Let’s get you paid! Your Wave account includes sophisticated invoicing features like estimates, recurring invoices, automatic reminders and more, but it all comes down to one thing: Getting money into your pocket for the work you do, and capturing that information in your accounting records.
In a nutshell, the process looks like this:
- Create the invoice.
- Turn on credit card processing (optional).
- Approve the invoice.
- Send the invoice.
- Record a payment.
Along the way, the first time you create an invoice, you should also:
- Customize your invoices with your logo.
- Add a customer.
- Add applicable sales taxes.
- Edit your invoice columns (optional).
How to create your invoice
- From the Invoice page, click Create an Invoice.
- The first time you try to create an invoice, you’ll be prompted to customize your invoices to make them look great. (Did you miss the prompt? You can always get back to the customization settings by clicking Settings.)
- There are three main aspects to customize on your invoices: Add your logo, choose a template, and pick an accent color.
- After you’ve saved your customizations, you’ll land on the Create Invoice page. This page has three sections:
- The invoice header for the invoice title and summary along with business information.
- Invoice information for whom the invoice is for, along with payment terms and references.
- The invoice line items, like what you’re selling and for how much.
- In the business information section, you can add or edit things like your logo or business address. You can also change how your invoice is titled: For example, maybe you want the header to read “Tax Invoice.” This is optional, and if you already customized your invoice in the previous step, you may not need to do anything here.
- In the customer information section, click Add a Customer.
- Click Create a new customer, and add the details of who the invoice is going to. Name and email are the only essential fields. Wave will save this customer information for you to use again in future if you need it.
On the right side of the invoice, here’s what’s going on:
- Invoice Number: By default, Wave starts at #1, and subsequent invoices will automatically be numbered 2, 3, 4, etc.
- P.O./S.O.: If you need to specify a purchase order (P.O.) or sales order (S.O.) number, you can do so. This is optional.
- Invoice date: Wave will automatically use today’s date, but you can overwrite that.
- Payment due: By default, your invoice is due upon receipt (i.e., today’s date). You can modify the due date for the current invoice right here. To change the default due date for all invoices, check out Invoice Customization under Settings.
Now the good stuff: What’s the invoice about?
- In the invoice details section, enter the item name, description, quantity, and price. If you just said to yourself, “I don’t need a quantity field on my invoice!” or “I don’t need the description!” just hold tight — you’ll customize that in a minute. For now, put in the basic information.
- If you already added sales tax in the Accounting section (see page xx), click the Tax field to choose it. If you haven’t added your taxes, click “Select a Tax”; then enter the tax name and tax rate in the provided fields.
- If you have more items to add to this invoice, click Add an Item and repeat the steps.
You can save your work at any time after the required fields have been entered, but don’t worry — nothing will get sent to your customers, or recorded in your accounting, until you approve the draft. We’ll get to that soon.
How to edit your columns
Maybe you send invoices that itemize products, like 12 red velvet cupcakes, at a price of $3 each:
Maybe instead of products, you offer hourly services, like personal fitness training at a rate of $75/hour:
Or maybe you just want to invoice for a whole job, like a $5,000 kitchen renovation:
The “Edit columns” feature lets you customize your invoices for a perfect fit.
Here’s how you do it:
- When creating/editing an invoice, click the “Edit columns” tab.
- Choose the column titles name that fit best for your business (like “Products” vs. “Services”).
- Select which, if any, columns you want to hide on the finished invoice.
- If you want all your future invoices to have all the same labels, click “Apply these settings for all future invoices.”
Note: Some of the information you may choose to hide, like Price or Amount, is still important to the accounting that Wave does under the hood, even if you don’t want to show that information to your customers. So while you’re creating or editing an invoice, you will still see the columns you’ve hidden from your customer’s finished invoice. When you preview the invoice, or send it to your customer, the hidden sections will disappear again.
How to accept credit cards (turn on Payments)
Want to get paid faster? Accept payment by credit card! Getting set up only takes a few seconds, and fees are just 2.9% + 30¢ (in most countries). Here’s how:
- While you’re creating your invoice, click the Accept Credit Cards button at the bottom left of the navigation page, then click Enable Credit Card Payments.
- That’s it! Now when you send your invoice by email, your customers will see a standard payment form where they can enter their credit card details on the spot.
Later, we’ll walk through a couple of additional steps required for Wave to transfer the payments to you. For now, let’s finish with your invoice.
How (and why) to approve a draft
So far, you’ve created and saved an invoice, but it’s still just a draft. That means it’s stored in Wave, but it’s not yet part of your financial records, and it hasn’t been delivered to your customer.
To fully activate your invoice, the next step is to approve the draft. Once you’re confident that the invoice you created is good, just click the Approve Draft button and you’re done.
Why does Wave include this step? To give you more control, including the option to create a bunch of invoices before you’re ready to send them, and before they count toward the income in your accounting.
How to send your invoice
Like approving a draft, sending an invoice is pretty simple.
- Click the Send Invoice button.
- Enter your client’s email (if you haven’t yet).
- Enter a message for your client.
- Click Send.
Done! Your invoice is now on its way to your customer, and the money you’ve just invoiced for instantly becomes part of your accounting records.
When you send your invoices this way, not only will your customers have the opportunity to pay you by credit card (if you turned on Payments), but Wave will be able to track when your customer has viewed the invoice! You’ll see the status of the invoice change to Viewed.
- Skip Sending: If you’re creating the invoice but will not be emailing it to your customer (maybe you’re printing it and delivering the invoice by hand), click the Skip Sending button so you can move down to the next steps of the process.
- Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo: You also have the option to send the invoice using your own email account. Click Send Invoice, then select the “Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo” tab and follow the instructions. Wave will automatically create an email that includes a link to the invoice you’re sending.
How to record a payment
The last part of the invoice process is the best part: Getting paid and recording your payments. If you enabled online credit card payments, and your customers pay online, Wave will record their payment automatically, and you won’t have to do anything at all in this step — your invoicing and accounting records will update themselves. Just sit back and relax!
However, if your customer pays with cash, check, or bank transfer, or they show up at your door with a credit card in hand, you’ll need to record the payment manually. Here’s how:
- Click Record Payment.
You will be presented the option to “Charge a Credit Card” or to “Record a Manual Payment.” Let’s start with the credit card.
Charge a Credit Card
- Click Charge a Credit Card.
- Enter the customer’s credit card information. You can save the card for future payments by clicking the check box at the bottom.
- Click Submit Payment. Your customer’s card will be charged, your invoice will be marked as paid, and your accounting information will be updated automatically.
Record a Manual Payment
- If you receive any form of payment other than credit card, click Record a Manual Payment.
- Fill in the obvious fields. “Payment method” means how your customer chose to pay. “Payment account” means where you put that payment: For example, did you deposit it into a savings account? Or did you just put the cash into your cash box (“Cash on hand”)?
- You can add a memo on the payment record if you want, and then Submit.
Congratulations! You’re all done with this invoice, your records are up to date, and life is good.