Depending on your business and the application you use, there are different ways to automate the customer invoice creation in Odoo. Usually, draft invoices are created by the system (with information coming from other documents like sales order or contracts) and accountant just have to validate draft invoices and send the invoices in batch (by regular mail or email).
Depending on your business, you may opt for one of the following way to create draft invoices:
Sales Order ‣ Invoice¶
In most companies, salespeople create quotations that become sales order once they are validated. Then, draft invoices are created based on the sales order. You have different options like:
Invoice manually: use a button on the sale order to trigger the draft invoice
Invoice before delivery: invoice the full order before triggering the delivery order
Invoice based on delivery order: see next section
Invoice before delivery is usually used by the eCommerce application when the customer pays at the order and we deliver afterwards. (pre-paid)
For most other use cases, it’s recommended to invoice manually. It allows the salesperson to trigger the invoice on demand with options: invoice the whole order, invoice a percentage (advance), invoice some lines, invoice a fixed advance.
This process is good for both services and physical products.
Sales Order ‣ Delivery Order ‣ Invoice¶
Retailers and eCommerce usually invoice based on delivery orders, instead of sales order. This approach is suitable for businesses where the quantities you deliver may differs from the ordered quantities: foods (invoice based on actual Kg).
This way, if you deliver a partial order, you only invoice for what you really delivered. If you do back orders (deliver partially and the rest later), the customer will receive two invoices, one for each delivery order.
eCommerce Order ‣ Invoice¶
An eCommerce order will also trigger the creation of the order when it is fully paid. If you allow paying orders by check or wire transfer, Odoo only creates an order and the invoice will be triggered once the payment is received.
Regular Contracts ‣ Invoices¶
If you use contracts, you can trigger invoice based on time and material spent, expenses or fixed lines of services/products. Every month, the salesperson will trigger invoice based on activities on the contract.
Activities can be:
fixed products/services, coming from a sale order linked to this contract
materials purchased (that you will re-invoice)
time and material based on timesheets or purchases (subcontracting)
expenses like travel and accommodation that you re-invoice to the customer
You can invoice at the end of the contract or trigger intermediate invoices. This approach is used by services companies that invoice mostly based on time and material. For services companies that invoice on fix price, they use a regular sales order.
Recurring Contracts ‣ Invoices¶
For subscriptions, an invoice is triggered periodically, automatically. The frequency of the invoicing and the services/products invoiced are defined on the contract.
Creating an invoice manually¶
Users can also create invoices manually without using contracts or a sales order. It’s a recommended approach if you do not need to manage the sales process (quotations), or the delivery of the products or services.
Even if you generate the invoice from a sales order, you may need to create invoices manually in exceptional use cases:
if you need to create a refund
If you need to give a discount
if you need to change an invoice created from a sales order
if you need to invoice something not related to your core business
Some specific modules are also able to generate draft invoices:
membership: invoice your members every year
repairs: invoice your after-sale services