How to Convert an Estimate to an Invoice in QuickBooks
By Jeff Grundy
Unless you're very fortunate, chances are good that a number of other businesses offer products or services similar to those provided by your company. Consequently, your customers may shop around a bit and request estimates before making a final purchasing decision. Once you create an estimate, being able to convert it to an invoice quickly lets you avoid repetitive data entry and reduces waiting time for your customer. With QuickBooks, creating an invoice from an existing estimate requires only a few mouse clicks.
Preparing to Create Estimates
Launch QuickBooks and log in as an administrator. Click "Edit" on the menu bar, then click "Preferences" on the slide-out menu.
Click "Jobs & Estimates" in the Preferences window.
Click the "Company Preferences" tab, then click "Yes" next to the "Do you create estimates?" option. Click the "OK" button to save the changes.
Create an Estimate
Click "Customers" on the menu bar, then click "Create Estimates."
Select the customer using the "Customer" drop-down button or enter the name and address information manually.
Enter line items in the estimate just as you would when creating a normal invoice or receipt.
Click "Save" on the toolbar to save the estimate.
Convert Estimate to Invoice
Click "Customer Center" on the toolbar, then click the "Customers & Jobs" tab.
Click the name of the customer for whom you created the estimate. Click the "Show" button, then click "Estimates."
Double-click the estimate you created for the customer. The estimate opens in the QuickBooks window.
Click the "Create Invoice" button at the top of the estimate form. QuickBooks converts the estimate and displays the customer information and line items in a new invoice window. Edit the invoice line items as needed.
Click the "Print" button to print the invoice immediately. Alternatively, enable the "To be printed" check box to print the invoice in a batch with others later.
Click "Save" to save the invoice.
If you do progress invoicing (also known as progress billing or partial billing), you can create invoices from an estimate in stages instead of creating one for the full amount of the estimate. To be able to do this, though, you must click the "Yes" button for the "Do you do progress invoicing?" option on the "Jobs and Estimates" tab of the Preferences window. In the Jobs and Estimates window, you must also specify an option for printing zero amounts on progress invoices. If you want zero amount line items (those for which you are not yet charging the customer) to appear on the invoices, click "Yes." If you want only line items for which you are requesting payment, select the "No" option. After enabling the Progress Invoice option, just zero out line items on the invoice for which you don’t yet want to bill the customer.
Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.