Issuing invoices to customers is one of many aspects of running a successful business. Despite the necessity, some business owners even consider it a “necessary evil.”

An invoice is a document given to a buyer from the seller requesting payment when a transaction occurs. Depending on the type of transaction, and the circumstances surrounding that transaction, there are different types of invoices you may need to use.

  • Standard Invoice: The most typical form of an invoice recording a sale or transaction between a seller and buyer (business and customer).
  • Product Invoice: An invoice recording a customer’s purchase of one or more products from the seller.
  • Time or Service Invoice: An invoice based upon the billable hours worked at the billable rate, typically used by hourly workers or skilled trades.
  • Interim (or Partial/Progress) Invoice: Customers with ongoing projects are invoiced intermittently when specific goals have been reached by the company (contractor), but the final project is not yet completed. These invoices help a company (contractor) with its cash flow during extensive undertakings.
  • Recurring Invoice: Customers are invoiced monthly by a business for an amount that does not change, typically used for subscriptions and monthly services.
  • Commercial Invoice: Used as an international invoice for business conducted between countries, considering customs and duties on a product shipment.
  • Pro Forma Invoice (or Estimate): An estimated price before the buyer and seller have agreed upon the transaction.
  • Debit (or Supplemental) Invoice: Issued as a supplemental to an original invoiced amount that increases the total amount due. When the project or work requires more hours than initially estimated, and payment is expected for the increased billable hours, the extra costs are billed with this type of invoice.
  • Credit Invoice (or Customer Credit): A seller issued an invoice to a buyer for a refund in price or credit for a previous invoice mistake. Credit invoices reflect a negative amount.
  • Past Due Invoice: A business issues an invoice to a customer when the amount due has not been paid. Past due invoices should be sent to customers who have not paid their prior invoices within a reasonable period (10 days, 15 days, 30 days, etc.) following the actual due date.

When looking for apps that work with QuickBooks for invoicing purposes, there are a couple of things to consider. The first is functionality, and by that, I mean “direction” or “data flow.”

I’m referring to the flow of data between QuickBooks and the app. So, for example, you could be looking for an app that takes the data you already have in QuickBooks and invoices your clients, or takes invoices you prepared in QuickBooks and expands upon the A/R functionality of QuickBooks.

If so, then that’s primarily a Read app even if it posts data back to QuickBooks from the results of the work it performs, like accepting payments. Most of the time when you are looking for an app like this, you are wanting an app to do a majority (or at least key aspects) of your accounts receivable work outside of QuickBooks.

I generally lump these together under the category of invoicing apps even when they do much more than just invoicing.

But you might be looking for an entirely different kind of app with an opposite flow of data. Like the time-tracking apps, we discussed in February, the data flow is primarily from the app to QuickBooks.

Apps like Invoice with Google Calendar, which let you push your Google Calendar events with their descriptions into your QuickBooks Invoices, are an example of a Write Invoicing (assistance) app. Apps like this can speed-up the process of invoicing within QuickBooks because they help you avoid duplicating data input since they obviously import data you already have captured in another system, which can easily be turned into billable information.

In my way of thinking, anything that falls into this broad category is a form of invoice-assistant technology because it really is just a tool designed to help you use the invoice capabilities within QuickBooks.

The next thing to consider when looking at apps are features. While features will differ significantly between Read and Write focused apps, this is a good list to consider when reviewing apps.

  • ACH Payment processing
  • Automated invoicing
  • Automated scheduling
  • Collections management
  • Customer management (Including customer access features?)
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Customizable templates
  • Estimates
  • Invoice history
  • Invoice management
  • Multi-currency
  • Online payments
  • Partial payments
  • Payment methods/gateways (Are they cost-effective?)
  • Progress invoicing
  • QuickBooks Integration (OAuth2 compliance)
  • Receivables ledger
  • Recurring invoicing
  • Reminders & notifications
  • Reporting & statistics
  • Sales orders
  • Template customization (Do templates capture essential data?)

Best of luck as you evaluate and select your invoicing apps or billing-assistant technology.


Portions thereof have been adapted from Intuit QuickBooks (QBO) training content and/or QuickBooks Online Help articles. Adapted source materials within this feature by Insightful Accountant is furnished for educational purposes only.

As used herein, QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online (QBO) refer to one or more registered trademarks of Intuit Inc., a publicly-traded corporation headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Any other trade names used herein refer to products which may be registered or trademarked, or otherwise held by, their respective owners, are referenced for informational and educational purposes only.

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