Purchase Orders have finally arrived to a browser near you !

[Quick note: As of June 13, the QuickBooks blog has moved to qboblog.com. Follow us there!]

Recently we released one of QuickBooks Online’s most anticipated new feature : “Purchase Orders”.

Over the course of many months, the Purchase Order development team worked with focused intensity and determination to bring this oft-requested feature to life, talking to customers every step of the way to make sure that we were creating a feature that fulfilled your needs.  So perhaps you’re wondering.

What’s a Purchase Order?

A purchase order, or “PO,” is a document you can send to a vendor/supplier, either electronically or as a hard copy.  The PO states your intent to purchase products or services and defines the details of the purchase, such as quantities and prices. If your PO is accepted, it means you have an agreement to receive those products or services under the specified terms. See screen shot for details.

What’s cool about Purchase Orders in QuickBooks Online?

For QuickBooks Online Plus users and QuickBooks Online Edition users with the optional Sales package, here’s just a sample of the useful stuff you can do with Purchase Orders:

-          Copy and link PO information to bills, checks, cash and credit card transactions

-          Save a PO as a printable PDF file and email it to your vendor instantly

-          Set automatic, recurring POs to send out periodically

-          Customize the PO form with your company logo

-          Add custom fields to define the terms of your order

-          Include a personalized message with instructions for the vendor

-          Make notes on your PO that only you can see (and the recipient cannot)

-          View reports of all open POs and purchases by vendor

Ready to begin using Purchase Orders?

Check out our comprehensive knowledgebase article for tons of useful info on how to get started.

And since we really want to hear what you think about this new feature, please send us your feedback by clicking the “Beta!” button located at the top of the Purchase Order form.  Happy purchasing!

Explore posts in the same categories: Features

58 Comments on “Purchase Orders have finally arrived to a browser near you !”

  1. Thanks!

    If I could have entering a customer’s invoice create a purchase order for me, that would be bliss!

    • ghosh99 Says:

      Ahh Stan … so you want more now … that is great news since we have been talking about that as well !

      Is this something that will be of interest to you and others ?

      1. Create an estimate/invoice for a customer to sell some products/items
      2. Realize that you don’t have enough quantity on hand (QBO will warn you)
      3. QBO automatically creates a PO for those items with the DELTA quantities and you manually fill the vendor, terms shipping etc ?

      Is yes please post your reply here.

      • I am a software reseller. I burn the CD’s locally, so I don’t really carry an “inventory”. However, I have to send a purchase order to my supplier (there’s only one possible supplier in my case) for each copy that I sell. [Of course, I only need one PO if they buy multiple copies. :-)]

        I could set the quantity “on hand” to zero. Would that make QBO create a PO to my supplier? I’d want this action to happen when I create an invoice, but not when I create an estimate — the sales cycle takes months to move from my estimate to getting the customer’s PO. [If it happens at all. :-( ]

        It would be handy in the product list to associate a supplier with a product. In that case, it could create the PO to the correct company automatically.

        I could see that other QBOE users would want to have a list of vendors for each product, with a different price and lead time for each vendor+price+leadtime combination. That way, QBOE could allow the user to choose whether to prefer speed or price.

      • DeniseAdmin Says:

        yes yes, indeed indeed

      • Shanan Says:

        I would love to have the PO auto-generated by creating an invoice (taking into account the delta between any inventory I have on-hand and what I need to order from my suppliers). This would save me a lot of time and effort pushing around data between documents. Please add this feature. Thanks.

      • Chad Says:

        Sounds like a great enhancement! Thanks for the updates!

      • Item one is of definate interest to us. We are a sourcing and resale company that primarly works with american clients overseas. Our clients ask us to find things that they do not have available in their local market places (Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa…etc.).

        A) We then source the product they need (sometimes from multiple locations) send the client a quote/estimate for approval.

        B) Once the client approves the quote/estimate we then issue a Purchase Order to the product supplier(s).

        C) Once delivery is completed then we submit an invoice to the client.

        It would really streamline things if we could do all 3 steps in QBO.

        Finally, Stan’s [March 30, 2010 at 11:23 am] statement is correct…
        “I could see that other QBOE users would want to have a list of vendors for each product, with a different price and lead time for each vendor+price+lead-time combination. That way, QBOE could allow the user to choose whether to prefer speed or price.”

