Writing receipts and issuing them to customers is an essential part of any business. For businesses, receipts are critical records that show the money received and earned. It makes bookkeeping and tax-filing easier. For customers, receipts serve as proof of completed transactions, which they can also use for personal records.
There is no standard format or design when it comes to receipts. However, regardless of the structure, receipts usually contain the same information.
What is a Receipt?
A receipt is a document that a supplier or business owner provides to paying customers or clients. They serve as proof of purchase for customers.
While receipts vary in content and style, they typically show the following:
- Business name, address, and contact information
- Date of transaction
- Receipt number or reference number
- Goods or services sold
- The unit price of each item in the list
- Tax (VAT)
- Fees (shipping or extra fees)
- Total amount paid
- Payment method
- Return policy
Businesses usually get a Point of Sale (POS) system to generate printed receipts.
When do you need to issue a receipt?
You need to issue your customers a receipt whenever they pay for goods or services you rendered. We advise businesses to issue receipts to all customers for record-keeping purposes. If you have provided your customers with an invoice, then you may use it as a receipt by signing and dating it to show that it has been paid.
Receipts are essential documentation for bookkeeping and filing tax returns, so make sure to keep copies of them safely and in an organized manner.
What information should be included in a receipt?
Receipts differ from style and design. Most companies keep their receipts simple and straightforward, only emphasizing the important details such as the receipt number, products, prices, tax, and amount.
If you are a business owner or a service provider, your receipt should contain the following details:
- Your business information, including your business name, address, phone number, and email address
- The transaction date showing the day, month, and year
- A breakdown of the products or services with a brief description of each item, quantity sold, and unit price
- The total amount of the transaction with the tax and fees shown separately
- The method of payment — cash, debit, or credit card
How can I issue a receipt?
You can issue receipts in two ways: digitally or on paper. You can have it handwritten or printed.
Many businesses now choose digital receipts because they are fast, efficient, and cost-effective. They purchase a cash register with built-in printers for generating receipts. They also use point of sale systems to program tax rates, discounts, and codes straight to the register, so they don’t have to do the calculations manually.
Further, more entrepreneurs choose to supply electronic receipts—and this option is growing insanely popular. Once generated, business owners send it to their customers through email.
If you wish to supply a well-formatted receipt, you may use any of our free receipt templates. You may choose to print them or send them straight to your customer’s email. More businesses prefer sending receipts through email because it’s practical—both in terms of time and money.
If you don’t have a point of sale system or software to produce a digital receipt, you may opt for handwritten receipts. Don’t worry—they work just as well. You can purchase a receipt book from a stationer. They usually offer two copies per receipt: one for you and the other for the customer.
On the other hand, you may download any of our receipt templates. After downloading a template, customize it by adding your business logo and details to make it officially yours. Print several copies of the receipt template or keep them on your computer and fill out the fields before printing.
Do you need to keep all your receipts?
Keeping records of all your receipts is highly recommended. They are critical documentation of your transactions—they serve as the proof of purchase and are essential for filing tax returns (if your business is registered for VAT, you need copies of your VAT receipts to claim them back).
Plus, receipts can help settle disputes, especially when they state the terms, conditions, and return policies.
If you are a consumer, we advise keeping records of your receipts, too. With the help of receipts, you may review the items you have purchased and assess if you have received them completely. Receipts are also essential for bookkeeping purposes. If you want to manage your finances more prudently, we advise keeping all your receipts.
How to make digital receipts?
Digital receipts are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. You can produce digital receipts using software such as Microsoft Word or Spreadsheet. Google Docs and Google Sheets are also feasible options—they’re free, easily accessible, and available across multiple platforms.
If you scramble over these tools, you may use any of our free receipt templates. After downloading the template, all you need to do is to fill out the fields, and you’re good to go.
Q: I need digital invoices, too. Where can I get them?
Invoices are documents that state the goods or services rendered by the supplier. It contains information such as the items sold, price, discount, tax, and the total payable amount. The customer can pay the invoice later, depending on the agreement of both parties.
