The Life of an Estimate in QuickBooks Online

The progression of an estimate

An estimate, quote, or bid, is an essential part of pitching the sale of business products or services. These valuable tools are included in the QuickBooks Online platform for convenient use whenever you need them. They are easily accessible on the member dashboard of your QuickBooks Online Accounting Software.

How Should an Estimate Look?

Estimates need not be formal or lengthy documents, as noted in the QuickBooks Online setup. In fact, you might jot down a short proposal with prices for your company products or services on a cocktail napkin and get a customer signature. However, the quality and professionalism exhibited by your sales documents are definite reflections of your business image and credibility.

Since sales estimates are standard tools for selling transactions in numerous professions, they should be presented in standard document form. It is highly unlikely that you would authorize repairs on your car without a professional looking estimate. Nor would you approve renovations for your home kitchen or extensive yard landscaping without a document detailing the upfront costs.

QuickBooks Can Help!

QuickBooks Online provides advanced yet easy-to-use, specialized tools for performing this major step in the sales process. This comprehensive platform enables you to produce detailed estimates that it can convert easily into invoices once you receive an approval. You will master this skill soon after your QuickBooks Online setup.

Track Your Progress with QuickBooks Online

The QuickBooks Online reports, as explained in the QuickBooks Online setup, help you monitor the progress and current status of your quotes in the following ways:

  • A Dedicated Form. You most likely know how to generate an invoice after following the instructions for how to set up QuickBooks Online. If you do, you should have no trouble with producing an estimate soon after setting up QuickBooks Online since the forms are quite similar. To begin, click the plus sign (+) located in the upper right corner of your screen. In the column entitled Customers, click Estimates, and the following form will open:
  • A Form Template for Estimates. The QuickBooks Online Accounting Software platform provides a form template for creating your estimates. First, open the drop-down menu list found in the Customer field, then select the list item needed. If the correct form name does not appear in the list, click +Add new.

No Template for your Estimate, No Problem

Step by Step

  1. When you select +Add new, you only need to enter your prospective customer’s name in order to generate an estimate. Although the customer contact details will not automatically appear, you should enter their physical and email addresses. You can access this form and complete the customer record at a later time. Click +Details to open the complete record, and then save the data that you have entered.
  2. Below the Customer field, you should see the word “Pending,” which is the current status of your estimate. To view the options that will be available to you later, click the down arrow appearing to the right.
  3. This opens a small window that displays another down arrow. By clicking this arrow, you can view these options. If you click the small Cc/Bcc link at the right, you can enter email addresses to share this estimate with one or more other parties.
  4. You can enter the Estimate date or select it by clicking the entry on the calendar graphic. If you have a limited time offer, enter an Expiration date. If not, leave this field blank. Moving downward to the Product/Service grid, select all the items for which you are offering an estimate. Use a separate line for entering each item. Complete the Qty field, checking the labeled box for each taxable item.
  5. For any items that you had generated a product report for previously, the remaining fields should be filled in automatically. If this does not occur, just click +Add new. You should then see the Product/Service information pane appear from the screen’s right side.

Helpful Tips For your Estimate:

Although you are required to enter only a Name, it is advisable to generate the entire record, saving it to return to the estimate. We can guide you through this procedure if this is your first experience using it after setting up QuickBooks Online.

You have the option of adding a discount to the estimate, either as a dollar amount or a percentage. This data can be entered in a field located in the lower right screen corner. You can also choose to edit the customer message displayed in the lower left screen area, attaching files as needed. After completing this input, save the estimate.

Estimate Options.

You can actually work with your estimate while on the Sales Transactions screen in your QuickBooks Online Accounting Software. You may have learned this while mastering how to set up QuickBooks Online. Access this screen by clicking the Sales link found in the left vertical toolbar.

Next, click the All Sales tab, then the Estimates bar. Locate your estimate, then the Action column at the end of the row. To convert you estimate into an invoice, click Create invoice. When a window opens, choose whether you want to invoice one of the following:

  • A percentage of each line item;
  • A custom amount for each line; or
  • The total of all lines.

Review your invoice after it opens, completing any additional fields as needed. Then save it. The status of your estimate has now progressed to Closed. The new invoice that was generated from it will now be visible on the Sales Transactions screen. The Estimate by Customer report will also display this new invoice.

What’s Next… 

Once you create an invoice, you will be prepared to create an estimate. You have acquired significant knowledge and skills since learning how to set up QuickBooks Online. The more difficult step is amending an estimate prior to billing it or revising and resubmitting it. If you plan to do extensive work with estimates, let us guide you to success from the very start. We will ensure that your progress in using this platform is swift and smooth, starting with setting up QuickBooks Online. Visit QBO Services – The Barklee Institute to learn more about how we can help you setup your QuickBooks Online Account.

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