      • sheryl Says:

        It only make since to have po relate to customers especially in a service business. I think develpoers should ask before and get feedback and input for new developments befor ethey come live . wouldn’t that make since to ask what would servcie the cusotmers first then come out with the product? A company that puts customers first is the way we have built our businesses too bad QB doesn’t feel the same way

      • Cathy Says:

        We would definitely love to create multiple purchase orders from one invoice. That seems to bring our relatively smooth process to a screeching halt in Quickbooks Online. Time is money, and we’re losing it re-creating each and every purchase order.

        • Creating a purchase order (or 20 of them) from an invoice would be very useful.

          When I get a payment on an invoice, it’s a guessing game to determine which PO needs to be paid to supplier. There’s no linkage between PO’s and invoices.

    • D.B. Says:

      Finally! I was starting to shop for a new accounting software because I was tired of using Quickbooks Premier for sales orders and purchase orders and using Quickbooks online for the rest of our accounting needs. I still need the sales orders to be tied to purchase orders. Any idea how long it will take for that step?

    • Dave Says:

      In product information we are able to enter a supplier and cost. I agree it would be AWESOME if it automatically created PO(s) based on the sales receipt or invoice!! That would save so much time and effort! Especially for drop ship businesses.

  2. Mary Ellen Johnson Says:

    This is just what I am looking for! How do we get started?

  3. Dean Reigle Says:


    Inventory locations, serialized/lot tracking, pick lists and an API/EDI next!

  4. I have been waiting for the Purchase Order feature before switching to the online version. This is great news. Thanks.

  5. FountainPRO Says:

    Good next step adding purchase orders as it is another important aspect of managing business operations….inventory comes in with the purchase process and goes out with a sale. . . lets hope that this is what it does.

  6. Shari Says:

    We are a consulting business and customers send us PO’s. Over time we invoice againest the PO’s but can not exceed the PO amounts. Is there anyway to track our invoices againest those PO’s?

    • ghosh99 Says:

      When your “Customers/Clients” send you a Purchase Order to buy “stuff” from you, it becomes a Sales Order for you.
      When you send your Vendor or Supplier an Order to buy “stuff” then its called a Purchase Order for you.
      so what you are asking for is Sales Order and we don;t have that feature yet. You can create Estimates against those POs and mark them as “accepted” and you can copy those estimates to create invoices and track them as well.
      -Kaushik Ghosh

      • weolmd Says:

        I am also in a similar situation to Shari. Would love to see the Sales Order feature added too.

        Thanks for the consideration

        • Ben Says:

          I am still waiting for the Sales Order feature to be added, anyone have any word or guesstimate on when that will be?

          • JERRY Says:

            Sales orders would be nice. im looking for a new accounting software that will allow that if QBO does not offer it soon. Im juggling 10 or more purchase orders from one client and its costing me money when I dont bill to the correct order.

            i would also like to see employees able to do weekly time sheets from mobile phones(droid or iphone or Blackberry)

  7. Jackie Says:

    I was very pleased to hear that the Purchase Orders are now available. Been waiting a long time for this implementation. Good job!

    Couple things:

    1. After saving, printing, or previewing the Purchase Order, the only button I can see at the bottom right is the “Save”, I don’t have the option to scroll to the right to print or cancel, etc.

    2. It would also be nice to have an “End User” section if it differs from the Ship To.

    3. And yes to your questions above. It would be nice for PO’s to be created automatically once an estimate has been approved.

    And possibly have a field for “Date Items Received/Delivered” that when completed would generate the customer invoice.

    What a great start though! Keep up the good work.

    • Jackie Says:

      I now see that the End User information can be placed into the “Vendor Message” area. Works for me! :)

  8. ghosh99 Says:

    On question #1 : What browser are you using ? You should be able to see the Print button on the PDF viewer at the top when you are viewing the PDF.
    If you are using MAC Safari/FF there are some limitation that we have documented in the HELP.

    • Jackie Says:

      I am using Internet Explorer 8. When I first select create Purchase Order, on the buttons appear at the bottom of the page. But if I click on the Print, Preview, or Save button when it closes the Adobe application and goes back to the original screen then I lose the buttons on the bottom. The right side of the screen is truncated with no left-right scrolls. Really strange.

