Some business owners may need to use estimates in QuickBooks but some may need to use sales orders to accomplish sales. The estimate feature is in QuickBooks Pro, but you have to use Premier or Enterprise if you want to use the sales order feature.
Estimates – Estimates are good to use if you have to provide a quote to a customer which the customer can accept or reject. Once accepted, you can invoice a customer using the estimate. If you have progress invoicing turned on, you can even invoice for a certain percent of the estimate or for specific items. If you create a subsequent invoice based on the original estimate, the progress invoice will show the original estimated amount, the previous amount invoiced, and the current amount due.This is a handy feature for construction or consulting firms.
Sales Orders – Sales orders are good to use if you sell inventoried products, such as books or clothes. You can also use sales orders to track services. When you are ready to invoice a customer, you can choose one or more sales invoices to include on one invoice. The invoice will show the sales order numbers, the original amount ordered, amounts previously invoiced, items backordered, and items currently invoiced.
Differences – An estimate is used when the customer has not yet accepted your product or service, whereas the sales order is used when the customer has definitely accepted your product or service. You can create a progress invoice with the estimate, but only for one estimate. With sales orders you can choose which items to invoice, like the estimate, but you can include multiple sales orders. Sales orders pull the item from inventory to give you an accurate idea of the amount available to sell, but estimates do not. You can generate estimate vs. actual reports for estimates. You can generate open sales order reports for sales orders.
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