The transaction parameters, such as the selling price, discounts, and delivery schedules, are typically negotiated before signing the contract. Preliminary invoices displaying agreed-upon deliverables are good practice for the company when this discussion is complete. The proforma invoice serves as a prior agreement and is referred to as such.

Before we get into details of what is a proforma invoice, Invoicing may not be the most fun part of operating a company. Still, its value cannot be overstated: it ensures that your firm can keep a steady flow of income. 

To establish excellent business procedures in your firm, you must understand the many kinds of invoices that exist. An overview of the proforma invoice and how it might benefit your company using online invoicing software is provided below.

Almost all organizations deal with invoices in some capacity, whether they issue them or receive them from vendors with the help of invoicing templates. Invoicing is a crucial aspect of operating a company, enabling you to be paid on time, manage your revenues and spending, and prepare your books for Tax Day.

What is a proforma invoice?

A proforma invoice is a tentative invoice or estimated invoice that is used to request payment from a committed client for products or services prior to delivery. Using online invoicing software, a proforma invoice describes the items, the total amount due, and other transaction data.

A proforma invoice may be used to propose the terms of a prospective transaction if, for instance, payment is needed in advance to guarantee finance is secured before the production of products or delivery of services.

When can a business generate a proforma invoice?

Remember that a proforma is often provided to a customer or client when they have committed to purchase from you but cannot be sent an official invoice since the final details are still being finalized. After obtaining the customer’s approval, you deliver the products and issue a formal invoice using online invoicing software.

For a better understanding of how a proforma fits into the sales process, consider the following typical invoice types:

1. Commercial receipt

Commercial receipt-proforma invoice

In international shipments, a commercial invoice indicates to the client and customs authorities what is being delivered, who is selling and purchasing, the date and conditions of sale, the amount and weight of the products, and other pertinent information. 

Commercial invoices are used to determine the monetary worth of the exchanged products and any taxes that may apply to the shipment.

2. Prepayment invoice

Prepayment invoice-proforma invoice

The goal of a proforma invoice is to display the estimated cost of the products or services to enable the buyer to decide whether to proceed with the transaction.

3. Sales receipt

Sales receipt-proforma invoiceAs soon as the delivery of products or services is completed, a sales invoice is sent in order to secure payment. In addition to being a payment request, it is a tax document that, if it contains VAT, may be referred to as a tax invoice. The business may use an invoicing template for the same.

4. Credit note

Suppose anything goes wrong, such as a broken item or a spelling error or some other problem. in such a circumstance, the original sales invoice may be reimbursed in whole, partially, or by way of a credit note that can be used to future purchases.

The relation of proforma invoices with taxes / VAT

A proforma invoice does not determine the tax implications of a transaction. As an example, suppose you are a provider of raw leather supplies. Before confirming the exact dimensions, you must check the sizes of each leather skin in the warehouse because they vary.

A consumer who has inquired about a particular item receives a proforma invoice. On the proforma, you specify every aspect of the deal. The tax point has not yet happened; thus, you would not utilize the data on the proforma in your tax accounting at this time.

The consumer confirms that they want to proceed and submits payment. Then, a final sales invoice is issued. This invoice’s date serves as the tax point for your VAT return.

Proforma Invoice vs Final Invoice: Here Is What You Need to Know

Is a proforma invoice enforceable?

Although a proforma invoice made using online invoicing software contains much of the same information as a final sales invoice, it does not have the same legal weight and should not be used for accounting or a legally binding contract.

In many ways, a proforma invoice resembles a quote or estimate. Clients are not compelled to pay the amount specified on the proforma. Neither the customer’s nor your accounts receivable include the outstanding balance. You cannot recover VAT using a proforma.

A proforma invoice may be canceled? 


Due to the fact that proforma invoices are not legally binding documents, they do not need to be cancelled. Like a quote document, no action is necessary to modify or cancel the proforma invoice if the transaction does not proceed.

This means that customers can change their minds and decide not to proceed with a purchase even after receiving a proforma invoice. Therefore, it is usually advisable to keep visibility over every facet of your incoming and leaving payments to know how a canceled transaction may affect cash flow.

Also Read: Commercial Invoice Vs. Proforma Invoice: What’s the Difference?


Proforma invoices, which allow the buyer an opportunity to evaluate the terms of the contract before the sale is finalized, are an efficient approach to expedite the quote-to-cash process. Consider utilizing proforma invoices and online invoicing software when your business grows quickly. In addition, you are seeking methods to streamline your billing process.

Get in touch with us at or +1-805-491-9393 for a free trial of our online invoice software.

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