An estimate is a quote you provide a customer for products/services. Once an estimate is saved in QuickBooks, that estimate can be turned into a sales order or invoice if the customer decides to accept your quote. Estimates are non-posting and not included in income.
To turn on the Estimate function in QuickBooks Desktop, click Edit (top menu bar), Preferences, Jobs & Estimates, Company Preferences.
(only available in QuickBooks Desktop Premier and Enterprise versions)
A sales order is created when a customer places an order for products/services. A sales order is very helpful for manufacturers. Sales orders track the order before it is ready for delivery/billing to the customer. Pick lists, packing slips, shipping labels and invoices can be created using the Sales Order. Sales Orders are non-posting and not included in income.
To turn on the Sales Order function in QuickBooks Desktop Premier or Enterprise, click Edit (top menu bar), Preferences, Sales & Customers, Company Preferences. Check Enable Sales orders and choose the templates you’d like to use for the Packing Slip and Pick List.
An Invoice is created to record a sale from customers who make no or partial payment. Invoice item amounts are included in income as of the invoice date and will flow through to the Profit and Loss Report, if that is how your items are set up.
Written by: Emily Babbitt, Certirfied Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor