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Invoices from quotes

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  • Invoices from quotes

    Have an invoicing system in place. Typical setup, with invoice header, invoice items and so on.

    Would like to implement a "quotes" module. Want to be able to prepare a "quote", and then turn it into an "invoice" once it's been approved by the customer.

    So, am I ahead of the game to use a single table for invoices and quotes, distinguishing them with a field marker in each header record, or is it better to have separate quotes and invoice tables ? What factors might cause the design to go one way or the other?


    -- tom

  • #2
    Re: Invoices from quotes


    I prefer separate tables, but it could depend on the expected "hit rate" for the quotes. Most businesses figure on a 10 quotes per hit ratio, but your results could vary. Why have the invoice table 10 times bigger than it needs to be? If most quotes convert, then a single table would suffice.

    Also, there is a lot of information to be gleaned from quotes also, such as what types of quotes are most successful. If you have sales reps, which ones are converting the most quotes into sales, and so on. No reason to burden the invoice table with that kind of analysis.
    Pat Bremkamp
    MindKicks Consulting


    • #3
      Re: Invoices from quotes


      In my surveying/civil-engineering business we used separate tables. This was based upon the analog system that had been in use for at least 10-years or more. I never liked that method. It resulted in duplication of data, use of lookups, multiple search locations etc. One of the biggest factors was searching for historical info in two places - something we constantly needed to do. It also complicated billing. On many projects the "quotes" table had chargeable time when the quote became a project, since we often would do preliminary research and or field inspections in order to understand the job requirements and estimate it properly. Time sheet entry was complicated by that system of two base tables for similar information. It also was a source of constant confusion, particularly for new employees. There were other complications as well.

      Currently, for my database consulting business, I use one base table for projects, one for clients, one for time tracking, one for billing, etc. An integrated whole as we say. Every estimate is a "project", even if it isn't. Every prospect is a "client", even if they aren't. This simplifies things greatly - in my experience at least. I can filter on "billable" projects vs. those that merely remain estimates and are closed out. As some clients generate multiple projects or different phases for a given project, using 1:M relationships we are following the general spirit of db normalization.

      Choosing the "best" approach comes down to your experience and your workload. Large volume may favor one approach over another and vice-versa.
      AlphaBase Solutions, LLC


      • #4
        Re: Invoices from quotes

        Hi Tom,

        Just to muddy the water a little.

        If a quote becomes an order but the order is different to the original quote, you may still want to know what was on the original quote. Or are you going to create a new quote all together and then Invoice from that?
        Keith Hubert
        Alpha Guild Member
        KHDB Management Systems
        Skype = keith.hubert

        For your day-to-day Needs, you Need an Alpha Database!


        • #5
          Re: Invoices from quotes

          Excellent question Tom - QUOTE - > ORDER -> INVOICE
          This was a decision I had to take in the last half year or so with A5
          Having had too many years and clients, historically keeping all three separate has been the safest.
          However in converting to Alpha5 the filtering and management make it so much easier to keep all in one file.
          I now keep QUOTE - > ORDER in one to allow aaallll kinds of changing, analysis and planning (see my example with filtering, color coding and warning of resource shortages etc - a flat summary of all or excluded status of accumulated quotes and orders in one table). The invoice will pull it out of here.
          Sales analysis is done from the resulting tables
          Often a quote isn't simply approved, but what if.. and then, I'll take this now and that maybe or on the nnth or never happens
          When something is going to proceed (even a few items on a quote) the status simply gets changed.
          I have almost completed work on a one screen analysis that assesses for a user what resources are available based on quotes that became orders and by when. Resources in the right panel could be components, assembly time, or any other resource.
          INVOICE is sacrosanct (especially in SA with Sales TAX or VAT) where it is statutary to have no confusion, sequence numbering and unique documentation and wording with no possibility of data change - if the invoice is going to go anywhere NEAR an accounting system - separate it !!.EMBEDBR.JPG
          I will be posting some questions soon for help with a couple of additions to this - for another discussion.


          • #6
            Re: Invoices from quotes

            Thanks everyone. Very helpful.