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Use QuickBooks Online Progress Invoicing

August 13, 2019

Use QuickBooks Online Progress Invoicing

If your business does work over months or even weeks for clients, maybe you should start using progress invoicing with QuickBooks Online.

When you are doing work for a client over an extended period of time you may be billing and receiving payment when specific targets are met rather than waiting until the project is done to get paid. QuickBooks has a way to help you with this sort of invoicing. It is called progress invoicing. You will provide the customer with an estimate before the work starts or products are delivered. Then you will invoice at intervals until the work is done and the bill is paid in full.

The first thing you need to do to use this QuickBooks Online tool is to turn it on. Just click on the gear icon in the right upper part of the screen and choose Account and Settings. Then click on the Sales tab. You will find Progress Invoicing listed in the left side column. Look for the pencil icon on the far right and the checkbox to turn it On. Then Save and in the lower right-hand corner click Done.

Template Creation

QuickBooks Online uses a special template when doing progress invoicing. Go to the gear icon and choose Custom Form Styles. When that screen open look in the upper right corner for New Style and click the arrow next to it. Next, choose Invoice and the design window opens. The first thing to do is to change the template name to something appropriate for progress invoicing. Then select Airy Classic.

Choose the Airy Classic template and change the name
Choose the Airy Classic template and change the name


On this page, you have the options to change fonts and colors, add your logo, and modify the invoice’s content. If you need help deciding on what changes to make, feel free to contact us.

There are changes you will want to make to your progress invoice. Start by clicking Edit print settings. If Fit printed form with pay stub in window envelop is checked, uncheck it. Then click on the Content tab followed by the little pencil icon in the invoice sample’s second section (on the right). Then click on Show more activity options at the left pane on the bottom. If your progress invoice will show item details, activate Show progress on line items by checking the box. When you are finished making changes, click Done.

Create the Estimate

In QuickBooks Online you can create estimates and invoices. They are similar and can be created in much the same way with one important exception. Besides providing an Estimate date you can also choose an Expiration date. To do this, click on the + sign in the right upper corner and choose Estimate. Fill out the form. Save and close when you are finished.

After your customer accepts your invoice and agrees to a schedule of payments, you will need to create their progress invoice. Choose Sales on the navigation bar (left side) and then click on All Sales. Find your estimate on the list, choose it, and click on Create Invoice (end of the row). You will then see this window.

When you start progress invoicing, you will have three options.
When you start progress invoicing, you will have three options.


Although the final invoice you send will be for the Remaining total of all lines, you can use a custom amount or a percent of each line item for the first invoice and all others until you send the last invoice. If you decide to use a percentage for line item charges, QuickBooks Online will calculate that for you and automatically enter it in the specific invoice. If you use custom amounts, you will be able to specify them when you open the progress invoice. Now click to Create invoice.

Create the Progress Invoice

When the progress invoice opens, it will contain the information that you already entered in the estimate. And, there will a Due column as well. If you chose the calculated percentage option, here is where those amounts will appear. And, if you choose the custom amount option, each field will display $0.00 of Total. You can now fill in the amounts that you wish to be paid for each item. Then Save your invoice and it is ready to send to the customer. The invoice will now appear on the invoice list from where you can receive payments, send reminders, and more.

For longer jobs, you can set up as many progress invoices as you like before the last one in which you will bill for the Remaining total of all lines. In QuickBooks Online you can see a report that includes all of your progress invoices in one place. Simply click on Reports, scroll to Sales and customers, and run Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer.

Although the idea of progress invoicing is simple, many steps are involved. When you create progress invoices in QuickBooks Online, there are several ways to do it. To make sure that you set these up correctly and are paid in full, please feel free to contact us.

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QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based multi-functional accounting software suite aimed primarily at small and growing businesses. Its versatile framework makes it easy for users to manage and oversee a wide range of accounting tasks, including monitoring cash flow, reviewing transactions, categorizing expenses, checking invoice statuses, and staying on top of payroll and inventory.
Profit First helps you experience profit.