It is tempting to write a piece of paper and hand it over to your supplier or text details to him – but trust us, it is a very bad idea! What if he forgets? What if you forget? Get rid of these habits and start using a formal Purchase Order.

What is a Purchase Order?

purchase order

A Purchase Order is an official document issued by a buyer to a seller.

It defines the types, quantities, descriptions, agreed prices, discounts, payment terms, date of shipment, other associated terms and conditions, and identifies a specific seller. A purchase order is one of the best tools you can use to have good inventory management.

Once the purchase order is accepted by the vendor, it becomes a legal contract binding you and the vendor. The first step in the purchase to pay process in an ERP system is creating a purchase order.

Purchase order vs Invoice

A purchase order is a legally binding contract between you and your vendor. You use it to agree on a set number of items for a set price. A purchase order also doubles up as an intimation to your vendor that you need products.

An invoice, on the other hand, is proof that purchase is complete, financial obligations are met, and taxes are accounted for.

An invoice is often generated upon completion of the sale, or a service. A purchase order is generated when you need more inventory items from your vendor.

What are the terms and critical factors you need to mention in your purchase order?

  1. Item of purchase: You need to mention the item of purchase with its detailed description
  2. Quantity: Mention the number of items that you have ordered for purchase – this helps with better inventory management
  3. Details of supplier: Clearly mention the name of the supplier and other details related to him
  4. Details of payment: Mention the mode of payment and its status (whether pending or paid)
  5. Price of products: Accurately mention the price of each product that you are purchasing

These aspects should be there in your purchase order format so that you make smooth transactions.

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Importance of Purchase order

Surprisingly, many small businesses are still not using purchase orders. It is seen as a hassle by many. For the same reason, their inventory management goes haywire and they face losses. Understand the significance of this document at the earliest possible and use it correctly for your business. Here’s why:

  1. Clarity in the pattern of expenditure by the company

By creating a purchase order each time you make a purchase, you will have a clear idea of how much and particularly on what you are spending the most. This helps you buy more of the product that gives you more sales and vice versa.

  1. Capture all details in a single document

Retailers who don’t use purchase orders use separate files for quantity and items, pricing, shipment details, etc. This can be avoided by having one single document that specifies all of these and hence is extremely convenient.

  1. Accounting will be much more accurate and clear

In purchase order, the retailer will be able to mention the price of each item and the total price. He will be able to mention the payment mode and the status of his payment.

Mostly, when retailers buy in bulk from vendors, they pay in installments. So, the retailer can mention in his purchase order, the amount that is pending and the amount paid. This gives him an idea of the expenses involved.

  1. Track the items received, and the ones to be delivered

You can easily track the items that you have received and the ones you are yet to receive.

Hence, you can avoid confusion in this regard.

  1. Rectify mistakes sooner

Once you create a purchase order, you have solid proof for what you have ordered. No more goof-ups from the supplier’s side can affect you.

Suppose you order for 40 items and your supplier and he asks you to pay more while it actually gets delivered because ‘the prices have gone up’, you can give an outright denial to that as the price mentioned in your purchase order will be the final one.


  1. Product reconciliation

The team receiving the products when delivered might not be the same team that placed the order. If you only place orders over the phone, your operations get messed up over time.

Many suppliers need you to notify them of shortage in items delivered within 24 hours. This might not be possible without a purchase order as there will be no method to instantly have to cross-check of whether you have received the actual number of goods you have ordered for or not.

  1. Use product history for better business strategies

With purchase orders, you will have an account of the number of items you sold and those that gave you more/fewer sales, the supplier from whom you bought a particular item and so on. This can help you a lot in planning your next purchase.

  1. E-procurement is the best choice

Using efficient software to get your accurate purchase orders is the easiest thing you can do. Rather than writing it down in a book, get an automated version of the purchase order which will give you every minute detail related to your transaction.

Related Read: 5 ways you can go green as a retailer

Make your purchase-to-pay process much simpler and far less time-consuming. Start using purchase orders.

Primaseller is a neat and easy to use purchase order software. We help you manage your inventory easily and process orders. You could check out our free trial to see if it can solve your Purchase Management problems.


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