Purchase Orders

Purchase orders are critical to any form of business pursuit that involve the procurement of goods or services for which the company can operate. These mark the beginning of the purchasing relationship between a customer and a supplier.  purchase-orders

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Purchase Order Definition & Meaning

A purchase order (P.O.) is a legally binding commercial document issued by a buyer with a commitment to pay for the requested products or services at a certain time in the future when the delivery is fulfilled.

It acts as the first officially issued document by a buyer to a seller with detailed information on the type of the goods to be purchased, quantities, and the agreed prices.

What Is Purchase Order?

A purchase order confirms the buyer’s intention and agreement on the sale of a product or service delivered by the seller at a specified time in the future. It serves as a legal document that tracks critical information that concerns what the buyer intends to purchase, including but not limited to the number of items, types required, delivery details, and payment terms. In addition, it validates the actual goods that the buyer wants to be delivered with a condition that the purchase is paid at a later date as agreed by both parties. The P.O. is used by the seller to protect themselves upon offering credit to buyers.

10 Types of Purchase Order

Construction Purchase Order

A construction purchase order is a fundamental financial element of the whole project contract, validated by both the buyer and the seller. It generally illustrates the type of deliverables, number of deliverables, agreed-upon cost, payment term, due dates, delivery method, and reference number that helps track the document. Its main purpose is to determine the actual cost of a contract even before the work has been completed.


IT and Software Purchase Order

Requests for IT services should be clearly specified in the IT and Software Purchase Order to avoid any confusion. For companies trying to do business digitally, keep in mind that a well-defined P.O. can help prevent order duplicates. Hence, reducing the possibility of costly matters and activities for any purchasing party.


International Purchase Order

Overseas purchasing transactions need a lawful international purchase order where critical to its issuance is the exchange of information between the importer and exporter. The P.O., in the same way as the others, should reflect the price, quality, and quality of the goods to be purchased. Below is a good example of an international P.O. format.


Retail Purchase Order

Every shop needs proof of a transaction with its supplier.  A retail purchase order makes it even more valid to the parties in agreement. In case you haven’t yet made yours, keep the design professional as it represents your company.


Vehicle Purchase Order

A vehicle purchase order acts as a binding bill of the sale that both the buyer and the seller sign thereupon. It validates the purchase and this plays a critical role in the purchase of car insurance that is required before you can get your newly purchased car out of the dealership and drive. This document itemizes the cash selling price, registration fees,  documentation fees, sales taxes, plate fees, and down payment if there is, a lot more.


Restaurant Purchase Order

Restaurants cannot operate in the absence of their suppliers. Before the magic in the kitchen even happens, they need to gather all the necessary ingredients which are then reflected and collected from their suppliers through the restaurant purchase order form. This transaction doesn’t happen only once but as long as both agreeing parties are happy with their business partnership.


Contractor Purchase Order

A contractor is a project manager commissioned on a project, typically in the construction industry. A contractor purchase order is essential in the purchase requisition of building materials with which permission is required and approved first before the purchasing department can proceed with the order and send it to the supplier. Below is an example of the said purchase order.


Standard Purchase Order

A standard purchase order pertains to product or service orders that are already known. It’s no different from any other purchase order, but only that, this can be a one-off procurement that requires the purchaser to complete the specifications of the products or services to be delivered. To get a closer look at what a standard P.O. looks like, check out this example below.


Work from Home Purchase Order

A work from home purchase order is created for services usually delivered by a freelance contractor. It includes all the details reflected on the other types of P.O., as well as the official confirmation of the job order. A good example of this is illustrated here. 


SAP Software Purchase Order

Getting a good P.O. system automation tool is great for the company. It streamlines the purchase order process and generates a good SAP Software Purchase Order, like what is shown here, swiftly. What’s more, it declutters the terrible paperwork so might as well, get one for yourself.


Purchase Order Uses, Purpose, Importance

While purchase orders help both the seller and the ordering business monitor orders, these legally binding documents are technically created and filled in case disputes arise. They are solid proofs of the purchase, encompassing the payment and delivery agreements. Meanwhile, here are the common uses and purposes of the issued P.O.s, as well as their importance.

Legal Proof of Transaction

P.O.s are the official proofs of transactions that should be kept in electronic or paper form to prove the validity of the purchase, whether a certain dispute comes up or not. You may consider keeping an electronic copy online through your email for quick access just in case.

Order Tracking

The vendor and the purchasing party use the issue P.O. in keeping track of transactions. This enables them to increase efficiency and improve financial gains.

Better Outcomes

The P.O. provides documentation of the agreed terms and conditions. Therefore, if one party fails to recall any of the specifications on the contract, this document can lay out anything that has been missed.

What’s in a Purchase Order? Parts?

P.O. Number 

A P.O. number is a specialized number that is assigned to a P.O. form. This plays a critical role in the receipt for the products or services that a customer requires from a supplier.  

Purchase Order Date

A P.O. date is a date upon which the P.O. is issued by a purchaser to a supplier. It also states the date of the product delivered agreed and confirmed by the supplier.

