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Set up and send progress invoices in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to send invoices over time as you work off an estimate in QuickBooks.

Progress invoicing lets you split an estimate into as many invoices as you need. Instead of asking for full payment at the beginning of a project, you can invoice customers for partial payments. As you complete work, add items from the initial estimate to progress invoices. This keeps project payments organized and connected from start to finish.

Step 1: Turn on progress invoicing

If you haven’t already, turn on progress invoicing.

  1. Select the Gear icon from any page, and then select Account and Settings.
  2. Select the Sales tab.
  3. Select the Progress Invoicing section, or select the pencil icon for the section.
  4. Select the Create multiple partial invoices from a single estimate checkbox.
  5. Select Save and then close your settings.

Now you can create multiple invoices from your estimates.

Step 2: Create a progress invoice template

Use the premade Airy classic style to create a new invoice template. You should use this template any time you create a progress invoice.

  1. Select the Gear icon from any page, and then select Custom Form Styles.
  2. Select New style and then Invoice to create a new invoice template. Or, select Edit to update one of your existing templates.
  3. Give the template a memorable name, like “Progress invoice template.”
  4. Select Change up the template or Dive in with a template in the Design tab.
  5. Select the Airy classic template. This is the only template you can use for progress invoices. This image shows the different template options you have on the screen and the edit print settings section. You will need to change the template to Airy Classic, the default choice.
  6. Select Edit print settings.
  7. Uncheck the Fit printed form with pay stub in window envelope checkbox.
  8. Select the Content tab. Then select the pencil icon on the second section of the form.
    This shows the options in the content tab of the custom form style module
  9. Select the Show more activity options link. Then select the Show progress on line items checkbox if you want to show item details on progress invoice.

Make this as your default invoice template

Use your new template to send progress invoices. If you send lots of progress invoices, we recommend using this as your new standard template for all invoices.

  1. Go back to Custom Form Styles.
  2. Select the arrow in the Action column next to the template, and then select Make default.

If you only want to use this template for progress invoices, select Customize directly on the invoice form to change the template.

This image shows an invoice and the pop-up menu that appears when you select customize on the form.

Step 3: Create an estimate

  1. Select Create (+) and then select Estimate.
  2. Select your customer.
  3. Fill out the rest of the estimate.
  4. Select Save and New or Save and Close.

Note that the totals in the Remaining column of your estimate don't include tax, discount, or shipping costs.

Tip: If you use the Projects feature (QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced) and want to add an estimate to a project, add it before you start creating progress invoices.

Need to edit something on your progress invoice?

If you need to edit an item on a progress invoice, make your changes on the original estimate, not the invoice itself. You can make changes as long as you haven’t invoiced for the total estimate amount.

Step 4: Create progress invoices from the estimate

There are a few ways to create progress invoices. Both methods give you the same results.

Create a progress invoice from an estimate

  1. Go to the Sales menu on the Navigation Bar.
  2. Select the All Sales tab.
  3. Find the estimate on the list.
  4. Select Create Invoice from the Actions column. You can also open the estimate and select Create Invoice.
  5. Decide how much you want to invoice for, then select Create Invoice. You can charge for a percentage or a specific amount. If you choose Custom amount for each line, enter a specific amount for each item on the invoice.This is an image of the three options you can choose from when you create a progress invoice from an estimate.
  6. Fill out the rest of the invoice.
  7. Select Save and New or Save and Close.

Connect an estimate to a new invoice

  1. Select Create (+) and then select Invoice.
  2. Select your customer from the drop-down menu. If the customer has an open estimate, QuickBooks will open the Add to Invoice drawer.
  3. Find the estimate in the drawer and select Add.This image shows the invoice drawer that appears after you select a customer on an invoice form who has an open estimate. You can simply link the open estimate to the new invoice you're creating.
  4. Decide how much you want to invoice for, and select Copy to Invoice.
  5. Fill out the rest of the invoice.
  6. Select Save and New or Save and Close.

Your original estimate won’t change when you create a progress invoice. QuickBooks keeps a record of both.

Don’t worry about accidentally sending too many invoices

After you’ve invoiced for the total estimate, the estimate status automatically changes to Closed. If you try to invoice for more than 100% of the total estimate, you’ll only be able to add what’s left of the remaining balance.

Need to unlink a progress invoice?

If you want to disconnect a progress invoice from the original estimate, select the trash icon for the estimate line item. QuickBooks will ask if you want to unlink the entire invoice. If you do, select Yes, unlink it.

Step 5: Keep track of your progress invoices

Review your estimates, progress invoices, projects, and reports to stay organized.

Review Estimates

You can see all of your progress invoices on the original estimate.

  1. Go to the Sales menu on the Navigation Bar.
  2. Select the All Sales tab.
  3. Find and open the estimate.
  4. Select the blue linked transactions to see the invoices you’ve already created.This shows the linked transaction link that appears next to the customer name on an estimate. If you have progress invoices, they will be linked to the estimate. You can open them from this link.

Review Progress Invoices

Progress invoices include an estimate summary with the total invoiced. There are also links to the original estimate and all relevant progress invoices.

You can add estimate summaries to invoices so your customers can see their remaining balance. This isn’t turned on by default.

Check Projects

If you add estimates to project, you can see everything in the Transactions tab of a project page.

Run Reports

The Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer report gives you a complete list of all estimates and connected progress invoices.

  1. Go to the Reports menu on the Navigation Bar.
  2. Search for and open your Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer report.

Transactions are organized by customer. Estimates have positive totals and the progress invoices have negative totals.