To create a pro forma invoice, you make a regular business invoice for a transaction but exclude information about acceptable payment methods, payment due dates and other payment terms. A pro forma invoice is a document sent before or with a shipment of goods. It's primary purpose is to describe the items shipped and the value of the items.
Why Create a Pro Forma Invoice
Shipping Solutions notes that sellers often prepare pro forma invoices to arrange financing or a line of credit so that the customer can pay for the goods. The U.S. and several other countries require pro forma invoices for goods shipped internationally if no commercial invoice is available, which can happen if the goods are given as a gift or a sample.
Creating a Pro Forma Invoice
You can create an invoice with accounting software, a spreadsheet program or a word processing program. Format the invoice so that your company's information is at the top. Recipient and invoice information should appear below that. List product information below recipient and invoice data, and place shipping and authorization information after that. A pro forma invoice example, like this one from Parcel Force, can give you an idea of what it should look like.
Clearly label the document Pro Forma Invoice so that the reader understands it's not a request for payment
Sender and Recipient Information
Note sender information and recipient information at the top of the pro forma invoice. For each party, indicate:
- Name of the sender and recipient
- Each party's phone number and fax
- Each party's address, including country
- Sender email address and website
Include the following information about the invoice and the order:
- Invoice date
- Invoice number
- Purchase order number, if applicable
- Customer number, if applicable
For each item in the order, note the following information:
- Product name
- Product code or ID number
- A description of the product
- Product quantity
- Product price or value per unit
- Total product price or value
After you've completed a line for each product, sum the total product prices and note the total price or value of the order. Also note the currency the prices are in and any shipping cost.
- Total package weight
- Total items in the package
- Delivery method
- Ship date
Pro forma invoices are commonly reviewed by financial institutions if the buyer is financing the order. It puts lenders at ease if they see the invoice is authorized. Make the pro forma invoice official by signing it with your name and company title. You may also want to include a phrase like, I declare the information in this invoice is true and correct.