At the beginning of a new export shipment order, the seller will prepare and send a Proforma Invoice to their buyer to confirm the order details and typically request a deposit payment. In the global trade process, the exporter will usually require a deposit payment to confirm the order and start manufacturing the goods. A common example is a 30% deposit payment up front, and the 70% balance payment after the goods have been produced or shipped (the specific terms to be negotiated and agreed upon between the buyer and seller). Note that Proforma Invoices are issued pre-shipment, i.e. before the goods have been produced or delivered. Once the goods have been produced and are ready for shipment, sellers will request the balance amount to be paid on a Proforma or Commercial invoice. A Commercial Invoice is usually issued after the goods have been supplied and will contain the actual final product quantities and balance amount to pay which will be used by the importer during the customs clearance process.
Open IncoDocs in your browser and navigate to the 'Invoices' section.
Click on 'New Invoice' and select the Proforma Invoice from the dropdown menu.
Fill out document info, customize document fields to your needs and add your company letterhead. If you use Xero or Quickbooks Online, you can also connect your account and autofill data from invoices or quotes in your accounting system.
Click on the signature box at the bottom of your document to create and place a digital signature then hit “Save & Quit”. On the document preview screen, click on the ‘More’ dropdown button and select “Add company seal” to place a digital stamp.
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The 2 documents are essentially the same, however, there can sometimes be a difference in the quantity of goods stated on the Commercial Invoice to what is on the Proforma Invoice. This is because the quantity of goods ordered (from the Proforma Invoice) can be different to the actual quantity of goods that have been shipped (on the Commercial Invoice).
This difference can be due to many reasons, however the most common is that a supplier is having manufacturing issues or delays or that the supplier did not correctly plan how many products would fit inside shipping containers. It is because of this disparity that a Commercial Invoice is typically issued after the goods have been delivered or shipped to ensure it accurately represents the final number of goods shipped.
A Proforma Invoice is typically issued by the seller upon receiving a Purchase Order from a buyer. These are important documents that are used to officially confirm all order and product information to avoid any confusion or problems with the supply and delivery of products. Any additional information agreed upon between the buyer and seller can be included on these documents.
Both parties will have to counter-sign each document as they represent a legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller. If there are any disputes relating to the order or supply of goods, these documents will be referred to in a court of law. Read how importers and exporters digitally countersign Proforma Invoices, Purchase Orders and other Sales Contracts