  9. Jodie Says:

    What about purchase order approvals inhouse? We would love to use the PO as initiating request for approval and be able to require the manager to approve online before the initiator can send to the vendor and order goods/services.

    • Debbieq Says:

      yes, this is what I was asking for, even using a “to be printed” option would work for us

  10. Debbieq Says:

    would like a “to be printed” (to use as pending/to be ordered) check box so some one could enter purchase orders and someone else could see them and place the order with the vendor

  11. Debbieq Says:

    is it possible to upload product/service list from excel?
    and where can I customize? (add logo, etc)

    • QBO Software Ninja Says:

      We are working on uploading your product/service list from Excel. Please stay tuned.

      You can upload your logo from the new homepage if you are a new user. If you are an existing user please follow these steps:

      1. Company -> Preferences
      2. Form Delivery -> Customize forms -> Customize
      3. Layout -> Logo -> Upload Logo

      Hope this helps.

  12. QBO Software Ninja Says:

    I changed handle from ghosh99 = QBO Software Ninja to let you know that I am a Quickbooks Online Software Engineer working on this feature

  13. Sue McKinney Says:

    I am a non-profit org that uses purchase orders for getting approval of funds being spent. One purchase order could cover a variety of vendors. I would like to see a field added to where I enter bills to put in the purchase order number that has been assigned inhouse.

  14. Melissa Says:


  15. XLDesign4U Says:

    I’m excited about the new PO offering, and I would like to be able to choose from a list of possible vendors. My business provides a turn-key service where printing and signage creation-to-delivery occur. In many instances, I invite several vendors to quote on “out-put” of the project before I provide a “sell” quotation to my clients which includes graphic services + production. It would be great if then I could turn a quote request (awarded) into a PO for that specific vendor. Likewise, I’d like to be able to convert a PO that I’ve awarded to a vendor into a client side invoice with my selected gross profit … or, better yet… create a client quote from my selected “best value” press vendor… then when the process becomes a sale & I make an invoice to my client the activity is all linked to the “same PO” as I use the client invoice # as my vendor PO # also. Right now I have numerous “fill in the blank” templates that I use for these processes (outside of QB online)

  16. RENEES Says:

    ok purchase orders will work.
    but when ordering material (parts) — we could really use something were each individual part is placed as a whole part then called a item (finished product) that number is then given to customers on their estimate or invoice.
    except all individual parts would be listed so that way we can track quantity on hand. our company assembles all parts seperately to make up one item, we then sell this one item to our customer except we cannot use a one item as stock parts because it goes to different items??? individual parts listed individually connected someway to finished product would help i think???

  17. XLDesign4U Says:

    Yes, per Renee’s 4/12/10 comment, an “individual parts” listing would be cool for (vendor) quote invitations, client quotations, POs for vendors we’ve given work to & then, ultimately pull that all into the (sale) client-side invoice generated in QB. For instance, I have a “product” name that is called printed products, and there are instances where I will cost, propose & sell several types of “printed products” to the same client/end-user on one invoice such as post cards, labels, business cards. It would be so helpful to see who I invited to quote (my press resources for out-put), who (which press) I awarded the job to, and then when I make the quotation for the client – I could see which vendor my “line item cost” is coming from. When I make the sale/client accepts my quote – I generate the (sale) invoice & in a perfect world… POs are automatically generated to the (previously selected vendor/resource from when I made the marked-up client quotation) – the PO# would be the same number as the client’s invoice #. I do all this now with my own home-made templates outside of QB with the exception of invoicing my client (which I do when the job goes to press) and entering the vendor invoices once the job is printed/delivered.

  18. Denis Says:

    Purchase orders are a step in the right direction. I would like to see job costing capabilities for small construction companies.

    • Carrie Says:


      I have included a link to an online application, WIPstream, that integrates seamlessly with QBOE and allows for job costing, invoice storage, project manager approval.


      There is a budget function that allows a person to create an account by account budget that can be tracked real-time during or after the project is completed.

      There are several other great features, but this one seems to address your specific need.

      I use this application for a construction company I work for… I am their accountant. Essentially, the projects are costed and approved in WIPStream and the invoices are uploaded and approved by the relevant project managers before the accountant sees them in the “post invoices” area.


