Pro Forma Invoices

A pro forma invoice is a preliminary bill of sale sent to buyers in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods or service and is typically used where payment in advance is required.  Most often advanced payment is required where the buyer is not known to the supplier or where there is a question of creditworthiness – neither of these instances should be applicable to the University of Glasgow. 

A pro forma invoice cannot be considered an accounting document and has no place in the books and records of an organisation either issuing or receiving it.  

The Policy of the University is not to accept a pro forma invoice as a payment request and suppliers must provide the University with a valid VAT Invoice. 

Where a contracted supplier is not used and the purchase is via the quote process, the “contract” between the University and the supplier is the Purchase Order, which must be raised in advance with the Purchase Order quoted on any VAT invoice. 

Where payment in advance is agreed as part of the terms of the quote, the University Terms and Conditions on the reverse of the Purchase Order are binding.  Suppliers must clearly state on the VAT invoice where payment in advance has been agreed upon.  

Any pro forma invoices received as a request for payment through a supplier will be rejected and returned to the department. 

The only exception where a pro forma will be accepted is in relation to University spin-out companies that are starting up and are independent of the University and where payments might be made through the University on their behalf.

Pro forma invoices must always be clearly described as such and preferably be endorsed as “This is not a VAT invoice”.