Spark Invoice Maker is a smart app that enables you to create digital invoices, which you can print or send to your customers electronically. Spark Invoice makes invoicing quick and easy, so you don’t have to waste your precious time puzzling around Microsoft Word or Spreadsheet.
This invoice generator will automatically perform the calculations, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting the amount wrong. It’s user-friendly and is perfect for any type of business—big or small.
When you download the app, you need to add your business details (name, address, contact number, and logo), customer’s information, a list of the goods or services purchased by the customer, the unit price of each item, and additional notes (optional). Spark Invoice will instantly generate a well-formatted, professional invoice in PDF.
You may then choose to send the invoice directly to your customer through email or other messaging platforms from the app. Or, you may save it to your preferred cloud storage provider, then download the receipt in PDF.
Q: I need to make estimates/quotations. What can I use?
Spark Invoice Maker isn’t just an invoice-generating app. You may also use it to create estimates.
Note: An estimate or quotation is a piece of a document stating the cost of the products or services the supplier offers—customers who look for options or want to compare prices between companies usually as for estimates.
One of the best things about Spark Invoice is that you can instantly turn your estimates into an invoice—all it takes is a tap. It saves you a lot of time from inputting the same information again.
Receipts, Quotations, and Invoices: What Are the Differences?
Some may confuse receipts, quotations, and invoices from one another. However, these three documents are different from each other and should be used differently in various situations.
A quotation shows the amount of the products or services the client has to pay should he choose to continue the transaction. It helps customers/consumers to be financially prepared before taking the deal.
On the other hand, an invoice states the total payable amount by the client. It shows a breakdown of the products or services provided by the supplier. A customer can pay the supplier within a certain period after the invoice has been issued. Nevertheless, the payment methods and options vary, depending on the agreement of the supplier and customer.
Some businesses charge late fees when the customer fails to pay within a given time frame. Charging late fees is a great way to encourage customers to pay on time. Another option is to provide discounts to early-paying customers.
Now let’s talk about receipts. Receipts are documents that a supplier provides to a customer once the transaction has been completed. That means the customer must have paid the total amount. If the client only pays a partial amount, the supplier can provide a cash receipt, stating the amount received and displaying the balance amount.
The receipt should also include the payment method the client has chosen — cash, debit, or credit card.
To help you better understand the difference between these three, let’s take a look at this situation:
Ross is looking for a new set of security cameras for his new home. He contacted Company A and asked about how much their security camera costs. Company A said their security set costs $1800, including installation.
Thinking he might find cheaper options, Ross contacted Company B, Company C, and Company D and asked for quotations.
He received the following:
Company A: $1,800; includes five cameras and an installation fee.
Company B: $1,700; includes four cameras, an installation fee, and a 1-year warranty.
Company C: $1,400; includes five cameras + $200 installation fee.
Company D: $1,200; includes three cameras, an installation fee, and a 1-year warranty.
Ross picked Company B, and just a day after, company B sent him an invoice showing the items included in the package, along with their price. Since Ross is a first-time customer, Company B decided to give him a 10% discount, indicated in the invoice.
Company B has given Ross two weeks to settle the payment. After making his cash payment, Company B issued him a receipt as proof of payment.
Receipts are an important part of a business. It helps you keep track of your profit, making cash flow management much more manageable. Receipts serve as proof of payment and are essential for bookkeeping and filing tax returns. If you haven’t been issuing receipts, then you’re doing your business all wrong.
You may produce receipts in handwritten form, printed, or electronic format. Notably, most businesses today choose paperless, electronic receipts because they’re convenient and reduce expenses.
If you need a receipt template to print out or use digitally, you may use any of our free receipt templates or cash receipt templates. Download your preferred design, and then customize it by adding your business information and logo. All you need to do is to fill in the fields, and then it’s all set.
In summary, receipts, invoices, and quotations are different and must be used in different situations:
Quotations: statements that show the prices of goods and services that the client must pay should he go through with them.
Invoices: a document that shows the total amount of goods and services that the supplier or freelancer has rendered to the client. An invoice is not always necessary.
Receipts: a document that suppliers issue to customers once they make the payment. Receipts are necessary for every completed transaction.