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Pro Forma Invoice: Definition & Examples

Pro forma or proforma: whichever way you spell it, the questions remain the same: what exactly is a pro forma invoice? When and why is it needed? And how should it look? We have compiled the most frequently asked questions about pro forma invoicing to turn you into a real pro forma professional.

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What is a pro forma invoice?

Pro forma literally means „for form“. Thus, pro forma invoice is an invoice that has been issued for formal reasons only, as a statement to declare the value of a trade. Unlike a real, commercial invoice, the receiver of a pro forma invoice does not have to pay the amount stated, nor will the seller receive the amount specified. Rather, a pro forma invoice is a confirmed purchase order where both parties record and agree on cost and details of a product. Nevertheless: A pro forma invoice is a binding agreement, although the price or amount may change in the final sale.

When do I need a pro forma invoice?

Let’s say you’re shipping goods across an international border, but for some reason the commercial invoice is not yet available. Or the goods are free for the receiver, which would be the case if they were part of a replacement process. Or you just want to make your international business partner happy and give him the gift of free samples**. To state the value of these goods, a pro forma invoice might be needed at customs** – although most customs will require you to fill out a designated form in addition to the pro forma invoice. In some cases, a pro forma invoice will be issued in lieu of a sales quote; but more about that later on.

International trade with a pro forma invoice

If you are in need of a pro forma invoice example, chances are that you are working across borders. Which is great! But customs, forms and taxes, shipping and communication can be a nightmare. Believe me, I know. Which is why we have designed zistemo to make international business as easy as possible. Did you know that zistemo counts in all known currencies and speaks many languages? Euro, US-Dollar or Ruble: just choose the language and currency you need, and your pro forma invoice will be issued in perfect Russian, Polish or German, at the currency exchange rate you set. Want to know more? Read on about international business with zistemo

Easy sales quote with a pro forma invoice

In some cases, sales quotes or estimates are issued in the form of pro forma invoices. While a quotation usually is issued more like a business letter, the pro forma invoice serves as an ideal basis for negotiations between buyer and seller.
Basically, the formal requirements remain the same: You need to specify contact details, amounts and correct dates. zistemo has your sales quote ready within seconds. As with any estimate or sales quote, though, the hard part will be to define the value of your product. How much is your work worth? And how does it compare to your competitors? To read more about creating the perfect estimate, click here.

The best pro forma invoice examples & templates

So how should a pro forma invoice look? Basically, it has to meet the same requirements a regular commercial invoice does. You should state your name and address, as well as the buyers contact details, a detailed list of the goods or services provided and their cost as well as the supply date. In addition to that, a pro forma invoice should have a unique identification number and, this is very important, you need to state the date of the pro forma invoice. Total amount being charged, if applicable VAT (or other taxes) amount as well as the total amount owed, and you’re done. No, wait: You need to unmistakenly state that this is a pro forma invoice. In big, bold letters on top.

Pro forma invoicing with zistemo

To make it really easy for you to send out pro forma invoices, we have created a streamlined workflow. All you have to do is create an invoice and then send it out as a ‘Draft’, and the magic will happen: a professional pro forma invoice right there, at your fingertips. No hassle, no headache. It’s simple: any invoice you create first gets the status of a ‘Draft’. If you send it out as a draft, it will automatically be sent out as a pro forma invoice. Activate the invoice with one click to transform it into a proper invoice and get ready to get paid.

Pro forma accounting

Pro forma accounting is a very useful tool for self-employed people and small businesses to plan ahead. It’s actually very simple: With pro forma accounting you project your income and expenses for a certain time frame. Take, for example, your estimated earnings for next month by creating draft-invoices – and then add your estimated expenses. And boom, you have your future budget ready: fortune telling made easy!

Now that you’re an expert on pro forma invoicing, I hope you’ll have some fun with them. A small warning, though: your expertise will actually be pro forma. Because with zistemo, all you have to do is press a button. That’s it.

Good luck, take care and get paid!


Features Invoice & Estimate Invoices

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