What you need to track in your online invoice tracker.

Oct 18 2019 | PayPal editorial staff

For many small businesses, sending an invoice reminder to collect the occasional late payment is par for the course. You may think your trusty invoice book is enough to keep you organized, but you should consider taking your invoice tracker online.
Whether you choose to rely on a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or prefer the advantages of an automated invoice tracker, there’s a digital solution for nearly every type of business.

How to create an invoice tracker.

An easy way to create your own invoicing tracking template is by using an Excel spreadsheet. With an Excel spreadsheet, you can organize your billing in multiple ways. While a ledger is usually kept chronologically according to date, an online tracker can filter your invoices based on name, receivable, date, receipt number, and more. When creating your invoice tracking template, it’s a good idea to start by including the following:

  1. Invoice number. There are a variety of ways to assign invoice numbers, so choose the one that works best for your business. No matter how the number is formatted on the actual bill, consider using a standard number of digits. So, instead of entering numbers ‘99’ or ‘100,’ use ‘00099’ and ‘00100.’
  2. Customer. If you organize your customers by name, enter that information here. Some vendors assign repeat clients a unique number. If this is true for your business, make sure you include that number with the client name.
  3. Invoice date. While your bills may include dates for services, you generally won’t use a service date on your tracker template. For your Invoice Date, use the date that you issued the invoice.
  4. Due date. This is the date the total amount is due. Pro tip: In order to avoid confusion and potential late payments, it’s a good idea to list your payment terms directly on the invoice.
  5. Amount. The amount is the grand total due, including any taxes or fees for things like delivery.
  6. Amount paid. Even if your business doesn’t accept partial payments, it’s a good idea to keep track of the amount your client paid. You’ll be able to easily see when the transaction is complete and if you do end up processing a partial payment, you won’t need to make any changes to your template.
  7. Outstanding amount. This number may be different than the total, particularly if you accept partial payments or if your business collects late fees.
  8. Status. This column is particularly helpful when you want to see a list of outstanding accounts. Typically, the status of a bill will either be Current or Past Due.
Pro tip: If you want to automate your invoice tracker, PayPal Invoicing does the heavy lifting for you. The PayPal invoice tracker updates automatically to include each new bill and track its payment status. You’ll see the status of each invoice and have the ability to record payments, send reminders, and more, using a convenient drop-down menu.

Customize your invoice tracker. 

Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can think about customizing your invoice tracker to meet your specific needs. Does it make sense for your billing to include additional information about the customer? Do you have employees who made the sale or provided the service? When it comes to tailoring your tracker template, you might consider including the following things:
  1. Customer contact information. You probably won’t use this for tracking purposes, but having the customer’s phone number or email address on-hand will save you the hassle of digging up their information if you need to follow up or send a reminder.
  2. Point of contact. If your business deals with companies rather than individuals, you’ll likely have a point of contact within that company and may want to add that person’s name to your template.
  3.  Employee. For businesses that pay employees a commission, this column is probably a must-have. Even if your employees don’t earn a commission, it could be helpful to have an employee’s name attached to a sale, should you need any additional information.
  4. Reminder. On the rare occasion that you do need to send a reminder, this column is where you would record the date that you sent the reminder.
  5. Late fees. Depending on the payment terms for your business, late payments may incur an additional fee. Track those fees in this column.
  6. Past Due Age. No matter what your payment terms are, it’s a good idea to track how late an overdue payment is. If you work with a collection agency, this column is an absolute must-have, but even if you don’t, it’s an easy way to identify the clients who are habitually late payers. If a client is consistently behind, it might be time to consider breaking ties.

Send an invoice reminder. 

Online invoice tracking can be a big time-saver over a traditional ledger, but you’ll probably still have to do any following up manually. When you sign up for PayPal Invoicing, you’ll have the ability to send your reminders in just a few clicks; you can even schedule bills to be sent on a specific date.
With PayPal Invoicing, you'll have a dashboard where you can view the complete history of an invoice, accept payments from 200+ markets around the globe, and more. Even better, PayPal Invoicing can help you get paid faster by giving your customers an easy way to pay – even if they don’t have a PayPal account. For example, 79% of businesses using
PayPal Invoicing reported that they received payment on an invoice within a week from the time the invoice is sent out.1
No matter what kind of invoice tracker you use, organization is key. You’d hate to leave money on the table because of a messy ledger. PayPal Invoicing can help you stay organized, save time, and get paid.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
1Source: comScore, based on a survey of 1,226 US and Canadian small- and medium–sized business owne­­rs asked how long on average it takes to receive a payment on an invoice from the time the invoice is sent out, using their primary invoicing tool, December 2017. 320 of surveyed businesses are currently using PayPal. 

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Frequently asked questions.

Creating and sending the invoice is free, but when an invoice is paid online there is a fee per transaction. PayPal fees vary by country.
The Business app makes creating, editing, and updating invoices easy. To create a new invoice tap Create New Invoice either on the Home screen, or on the Invoicing screen. You can also tap + on the Invoicing screen.
When you create an invoice you can enter all the necessary transaction information such as to whom the invoice is going, the date, when it’s due, what it’s for and the pricing information. You can also customize any terms and conditions you may have, add a note to the customer, leave a memo for yourself, or add pictures. Finally, you can also save the invoice as a draft, edit or delete it, and of course send it to your customer.
Need to send the same invoice to multiple customers? Tap the invoice you created and then tap More. Tap Copy to duplicate the invoice and then edit the customer information on it as well as any other information. You can save the copy as a new invoice (it will automatically be titled the same but with a number on it) or send it.
As part of the invoice creation process, you can add to the app different items you sell or services you provide as well as multiple tax rates. Just tap Invoicing and then tap the cog.

See also:
Create Invoice Template
Construction Invoice Template

Sales Invoice Template
Contractor Invoice Template
Freelancer Invoice Template
Catering Invoice Template
Here's how to view the status of the PayPal invoices you send.
  1. Click Tools.
  2. Click Invoicing.
  3. Click "Manage Invoices."
Here you can see the status of all of your invoices. It may take several minutes for your invoices to appear.
You can view your invoices by going to the Invoicing section in your PayPal account. On this page, you have many options on how to find the specific invoice(s) you are looking for, how to sort them, and more.

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