2 min read
Most invoices are sent to customers once goods and services have already been provided. Yet sometimes you need to send an invoice without having the full picture just yet. This type of request for payment is called a proforma invoice, used commonly in the service or project-based industries. Here’s how to generate and send an online proforma invoice to your customers.
What is a proforma invoice?
Before discussing how to generate one online, first things first: what is a proforma invoice? This is a document that the seller sends to the buyer. It’s similar to a quote or estimate, detailing all the costs associated with a service or product before delivery. However, it’s more binding than a generic quote. When you send a proforma invoice as a seller, you’re essentially confirming that you’ll be providing these specific goods or services at specific prices. It’s a confirmed purchase order sent before delivery, that both parties can agree upon.
When should you use an online proforma invoice?
Normally, an invoice is sent at the completion of a project or transaction. It serves as a bill for the goods and services, with a breakdown of what has been delivered and the total amount due.
By contrast, a proforma invoice is sent before the products are shipped out or work completed. While a normal invoice is a request for payment, a proforma invoice is sent to make sure the buyer and seller agree regarding cost.
It’s useful for designers, architects, caterers, and other professionals who are preparing a project with multiple elements. For example, imagine that you’re an event planner. A client asks you to plan an anniversary party, so you pull together some decorating ideas, catering menus, and entertainment possibilities. These services are listed in the proforma invoice along with their cost for client approval.
How to send a proforma invoice online
To generate and send an online proforma invoice, you can use invoicing software or online proforma invoice generators. Pick and choose from a selection of templates, fill in your details, and send the document in PDF form to your customer. This allows the customer to approve the invoice more efficiently, so that you can work on delivering the goods and services.
How to use an online proforma invoice generator
There are numerous proforma invoice generators available to create and issue your documents. You’ll find a list of fields to fill in with the required details. This includes things like date, client contact information, business contact information, services, and costs. Look for invoice generators that include room for customisation so you can work in your own brand elements. This adds a professional touch.
Step 1: Enter your company name, contact details, and address into the proforma invoice generator.
Step 2: Enter your buyer’s name and contact details.
Step 3: List the products and services with estimated prices.
Step 4: List all relevant details regarding taxes, shipping fees, and other charges as well as your payment terms and conditions.
From there, you’ll be able to view a preview of the document. Read it carefully, checking for any errors, before sending it to your client electronically or downloading as a PDF file.
While using an online proforma invoice generator is handy if you only need to issue the occasional invoice, for regular billing you’ll want to use invoicing and accounting software. Automating the process helps save the time you’d spend on manually filling each field of the generator. You’ll be able to fast-track the invoicing process with saved client details and payment information.
GoCardless works together with over 300 partners, including top accounting software like Xero to make short work of generating online proforma invoices. Simply pick and choose the template you want using accounting software. You can then set up automatic payment with direct debit. This allows you to take recurring or one-off payments directly from your customer’s bank accounts, settling proforma invoices quickly and easily.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.