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QuickBooks: Can You Explain the Difference Between a Sales Order and a Sales Receipt?

Let's take a closer look at the differences between a sales order and a sales receipt in QuickBooks...

Sales Order vs Sales Receipt

Sales Orders:

  • Designed to track orders that you have received but not yet shipped to your customers
  • Do NOT post to any ledger accounts or sales history reports in QuickBooks
  • Uses a sales order "form" in QuickBooks that can be customized (i.e. add logo, etc.), just like an invoice or quote can
  • Can be turned into either a purchase order or invoice with one click
  • Requires you to create an invoice once an order is complete and shipped to track the money that will be due at a later date
  • Can print packing slips or pick tickets directly from the sales order screen
  • Only found in the Premier and Enterprise editions of QuickBooks. Not included as a feature in the Pro version. (need to upgrade?)

Sales Receipts:

  • Designed to handle on-the-spot sales where payment is received at the same time the sale was made (vs. creating an invoice where the expectation is you will be paid at a later date)
  • Posts immediately to your ledger accounts and sales history when saved
  • Uses a sales receipt "form" in QuickBooks that can be customized just like any other forms/templates
  • Cannot be turned into a purchase order or invoice
  • Cannot print packing slips or pick tickets directly from sales receipts (without some additional workarounds)
  • Completely bypasses the "receive payment" screen in QuickBooks. The sales receipt records both the sale AND the receipt of the customer payment at the same time

Many businesses use a combination of both of these forms. They use sales orders for products/services/projects that can't be shipped immediately and use sales receipts for those where there is immediate shipment AND payment (i.e. sales from a web site).

Hope this helps you get a better understanding of the key differences between these buttons in QuickBooks!





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