Facing the challenge of invoicing for the first time can be daunting for any sole trader. Efficient invoicing is crucial not only for cash flow but also for maintaining professional relationships. Fortunately, a good system can simplify the process. This guide offers insights into creating accurate, professional invoices that comply with Australian standards and help you get paid faster. For a comprehensive breakdown of each step, read on through the article.

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What is an Invoice?

An invoice is a formal request for payment issued by a seller to a buyer after a transaction. It details the goods or services provided, each item’s price, the total amount due, and the payment terms. For Australian sole traders, an invoice must include their Australian Business Number (ABN) and, if registered, details about the Goods and Services Tax (GST). This document not only helps businesses track sales and manage accounts but also serves as a legal record facilitating timely payments.

Key Elements to Include on a Sole Trader Invoice

  • Your business name and contact information.
  • The Australian Business Number (ABN) of the sole trader.
  • A unique invoice number for tracking and reference.
  • The date the invoice is issued.
  • A clear description of each good or service provided.
  • The price per item and the total price, inclusive of GST if applicable.
  • The GST amount if the sole trader is registered for GST.
  • Payment terms, including due date and accepted payment methods.
  • A statement if the price includes GST.

Enhancing Your Invoice for Better Communication

Crafting a clear and professional invoice promotes swift payments. Ensure your invoices specify each charge and the total amount owed. Clear communication of payment terms and due dates helps prevent delays and strengthens business relationships.

How to Invoice as a Sole Trader: Essential Steps

  1. Select an invoicing system that fits your business needs.
  2. Include all necessary details on every invoice, such as the GST amount if registered.
  3. Ensure the invoice number and date are prominently displayed.
  4. Send invoices promptly, ideally within days of completing the service.
  5. Follow up on invoices if payment is not received by the due date.

Benefits of Online Invoicing Software

For self-employed individuals and contractors in Australia, TaxLeopard emerges as a top choice. This accounting software, designed with CPA accountants, specializes in meeting the unique needs of the self-employed, ensuring compliance and efficiency.

Online invoicing software streamlines financial processes, offering numerous advantages to sole traders and freelancers.

Time-Saving Features:

Online invoicing software streamlines the billing process, allowing sole traders to quickly generate invoices. Automated templates and recurring billing options reduce the effort needed to bill regular clients. This efficiency frees up more time for core business activities, making the invoicing process less labour-intensive.

Enhanced Accuracy:

Using online invoicing software minimizes human errors. It ensures that calculations, especially those involving taxes like GST, are accurate. Automatic updates to tax rates and regulations help maintain compliance without the need for constant manual checks.

Improved Cash Flow:

Online invoicing tools help maintain steady cash flow by enabling faster invoice delivery and easier payment methods for clients. Features like payment reminders and direct payment options through the invoice itself encourage prompt payments, reducing the occurrence of late payments.


The cloud-based nature of online invoicing software offers unparalleled accessibility. You can create, send, and manage invoices from any device with an internet connection, allowing flexibility to handle financial transactions on the go. This feature is ideal for sole traders who often find themselves in different locations.


Online invoicing platforms help create professional-looking invoices that enhance a business’s credibility. Customizable templates allow for the addition of logos and personalized designs that align with the brand’s identity, giving clients a consistent experience.

Record Keeping:

Online invoicing software makes maintaining accurate records easier. It organizes invoices and related financial documents in one place, simplifying tax reporting and compliance. This systematic approach is invaluable at tax time, ensuring all financial data is easily accessible.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Always check your invoices for any missing details before sending them.
  • Avoid inconsistency in how you list your products or services.
  • Failing to include a detailed description can lead to disputes.
  • Neglecting to specify the total price inclusive of GST can cause confusion.
  • Mistakes in the invoice number sequence can disrupt your record-keeping.
  • Sending invoices late will likely delay your payments.
  • Overlooking the inclusion of your ABN might lead to tax issues.
  • Assuming all clients understand GST implications can lead to misunderstandings.
  • Relying solely on paper invoicing in an increasingly digital world may slow down processes.
  • Forgetting to verify customer details each time could lead to misdirected invoices.

Tips for Sole Trader Invoicing

  • Always clarify payment terms clearly at the bottom of each invoice.
  • Make use of professional-looking templates to reflect your brand positively.
  • Including a clear breakdown of services and prices helps prevent disputes.
  • Regular updates to your invoicing software ensure you stay on top of new features.
  • For GST-registered traders, including the statement “Tax Invoice” is necessary.
  • Sending invoices promptly after delivery of service ensures timely payments.
  • Keep your invoicing system synced with your tax obligations for easier management.
  • Use online invoicing tools to streamline the sending and tracking of invoices.
  • Educating clients about the invoicing process can help in managing expectations.
  • Maintaining detailed records supports accuracy during tax returns and audits.


Invoicing correctly is not just about getting paid, but about representing your business professionally and adhering to legal standards. By following the guidelines outlined, you can enhance your business’s financial health and client relationships. Have you found an invoicing method that works particularly well for your business? What tips would you share with fellow sole traders?


1. How can I ensure my invoices are paid on time?

State payment terms, offer various payment methods, and send invoices promptly after services are rendered.

2. What common mistakes should I avoid when invoicing as a sole trader?

Avoid incomplete information, delayed invoicing, and unclear descriptions of services that could delay payments.

3. What should I do if I’m not registered for GST but need to issue invoices?

You can issue regular invoices without the “Tax Invoice” label and without including GST.

4. How do I handle taxable and non-taxable items on the same invoice?

Mark each item as taxable or non-taxable to comply with ATO guidelines.

5. Are there templates available for sole trader invoices?

Yes, many online platforms offer templates specifically designed for sole traders in Australia.