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Proforma invoice vs. completed invoice template

When we talk about invoice templates, it’s usually understood that we’re referring to the process of filling in the details of your sale. That first step in creating a fully completed invoice that can be emailed to your customer and get you paid.

However, it is also possible that your invoice template can lead to a draft, or proforma invoice. A proforma invoice is not the same as a completed invoice, and there are some small but important differences between the two.

Creating a proforma invoice or a completed invoice is quick and simple with Debitoor invoicing software

Differences between proforma invoice & completed invoice

In a previous blogpost, we’ve addressed when a proforma invoice should be used in your invoicing process. But it is worth reminding you that a proforma has no official or legal value, unlike a completed invoice. It can in no way replace an invoice.

This distinction can be seen when it comes to the content of the document. The main difference is the title ‘Proforma Invoice’ instead of ‘Invoice’. However, there are a couple of other details to take into consideration:

  • A proforma invoice should not have an invoice number. Invoice numbers are reserved for completed invoices. Once a proforma is finalised, the completed invoice should follow your invoice number sequence.

  • The issue date of the proforma does not need to match the date of the finalised invoice. This means that when you create an invoice several days after a proforma, it is important to update the invoice issue date.

Proforma invoice templates in invoicing software

In invoicing software like Debitoor, you do not need to worry about whether your proforma will be labeled properly or your completed invoice has the correct invoice number. Debitoor takes care of this automatically.

A draft invoice will automatically be labeled 'Proforma Invoice' in Debitoor invoicing software

Only when your proforma is converted to a finalised invoice does it receive an invoice number and the issue date is always updated as necessary.

Can the same invoice template be used for a proforma and a completed invoice?

Yes, in Debitoor invoicing software, the process of creating either a proforma invoice or a completed invoice begins with the same invoice template. In your ‘Invoices’ tab, click ‘New Invoice’ and fill in your details.

The difference comes when you’ve added the customer and product information and are ready to either click ‘Save’ to save and send it as a proforma invoice, or to click ‘Complete Invoice’ to finalise the invoice and assign an invoice number and issue date.