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Purchase Order vs Invoice: What’s the Difference?

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difference between purchase order and invoice

It is the documents sent by buyers to the sellers with the details regarding products or services required, quantities, and price. After the seller approves it, the purchase order becomes a legal document. For instance, both documents frequently refer to the difference between purchase order and invoice same goods or services and provide the buyer and seller’s details, such as company names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses. Most importantly, both POs and invoices constitute legally enforceable agreements, making them official records for your company.

difference between purchase order and invoice

The purchase order makes it easier to track the money as it keeps a record of all the purchasing information. It will also be easier to access the information on the past purchase. As you can track down your cost and spending, it will be easier to keep records of finances. The accurate record of the finance makes it easier in calculating the tax and audit. If you use some extra time to generate and send the purchase order, then it can save a lot of your time in the long run. First, the purchase order system simplifies the ordering process and makes everything easier and simpler for both buyers and sellers.

with Streamlined Purchasing

That purchase order also includes other details like payment gateway, price of each item, delivery date, and other relevant terms and conditions. Standing purchase orders can be created for long-term customers who order the same products often. The same purchase order number can be used for the standing PO as the customer orders the same products or services several times over a time. Regardless of the type of invoice used, it’s essential to understand its purpose and how to use it effectively.

difference between purchase order and invoice

To avoid losing data stored inside purchase order invoices, retail businesses can transform their procurement into an automated and centralized process. Most retail software can generate this number automatically when a new purchase order is created. Both the buyer and the seller will use this number throughout the buying process. The seller can also use this PO number when it’s time to send an invoice to the buyer. Invoices and purchase orders are critical components of the purchasing process for every business. Anyone involved in acquiring goods or services on behalf of a company should be aware of the differences between the two.

What information should I include in my invoices?

An example would be a restaurant issuing a purchase order specifying the quantity, price, and delivery date of the ingredients they need. Understanding the difference between purchase orders and invoices is crucial for keeping track of expenses, inventory, and payments. Using purchase orders and invoices effectively allows small business owners to manage their finances more efficiently and avoid confusion or disputes with suppliers or buyers. The most important difference is that vendors send a purchase order to track and manage the purchasing process. An invoice, on the other hand, is an official payment request vendors send to buyers once an order is completed.

This will help to avoid any confusion or problems with your customer. Your clients can then pay your invoice in just one click using a variety of methods (credit/debit card, PayPal, Stripe, etc.). For instance, in a larger company, it’s the Purchasing Department that handles the creation of purchase orders (after receiving the requisition). Anything you can do to make buying and selling products/services is worth doing. By using manual processes for your company spending, you’re putting your company at financial risk.

How does a purchase order work?

You’ll find freelancers, small business owners, local service providers, and other similar businesses submitting invoices to customers. This is normally done by the owner, the finance department, or individual freelancer. The primary difference between a purchase order and invoice is what they display and how they’re used. For instance, you send a purchase order to suppliers to order products or services. Filing taxes isn’t a fun activity whether you’re a large or a small business.

  • Once a seller receives a PO, they send the products and an invoice to the buyer for payment.
  • By numbering the POs and invoices, accounting departments are better able to stay organized and keep track of your payment schedule.
  • There are many invoicing software solutions available on the market.
  • This not only shows appreciation but also reinforces a positive business relationship.
  • However, any business can benefit from using purchase orders during the purchasing processes.

Even if many of the details on a purchase order and an invoice are the same, these documents have different functions on the business. The invoices are created after the purchase order, and they may be formally processed or informally settled. Good recordkeeping is a critical part of any business, especially the purchase and procurement process.

Invoice Components

By understanding these distinctions, businesses can maintain accurate records and ensure a smooth business operation. In the case of an invoice, it is a document issued by the seller after the order is completed or delivered to the clients. The vendors or sellers have to accomplish the terms defined in the purchase order to send the invoice and request for payment. Basically, the simple invoice includes the price mentioned on PO that the buyer should pay. Generally, the key difference is that a purchase order is a document sent by buyers to sellers to confirm the order information and track the purchasing process. In contrast, an invoice acts as an official payment request sent by sellers to buyers once everything is delivered.

They act as a reference point throughout the sales cycle, helping sales teams and other departments coordinate their efforts to meet customer needs. Both have their own function and are quite different documents needed during the business transaction. The purchase order is issued by the buyer (or client) at the start of a business transaction. On the other hand, an invoice is issued by the seller (or vendor) when the order defined in the purchase order is completed.


The purchase order is produced by the buyer and issued to the supplier for acceptance. A copy of purchase order is sent to the account payable department so that it can be matched with the invoice in the future. The purpose of a sales invoice is to outline the goods and services provided, the quantity of each and business terms such as delivery method and payment due date.

difference between purchase order and invoice

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