The Premier and Enterprise versions of QuickBooks have a feature called sales orders that can end up being very beneficial and a great time-saver for many businesses:
An easy way to think of a sales order is this - it is a document you can use in QuickBooks to track a customer order that is in-house that hasn't shipped yet. For example, let's say you had to special order some parts for a customer that aren't going to arrive for four weeks. You can use the sales order form in QuickBooks to keep track of this customer order while you are waiting for the parts to arrive. Even better, you can turn this sales order into an invoice when you are ready to ship with just the click of a button - no re-typing needed!
If you notice in the screen shot of the QuickBooks home screen above, the sales order sits between the estimate and the invoice. You can create an estimate, and then when the customer wants to order, turn the estimate into a sales order (again with just a click). Once the order is built and/or is ready to ship, you can then turn the sales order into an invoice. The use of sales orders is completely optional, but can be a huge time-saver.
More benefits of using sales orders in QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise:
- Consolidate multiple customer orders into one invoice - you can choose from a list of sales orders for a given customer, click OK and have them all consolidate into one invoice.
- Create partial invoices -a sales order is the perfect tool to use for tracking partial shipments. If your customer has ordered 150 widgets and you can only ship 60 of them right away, create a sales order for the 150 widgets and then invoice for the 60 that are shipping now.
- Tracking backorders - in the example above, you have a backorder of 90 pieces. The sales order is the perfect place to track it until it has shipped completely. (Hint: Go to Reports > Sales > Open Sales Order by Customer report) for easy tracking
- Using the sales order fulfillment worksheet -Once you begin using sales orders in QuickBooks, you can then take advantage of this feature. It is a great way to assess all of your open orders in one place and it can help you make decisions on what to ship and what not to ship. Please see my related article on the sales order fulfillment worksheet for more details.
Don't mess around trying to "trick out" estimates in QuickBooks Pro trying to get them to behave like a sales order does. I've seen some real doozies that have been created in QuickBooks Pro to get estimates to mimic sales orders. Use the sales order feature instead - you'll find it very easy to use.
If you see the benefits of using sales orders and need to upgrade, be sure to save some dough and get a discount on Premier or Enterprise. Remember, all your data in QuickBooks Pro will upgrade to Premier or Enterprise, so you won't have any headaches there.