account number on your invoices)
  • Bank-to-bank transfer using PayID® (featuring just the ABN or mobile number you've registered for the service rather than your bank account details)
  • BPAY® if the scale of your business merits applying for an account
  • By credit card over the phone using a virtual terminal
  • Paying by post with a cheque.


You could also offer the option of paying with cash, or in person with a credit or debit card. A new, simple way to take in-person card and mobile wallet payments is to have a mobile app such as Westpac EFTPOS Air on your compatible device – with no extra hardware required.

Where can I get a free invoice template?

A quick search online should give you plenty of options for sole trader invoice templates, including versions in Word, Excel and Google Docs formats. Just make sure the one you choose features all the mandatory fields listed in this article – and has the capacity to add extra wording that can help get you paid faster.


If you're using accounting software such as MYOB or Xero, they might provide an invoice template you could use – but make sure it's one that's suitable for use in Australia.

What about online invoicing and mobile invoicing software?

Doing your invoicing online or by app has many potential advantages.


Depending on the online invoicing system or accounting software you use, or if you're using the invoicing capability of the EFTPOS Air mobile app on your smartphone, you could benefit in some or all of these ways:

  • Save money on paper, printing and postage
  • Save time manually creating and sending invoices
  • Avoid repetitive typing of customer and product/service details
  • Send your invoices immediately from a mobile device 
  • Connect your invoicing to your business bank account
  • Get help with invoice reconciliation
  • Send automatic payment reminders
  • Simplify tax time with everything in one place.

Is an invoice the same as a receipt?

No, these are two separate documents. An invoice is a request for payment and must follow ATO guidelines. A receipt is a confirmation that payment has been made – and there is no mandatory format you have to follow.


You can turn an invoice into a receipt simply by renaming it, marking it as paid, and providing a payment date. Sending a receipt (or remittance advice) is a great opportunity to say a simple ‘thank you for your payment', which may help secure prompt payments in the future, as well as ongoing business.


To sum up

As the sole proprietor of your business, you'll appreciate the benefits of reducing paperwork and speeding up payments, while being compliant with ATO requirements for invoicing. How you invoice and what you include in your sole trader invoice template can help ensure you're covered in all three respects.

Read more

4 reasons to separate business banking from personal

One of the most useful things you can do when starting a business, is to keep your business finances separate from your personal.

6 ways to get your invoices paid faster

Waiting around to get paid? Here are some steps you could take to ensure your invoices get paid on time.

Business basics for sole traders

Here are some of the first things you should think about to get your business off on the right foot.

Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.


BPAY® is a registered trademark of BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518.


PayID® is a registered trademark of NPP Australia Limited.