Difference Wiki

Invoice vs. Cash Memo: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 5, 2023
An "Invoice" is a request for payment detailing goods or services provided, while a "Cash Memo" is a confirmation of a cash transaction.

Key Differences

An "Invoice" is a detailed bill presented by a seller to a buyer, outlining the products or services sold, their quantities, prices, and terms of payment. It essentially acts as a credit instrument, indicating that the buyer owes the seller money. In contrast, a "Cash Memo" is issued by the seller when a cash transaction takes place. It confirms that the payment has been received in cash for the goods or services provided.
The primary function of an "Invoice" is to request payment. It is typically issued in scenarios where goods or services are provided on credit, and payment is expected in the future. The "Cash Memo", however, serves as evidence that a cash transaction has occurred, signifying immediate payment.
While an "Invoice" is a formal request that gives a breakdown of the transaction, including the total amount due, taxes, and other charges, a "Cash Memo" is a straightforward acknowledgment of cash received. The "Cash Memo" might not be as detailed as an invoice but confirms the completion of a transaction.
Businesses frequently use "Invoices" to keep track of their accounts receivable, ensuring that they receive all the payments due to them. The "Cash Memo", on the other hand, aids in monitoring and recording instant cash transactions, assisting businesses in managing their daily cash flow.

Comparison Chart

Primary Purpose

Request for payment.
Confirmation of cash transaction.

Payment Timing

Indicates future payment.
Confirms immediate payment.

Detail Level

Detailed breakdown of products, services, taxes, etc.
May not be as detailed as an invoice.

Usage Scenario

When goods/services are sold on credit.
When goods/services are sold for immediate cash payment.

Document Indication

Outstanding payment due from the buyer.
No outstanding payment; transaction is complete.

Invoice and Cash Memo Definitions


A formal request for payment.
The publisher sent authors an Invoice for the copies they purchased.

Cash Memo

Proof of immediate payment for goods/services.
She kept the Cash Memo from the bookstore as a record.


A bill detailing products or services provided.
She sent an Invoice for the freelance work she completed last month.

Cash Memo

A document confirming cash received.
Every sale at the pop-up shop came with a Cash Memo.


A statement of the total amount due.
The supplier's Invoice listed all the items delivered and their costs.

Cash Memo

A record of cash payment for a purchase.
She filed the Cash Memo from the hardware store for accounting purposes.


A record of a transaction on credit.
After the consultation, the lawyer sent an Invoice for his services.

Cash Memo

A receipt for a cash transaction.
After buying groceries, he was handed a Cash Memo.


A document indicating a buyer's debt to a seller.
The contractor issued an Invoice for the renovations.

Cash Memo

An acknowledgment of a cash-based sale.
Upon selling the concert tickets, he provided buyers with a Cash Memo.


A detailed list of goods shipped or services rendered, with an account of all costs; an itemized bill.


The goods or services itemized in an invoice.


To make an invoice of (goods or services).


To send an invoice to; bill.


A bill; a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer indicating the products, quantities and agreed prices for products or services that the seller has already provided the buyer with. An invoice indicates that, unless paid in advance, payment is due by the buyer to the seller, according to the agreed terms.


The lot or set of goods as shipped or received.
The merchant receives a large invoice of goods.


The price which a seller or dealer pays the manufacturer for goods to be sold.


(transitive) To bill; to issue an invoice to.
I will invoice my supplier tomorrow.


(transitive) To make an invoice for (goods or services).


A written account of the particulars of merchandise shipped or sent to a purchaser, consignee, factor, etc., with the value or prices and charges annexed.


The lot or set of goods as shipped or received; as, the merchant receives a large invoice of goods.


To make a written list or account of, as goods to be sent to a consignee; to insert in a priced list; to write or enter in an invoice.
Goods, wares, and merchandise imported from Norway, and invoiced in the current dollar of Norway.


An itemized statement of money owed for goods shipped or services rendered;
He paid his bill and left
Send me an account of what I owe


Send an bill to;
She invoiced the company for her expenses


What's the main purpose of an "Invoice"?

An "Invoice" serves as a request for payment from a buyer for goods or services provided.

Can an "Invoice" act as a legal document?

Yes, an "Invoice" can serve as a legal document for the amount owed by the buyer.

Is a "Cash Memo" evidence of a credit transaction?

No, a "Cash Memo" confirms an immediate cash transaction, not a credit one.

Is a "Cash Memo" provided after every cash sale?

Typically, a "Cash Memo" is given after every cash transaction to acknowledge payment.

Can you issue an "Invoice" after receiving payment?

Yes, an "Invoice" can be issued post-payment as a formal record of the transaction.

Do "Invoices" always mean the payment is pending?

Generally, "Invoices" indicate a pending payment, especially when issued for credit transactions.

Can a "Cash Memo" be issued for credit card payments?

While traditionally for cash, a "Cash Memo" can sometimes refer to immediate payments, including credit cards.

What might you find on an "Invoice" but not on a "Cash Memo"?

"Invoices" might include payment terms, due dates, or late fees, which a "Cash Memo" wouldn't.

Are "Cash Memos" necessary for accounting?

"Cash Memos" are crucial for recording and verifying cash transactions in accounting.

Do "Cash Memos" always include detailed item breakdowns?

Not always. While some "Cash Memos" detail items, others might just show the total amount.

How long should businesses keep "Invoices"?

Businesses should retain "Invoices" for several years, often for tax or accounting purposes.

Does a "Cash Memo" indicate any payment terms?

No, a "Cash Memo" confirms immediate payment, so no further terms are indicated.

Is a "Cash Memo" the same as a receipt?

Generally, a "Cash Memo" serves as a type of receipt, particularly for cash transactions.

Is the buyer's information always on the "Invoice"?

Typically, "Invoices" include the buyer's information for clarity and record-keeping.

Can an "Invoice" include discounts or promotions?

Yes, "Invoices" can detail any discounts, promotions, or special pricing applied.

What's the primary difference between an "Invoice" and a "Cash Memo"?

An "Invoice" requests payment, typically for credit sales, while a "Cash Memo" confirms immediate cash payment.

Can "Invoices" be electronic?

Yes, electronic "Invoices" are common and can be sent via email or other digital methods.

Is a "Cash Memo" considered a formal document?

A "Cash Memo" is formal in the sense that it confirms a transaction, but it's simpler than an invoice.

Do "Invoices" always come before payment?

Most often, "Invoices" precede payment, especially in credit sales, but can also be sent after payment.

When is a "Cash Memo" typically provided?

A "Cash Memo" is given immediately after a cash transaction to confirm payment.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons