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When Do You Use Sales Receipts? Invoices? Statements?

Updated: Mar 13

QuickBooks offers multiple types of sales forms that are appropriate for different situations. Here’s a look at when they’re used and how to create them.

Are you familiar with all of the sales forms available to you in QuickBooks Desktop, and what their uses are? There are three types that all versions of QuickBooks Desktop have: sales receipts, invoices, and statements. Some versions will also include sales orders. In this article, we'll explore each sales form and how to use it.

Using Sales Receipts for On-the-Spot Sales

Depending on the type of business you own, you may never need to create a sales receipt for a customer. These are only appropriate if you receive payment at the same time a customer receives a product or service from you.

You send a sales receipt when you get paid at the time you deliver a product or service.

To create a sales receipt, click Create Sales Receipts on the homepage or open the Customers menu and select Create Sales Receipts. You’ll see a form that looks like the partial one pictured above. Click the down arrow in the CUSTOMER:JOB field and choose the correct customer or job.

TIP: If this sale is part of a new job for an existing customer, navigate to the customer record and add the job before you create the sales receipt. Go to Customers | Customer Center and right-click on the customer’s name. Select Add Job and at least enter a JOB NAME. You can complete the record later.

Select a CLASS if you use them and the payment type. Then complete the fields in the table below to describe the sale. Save the transaction and print or email to the customer.

Using Invoices for Payments that Don't Occur at the Time of Sale

If a customer does not pay you at the time of the sale, an invoice is the appropriate form to send them. Invoices can be sent before or after the service or product is delivered; it just depends on your business model. Select Create Invoices on either the homepage or in the Customers menu.

Invoice forms contain more fields than sales receipts.

In the image above, you’ll notice that invoices are more complex than sales receipts and require more data entry. You select customers and items as you do for a receipt, but there are other fields you may need to complete, like P.O. NUMBER, TERMS, and VIA (shipping method). You’ll also have to designate a Tax code if sales tax is required on any sales form. Your options will appear at the bottom of the invoice if you’ve set up sales tax (we can help with this).

TIP: QuickBooks comes with a default set of fields in its sales forms. You have some control over these. Let us know if you want to learn how to edit and delete fields from your forms. We also have a blog post here to help get you started.

Comprehensive Statements

Statements are lists of transactions (invoices, payments, etc.) that you’ve entered in QuickBooks. You can send individual statements or prepare multiple simultaneously. You might want to send them when a customer:

  • Is past due on payments

  • Wants a record of payments, invoices, and sales receipts

You can prepare and send statements to one customer or a group that shares a specific characteristic.

Click Statements on the homepage or go to Customers | Create Statements. A window like the partial one shown above will open. First, make sure the Statement Date (“as-of” date) is correct. Then you can choose between designating a Statement Period or isolating customers who have transactions that are a specific number of days past due.

You can further define your group of statements by selecting from the options in the image above, such as All Customers or Multiple Customers (this allows you to choose from a drop-down list). There are additional options displayed on the right side of this window (not pictured), like Show invoice items details on statements and Do not create statements with a zero balance. You can View Selected Customers when you’re ready to print or email and Preview the statements. They’ll appear one at a time in a vertical column.

Reviewing your Accounts Receivable

We’re heading into a very busy time of the year, so now may be an excellent time to run an A/R Aging Detail report to see the status of your invoices and send statements to past-due customers before they get wrapped up in their own fall activities. We’re available to answer any questions you might have about sales forms – or any of QuickBooks’ other features.

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