Proforma invoice templates

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When misunderstandings happen between friends, it’s rarely anything that an apology won’t fix.
In business, it’s different. When you order ceramic tiles for your customer’s bathroom but they want marble instead, it pushes the completion date back, which isn’t a good look for your company- even if the misunderstanding is on their part.
Proforma invoices help you avoid these hassles by making sure you and the customer are on the same page before work begins. On this page, you’ll find some proforma invoice templates in Word and Excel format, all ready for you to customize and use.

Choose your preferred template layout

When misunderstandings happen between friends, it’s rarely anything that an apology won’t fix.
In business, it’s different. When you order ceramic tiles for your customer’s bathroom but they want marble instead, it pushes the completion date back, which isn’t a good look for your company- even if the misunderstanding is on their part.
Proforma invoices help you avoid these hassles by making sure you and the customer are on the same page before work begins. On this page, you’ll find some proforma invoice templates in Word and Excel format, all ready for you to customize and use.

What is a proforma invoice?

Pro forma is a Latin term that translates roughly as ‘for form.’ Proforma invoices are quotes or estimates that you send to a customer before you ship product or do any work. By providing this information up front, you and the customer know what to expect and misunderstandings are much less likely to occur.

Other benefits include:

  • They provide a degree of commitment between you and the buyer.

    Although they aren’t legally binding, proforma invoices are an informal sign of commitment between you and your customer, leaving you more confident about the sale.

  • They facilitate sales with government agencies

    If you sell to the government, there is typically a detailed approval process. A proforma invoice provides the client with all the details they need to get the final sale approved.

  • They make international shipping easier

    Many businesses use proforma invoices with trusted overseas customers because the document provides all the details needed for the shipment to clear customs. After the shipment has been received, they send the customer a regular invoice.

  • They support consignment sales.

    Selling on consignment is always challenging because you can only invoice for items after they sell. With a proforma invoice, you can provide the customer with information about all the items shipped and then send a regular invoice once the items have sold.

What are the contents of a proforma invoice?

In terms of content, proforma invoices are mostly the same as a regular invoice. Depending on what you’re selling, they may include:

  • Company name and address
  • Customer name and address
  • Shipping address
  • The items or services purchased
  • Price per unit or service
  • Quantity ordered
  • Shipping weight
  • Freight type (air vs. ground)
  • Transport charges
  • Payment details
  • Taxes
  • Any eligible discounts
  • Terms and conditions of sale
  • Additional details that may apply to the translation, such as export charges

FAQ

  • What are the differences between actual invoices and proforma invoices?

    For a document to be a legal invoice, it should be labeled as such and include a unique invoice number. Proforma invoices are labeled as proforma instead of regular invoices and do not have an invoice number. Other differences include:
    ● You can’t record proforma invoices under a customer’s accounts payable.
    ● Proforma invoices are sent before the goods or services are provided while invoices are usually sent afterwards
    ● Invoices remain valid until they have been paid, whereas proforma invoices are only in effect for a brief period of time

  • What differentiate a proforma invoice from an estimate?

    Although proforma invoices and estimates are used in similar ways, they aren’t the same document. You send a proforma invoice when a customer is committed to buying but the details are not yet finalized. On the other hand, you send them an estimate when they are making an enquiry and want more information before agreeing to buy.

  • What is the difference between a proforma invoice vs. purchase order?

    While proforma invoices are quotes related to a sale, nothing has been confirmed yet and the details are subject to change. A purchase order is an official confirmation of a sale, making it a legally binding agreement.

  • What is the difference between a tax invoice and a proforma invoice?

    A tax invoice is used specifically with international shipments to indicate how much foreign sales tax was applied. A proforma invoice, on the other hand, itemizes the products or services that you are providing to the customer. Unlike tax invoices, you can’t use proforma invoices to reclaim VAT.

  • Is the proforma invoice binding upon the parties in a supply transaction?

    No. Although they include all of the details that will appear on the final invoice, it’s still a preliminary document and, as such, is not legally binding. Customers are not required to pay the amount listed or even buy from you at all should they change their mind.

  • Can a client negotiate price and other details in a proforma invoice?

    Yes. Although a proforma invoice provides all important sales information, it is not a final invoice, so a client can negotiate price and other details that appear on the document.