Invoicing processes

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.

See also


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

Specific modules

Some specific modules are also able to generate draft invoices:

  • membership: invoice your members every year

  • repairs: invoice your after-sale services

Resequencing of the invoices

It remains possible to resequence the invoices but with some restrictions:

  1. The feature does not work when entries are previous to a lock date.

  2. The feature does not work if the sequence is inconsistent with the month of the entry.

  3. It does not work if the sequence leads to a duplicate.

  4. The order of the invoice remains unchanged.

  5. It is useful for people who use a numbering from another software and who want to continue the current year without starting over from the beginning.

Invoice digitization with optical character recognition (OCR)

Invoice digitization is the process of automatically encoding traditional paper invoices into invoices forms in your accounting.

Odoo uses OCR and artificial intelligence technologies to recognize the content of the documents. Vendor bills and customer invoices forms are automatically created and populated based on scanned invoices.