In the most basic form, an invoice is a detailed list of products that have been sold or services that have been completed, the dates for each line item, along with a dollar amount for each line item. However, there are several different types of invoices, each serving a different type of business need. Let’s take a look at each one. If you haven’t done so already, have a look at our page dedicated to defining what is an invoice.

Credit memo: A credit memo, sometimes called a credit note, is given from a seller to a buyer. The memo lists the products, quantity of each product, or even services, that were not received. A credit memo may be issued in the event of returned or damaged goods, or unsatisfactory services. The memo will reflect the dollar amount that the buyer has been credited for.

Debit memo: A debit memo is a notification from the buyer to the seller informing the seller that a debit was made on the buyer’s account. Although it sounds rather confusing, a debit memo is basically a way for a buyer to tell the seller they expect a refund for products or services.

Timesheet invoice: A timesheet invoice combines an employee’s timesheet with information that would normally included in an invoice. Technically, the employee is invoicing the employer for his/her hours worked. The top of the timesheet invoice includes the employee’s information, followed by a list of the hours worked and the hourly rate. There is a total of money owed at the bottom of the invoice, along with signatures from both the employee and the employer.

Self-billing: Self-billing is essentially when the buyer invoices himself. Sounds a little different, but usually involves a billing and a payment schedule, and is usually completed electronically. 

Commercial invoice: A commercial invoice is a document that is often used in foreign trade. The vendor that is exporting the item(s) completes the commercial invoice to serve as a customs declaration. The document usually includes details about the goods being shipped, contact information for both parties involved, where the goods were manufactured, the system codes for the goods, and a signature.

Consular invoice: A consular invoice also includes the commercial invoice, but is a document that is heavily focused on the shipping of the goods. The consular invoice is completed in the appropriate language of the country involved, and has details about each product being shipped.

Collective invoice: A collective invoice occurs when a group of individuals agree to be invoiced together. The collective invoice will reflect the services or products purchased from each individual, along with a dollar amount for each line item, and the total amount due from the group.

Customs invoice: A customs invoice is very similar to a commercial invoice, but it is an extended version. The customs invoice states the description, quantity, selling price, freight, insurance packing costs, delivery services, and the port of destination for the goods.

Electronic invoice: An electronic invoice is a form of electronic billing. An electronic invoice looks the same as any other invoice, it is just sent through email or other online methods.

Online invoice: An online invoice usually refers to an invoice sent online.

Paper invoice: A paper invoice usually refers to a printed invoice.

Proforma invoice: A proforma invoice is very similar to a quote in that it reflects work that hasn’t been completed yet or products not yet purchased. The proforma invoice is often a kickoff to the negotiation process in business.

Interim invoice from work in progress: An interim invoice from work in progress often remains as an internal document. If the vendor and the buyer agree to an invoice at the end of a year-long project, for example, the vendor may keep an interim invoice to ensure he doesn’t forget any line items along the way. At the end of the project, the vendor will send a finalized invoice.

Final invoice: The final invoice is the opposite of the interim invoice. A final invoice is sent after a project has been completed and it reflects the total amount of money owed by the client.

Proposed invoice: A proposed invoice is for reviewing purposes only. Once the proposed invoice is reviewed and approved, it can be edited to fit a final invoice or an interim invoice from work in progress.