Working with Purchase Orders

Purchase Orders vs Purchases

Purchase orders reflect anticipated purchases, but do not impact accounting. (In contrast, purchases are the records that actually impact the accounting system.) After a purchase order is filled and the related purchase is logged, the expense is realized in the accounting modules. 

Purchase orders (POs) are used to manage manufacturer lot and serialized tracking numbers, and are also required for replenishment of inventoried items. While a PO is in Pending status, it does not affect inventory counts; however, when you move the PO to Open status, it generates inventory transactions.

This guide reviews the tools available for working with purchase orders. (Read more about the system preferences for purchase orders and about working with purchases.)

Purchase Orders in List View

The Purchase Orders module list view helps you work with multiple records. You can update a PO's tracking status here by clicking the Tracking Status field and selecting from the drop-down list. The Status indicators use colored circles to highlight which items need attention, based on the date in the Required By field:

  • Red = open & overdue (Required By date is past)
  • Orange = open & currently due (Required By date is today)
  • Green = open (Required By date is in the future)
  • Yellow = pending
  • White = closed
  • Black = voided

Purchase Orders in Details View

The details view gives you access to extended information about a specific record.

Purchase Order Details Tab

This screen provides all the details of the PO (e.g. date ordered, vendor info, shipping info, and items ordered). There is also a tab for managing RFQs.

Management Tab

These three sub-tabs help you review, track, and troubleshoot the PO:

  • Overview — This tab can help you troubleshoot why a PO won't auto-close or resolve other questions. It gives you details about each item ordered (e.g. quantities ordered, received vs purchased, plus value and amounts purchased / remaining) which are used to validate when a record can be closed (see below). You can also review column totals and can apply payments.
  • Purchases — The Purchases tab shows all related purchase records. Status indicators at the end of each row show you which purchases need immediate attention (red = payment overdue, yellow = pending, white = closed). Create new purchase records by clicking the Plus icon.
  • Shipments — The Shipments tab displays all related shipments, including those that are returned to the vendor. The Status indicators for shipments note where they are regarding delivery (red = overdue, orange = pending, white = received (or for returns, 'delivered'), and gray = void). Once a PO is opened, the next workflow step is often to receive a shipment. Create new shipment records by clicking the Plus icon. The shipment is auto-populated with information from the PO, but can be modified as needed.

Creating and Editing Purchase Orders

At the Purchase Orders module, click New, then enter the needed details (e.g. vendor, PO items, tax / shipping charges, etc). Most purchase orders will then follow one of these workflows:

  • Print or email the PO — In the menu bar, click Print, then select the correct option.
  • Enter a payment — You can immediately apply a credit card payment.

You can freely edit purchase orders that are in Pending or Open status since the PO itself does not affect the accounting system. This includes changes to item quantities. We recommend adding a Note () to each item you edit, documenting the reason for updates. In addition, basic details of all changes are captured in the record log.

Closing Purchase Orders

Instead of having team members manually close every PO (Actions menu), the system can streamline your workflows by auto-closing them. Your system administrator can customize the validations in Procurement preferences which are used to evaluate when a purchase order should be closed automatically.

If a purchase order is not closing as expected, the first step is to review the Overview sub-tab (see above) and verify whether everything on the order has been received and purchased.