Vendor’s Name and Billing Address

This part indicates the address and with whom the checks or payments are mailed or forwarded. Sometimes, it contains more than one mailing location, particularly for those with several branches, but there should be a designated parent, otherwise. 

Buyer’s Name and Shipping Address 

This indicates to whom and where the order is to be delivered. Sometimes, the billing address and shipping address are not the same as the billing address bespeaks where the invoices should be mailed.  

Delivery Date

The delivery date is the actual date of the shipment. 

Shipping Method

The shipping method refers to the type of service for which the customer wants upon checkout. It also indicates the rates of the carriers for their purchase.  

Shipping Terms 

The shipping terms signify the point at which the contractor ships the products or services agreed upon by both parties. These often involve the state shipping laws. 

Item Name

The product to be purchased has to be labeled accurately. By and large, this comes with technical information and description. 

Item Quantity

This refers to the number of goods to be purchased. 

Item Unit Cost

The unit cost is the actual price of a product per unit. This is typically assigned in accordance with the production and the cost of overhead during the manufacturing process.


Every item or service pursued commercially is entitled to mandatory financial charges levied by the government. These will be used to fund necessary government spending. 

Total Price 

Total price refers to the full purchase price of the overall consumer items to be bought with the exclusion of sales tax and container deposit.  

Payment terms 

The payment terms outline the method by which the customer provides payment to the company. It consists of how and when the purchase is to be made. 


How to Design a Purchase Order?

1, Choose a Purchase Order Size.

2. Decide the best Purchase Order Ideas & Examples.

3. Select the Purchase Order Templates that best suit your need.

4. Indicate the issue data.

5. Enter the specified P.O. number.

6. Add business information along with the billing address of both the buyer and the seller.

7. Provide product details, including the model number, description, quantity, etc.

8. State the delivery date.

You may also refer to this helpful article on how to create purchase orders using MS Excel.

How to Create a Purchase Order in Excel


Purchase Order vs Order

A purchase order pertains to the outgoing order made for the purchase of products or services and is raised by an organization with information that concerns the quantity and specification of the purchase.

An order, on the other hand, implies the orders received by the vendor from the customer, serving as a confirmation document of the supply agreed to be delivered.

What’s the Difference Between Purchase Order, Invoice, and Receipt?

A purchase order is created by the buyer, indicating the green light for the transaction.

An invoice is the official payment request or bill issued by the seller upon successful order fulfillment.

A receipt is an official document issued after the payment has been made, serving as proof of the transaction.

Purchase Order Sizes

The purchase order sizes may vary from company to company. Indicated below are the commonly acceptable sizes with their corresponding measurements in inches.


Purchase Order Ideas & Examples

Coming up with a good design for a purchase order doesn’t have to be difficult with these purchase order ideas and examples. Whichever industry you’re in, these here can be very helpful.

  • Freelance Purchase Order Ideas and Examples
  • Request for Information in Advance of Purchase Order Ideas and Examples
  • Subcontractor Construction Purchase Order Ideas and Examples
  • Construction Work Purchase Order Ideas and Examples
  • Purchase Order Format Ideas and Examples
  • Purchase Order Confirmation Ideas and Examples
  • IT Project Purchase Order Ideas and Examples
  • Purchase Order Letter Ideas and Examples
  • Purchase Order Log Ideas and Examples
  • Letter Purchase Order Issued on Acceptance of Delivery Date Ideas and Examples


What Should a Purchase Order Include?

A purchase order should include the contact information of both the buyer and the seller, PO number, item stock keeping unit (SKU), product description, quantity, price, subtotals/taxes/totals, and payment due date.

What is a Purchase Order Workflow?

A purchase order workflow is an SAP software inbuilt process that enables buyers to streamline purchase requisition and their search for potential vendors upon which they can internally create and approve the purchase order.

Why Do Companies Use Purchase Orders?

Purchase orders can serve as legally binding documents that formalize the pricing and requirements of the goods or services that have been ordered.

Who Approves the Purchase Order?

The vendor approves the purchase order and this will be treated as legally valid upon doing so.

How Do Purchase Orders Work?

Purchase orders can function as a legal agreement between the vendor and buyer, ensuring that the buyer is legally liable to pay the seller upon receipt of their requested item or service.

What is the Purchase Order Process?

The purchase order process plays a critical role in the procurement process, from the confirmation and specification of the buyer’s actual service or goods needs to the actual purchase that also involves payment processing and result auditing.

Who Prepares a Purchase Order?

The shop owner should create and prepare the purchase order, detailing everything that they want for a supplier.

What are the Payment Terms in a Purchase Order?

In a typical purchase order terms and conditions, buyers are given a 45-day period after the invoice date for which the goods received are paid.

What is the Flow of a Purchase Order?

A purchase order involves P.O. creation, approach, dispatch, receipt of delivery, a three-way matching of the invoice, P.O., received report, payment, and P.O. closure.

What is Purchase Order Preparation?

Purchase order preparation entails the vendor’s authority in providing and invoicing the specified good or services generated by the procurement services department in accordance with the purchase requisition details.