  19. Brian Says:

    I don’t see how to add a quantity to a line item in the purchase order. When I place a purchase for “Part A” and I want 250 of them, where can I put this?
    Please advise.

  20. When I convert a purchase order to a Bill for a specific vendor, the bill is already pre-loaded with information from a previous bill. If I don’t clear everything out but click “Add PO”, I wind up with the previous stuff from the bill added to the PO’s information.

  21. Stephanie Says:

    We need to be able to partially close a purchase order. We have large contracts that are approved at a certain amount. As we receive invoices each month we should be able to apply part of the PO to each invoice. The PO should reflect each invoice put against it as well as the remaining funds on the PO.

    It would also be great if we could set up an approval system in QB so that a PO won’t be officially issued until a manager logs in and approves it.

  22. Debbieq Says:

    Is there any way to have the purchase order show up in the customer transaction window when its assigned to a customer so we could see what purchases we previously ordered for that customer?
    or even a report I could memorize?

  23. DREW Says:

    Is there a way to have a task or email reminder sent to alert other users after a PO is initially entered? Our field staff enter the POs but we’d like headquarters/accounting to be alerted.

  24. XLDesign4U Says:

    With regard to Drew’s 4/22 comment: Is there a way to have a task or email reminder sent to alert other users after a PO is initially entered? (I don’t have the same need as him in this situation) I think you can possibly set up some email alerts in your “company set-up” tab… atleast in my account, I have been able to set-up emailable reminders from my QuickBooks Online account to do things & they pop in to my in-box. Perhaps there may be a PO reminder thingy in there that can be set to got to your accounting staff(?)

  25. Debbieq Says:

    can you explain the purchase order process and effect on P&L and accounts?
    I’ve done a few as tests but not sure about when entering new product/service. What affect does checking “I sell this…” “I purchase this …” have on anything? on some I only checked “sell”, some “purchase” and some both trying to see if it affects any accounts. So far I can’t see changes on anything until I receive the and post the bill?
    Also I tried changing the status to “closed” to mark it as received, (even though we haven’t been billed by the vendor yet) but then when I go to enter the bill the po is not listed anymore? Does closing it change to a bill? I looked in the vendor register and on the P&L but didn’t see it listed. So what does closing the po actually do?

  26. Sophia Says:

    Can the PO feature be used for a service ticket? Ive been looking for a feature to integrate my customers and the service we provide.

    If the PO feature can be manipulated somehow to be used to store service provided to customer and then later billed using one program (Quickbooks)






  28. Jim Huffman Says:

    As a 100% paperless office we have always enjoyed the benefit of being able to process invoices, sales receipts, etc from QBOnline without having to print, scan, email and shred. The PO features look great except we’re right back to print, scan, email and shred if a vendor requires a signature on the PO for processing. Could a feature be added to the purchase orders to allow a signature image to be uploaded for printing in the signature block at the bottom?

  29. Paul deBary Says:

    We are a volunteer organization. Our purchasing arrangements are made by persons who are in the field, but do not have access to quickbooks. Is there a way to give them access rights that are limited to entering purchase order information?

    That would help us in managing payables and arranging payments to vendors. At this point, however, I don’t see a way to allow them to enter purchase orders without giving them access that allows them to write checks and make register entries, which would be a systemic risk problem.

  30. Howard C Says:


    A couple of improvement requests for the new new PO functionality:

    1) Please allow sales docs template settings to be automatically applied to PO template.
    2) Please eliminate (or make it a user option) to eliminate the “Item” column on the printed form. Item designations are used for internal references only in many cases.
    3) Please allow for a much larger memo area at the end of the form. I would recommend 10k characters. Many companies have a lengthy legal terms form that accompanies the PO.
    4) The ability to add items from estimates and invoices to a PO would be very helpful (just as you can add PO items to a bill). The flow would be great as follows: 1) enter items on estimate, 2) migrate items to cust invoice, 3) migrate items to PO, and 4) migrate items to vendor bill.

    Otherwise, I like the new functionality and i am very pleased QBO finally got it.

  31. QB Questions Says:

    Why don’t purchase orders show up as transactions in the customer list/detail? When I view all transactions, they don’t show, so how can track what has been ordered for each project, regardless of the vendor?

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