If you’ve ever scoped out the prices for stand-alone invoicing tools, you might still be in shock. How can such a simple thing be so expensive? I don’t know. But I do know this – if you run your site on WordPress, using a WordPress invoice plugin can save you a ton of money on those recurring monthly fees that other invoicing tools charge.
Best of all, with the plugin I’m going to use for this tutorial, you may not even need to spend a penny. If that sounds intriguing, keep reading to learn how to set up a WordPress invoice plugin called Sliced Invoices and why it’s a good idea.
- 1 Why use a WordPress invoice plugin?
- 2 How to invoice clients from WordPress using Sliced Invoices
- 3 Wrapping things up
Why use a WordPress invoice plugin?
There are already plenty of fancy invoice tools, like Freshbooks, for example, so why should you use a WordPress invoice plugin instead?
First off, you’ll save money. I already mentioned it, but it’s true. With a WordPress invoice plugin, you can get started either:
- For free
- For a one time payment
Whereas with something like Freshbooks, you’re likely looking at $25 per month for as long as you use the tool.
The only reason Freshbooks might be better than a WordPress invoice plugin is because Freshbooks still has access to PayPal Business’ $0.50 flat-rate payments. But that only applies to payments between US bank accounts. So if you’re billing people outside the US or need to accept credit card payments, there’s little reason to continue paying for Freshbooks.
Second, with a WordPress invoice plugin, you own your data. With third-party services, you’re trusting those services with your data. With an invoice plugin, you’re in sole control of your data. And as long as you back up your site and follow WordPress security best practices, it will stay that way.
How to invoice clients from WordPress using Sliced Invoices
I chose Sliced Invoices for this tutorial because:
- The core plugin is free
- It’s easy to use
- It has good developer support, which means any potential bugs get squashed fast.
With the free version of the plugin, you’ll be able to send out full invoices and collect payments via PayPal, which is enough for most billing needs.
Step 1: Install and activate Sliced Invoices
To get started, install the plugin and activate it.
Once it’s activated, you can navigate to the Sliced Invoices dashboard by clicking on the new tab in your WordPress admin sidebar:
Step 2: Configure Sliced Invoices
A nice thing about Sliced Invoices is that you don’t actually need to handle an awful lot of setting up before you can start using it.
There are just a couple of things that need to be configured. I’ll take you through them:
First off, in the General tab, you should choose the start and end date of your fiscal year. And you should also set pre-defined line items. These are a nice way to streamline the invoice creation process. Add each pre-defined line item on a separate line following the format specified by Sliced Invoices.
You can also configure the footer if you want, but it’s not necessary unless you don’t like the default message.
Here’s everything discussed above:
Then, hop over to the Business tab and enter the basic details for your business. All the fields are pretty self-explanatory:
On the next tab, Quotes, you can configure how your quotes work. If your business doesn’t need the quote feature, you can ignore it. Otherwise, you can set default messages as well as how long quotes are valid for:
The Invoices tab serves the same function as the Quotes tab, except for invoices. A few highlights are, choosing when invoices are due, and how you want to increment invoice numbers:
The next tab, Payments, is super important. First, you need to choose your currency and tax details:
And further down the page, you need to configure your payment methods. You can either add manual payment details or set up PayPal:
To find your PayPal API Username, Password and Signature, you can follow this guide from PayPal. The process is a bit involved, but not especially complicated.
You can also purchase premium add-ons for additional payment options like Stripe and 2Checkout.
For the rest of the tabs, Emails, PDF, Translate, etc. you don’t really need to do anything. You can peruse them if you want, but it’s not necessary.
Step 3: Send your first invoice
Now that you’ve got everything configured, you’re ready to send your first invoice. To do that, go to Invoices → Add New Invoice:
There, you need to give your invoice a title, description, and fill in the various line items.
And finally, you need to fill out all the information on the right side. Since this is your first invoice, you’ll need to add a new client. Then, fill out details like allowed payment methods, tax rates, and anything else pertinent.
Then, click the Publish button.
Now, you should see your invoice in the Invoices tab. To send it to your client, you just need to click on the email icon:
(If you purchase a paid add-on, you can also generate PDF versions of your invoice from this dashboard.)
Your client will get an email directing them to view your invoice online:
And when your client clicks, they’ll see this interface:
That’s pretty much it when it comes to creating and sending out invoices, but Sliced Invoices also offers some other neat features:
Checking the status of your invoices
Once you send out some invoices, you can always check their status in the Invoices tab:
You can also easily filter or export invoices by their status using the links at the top.
Viewing income reports
Another nice thing about Sliced Invoices is that you can quickly view reports for the value of invoices you’ve sent out by going to Sliced Invoices → Reports:
Wrapping things up
As you can see, using a WordPress invoice plugin like Sliced Invoices is pretty simple. From install to sending your first invoice only takes about 10-15 minutes. And if you’re okay with email invoices and PayPal for Internet payments, you won’t need to spend a dime on your invoice solution.
So if you’re already paying 3% transaction fee on your invoices, try a WordPress invoice plugin over a service that charges a monthly fee. You’ll save money and have more control over your financial information.
Do you have any questions on how to set up and use Sliced Invoices? Feel free to speak up in the comments.