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How to create and send purchase orders in QuickBooks

Creating and managing purchase orders is vital to running a smooth operation, especially for manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution businesses.

Accounting software like QuickBooks simplifies this process for you. But how can you create a purchase order in QuickBooks, and what are the best ways to handle QuickBooks purchase orders?

In this blog, you’ll learn the steps for creating a purchase order in both QuickBooks Online and Desktop, including:

  • Activating the feature in QuickBooks Online.
  • Updating a purchase order status.
  • Monitoring open purchase orders.
  • Logging received items.

Let’s dive in.

How to create a purchase order in QuickBooks

QuickBooks offers a comprehensive toolset for managing many aspects of your sales cycle, from inventory management to creating and tracking purchase orders.

For QuickBooks Online users

Step 1: Activate the purchase order feature

You need to activate the feature before you can create a purchase order.

  1. Navigate to “Settings” and select “Account and Settings”.
  2. Click on the “Expenses” tab. In the “Purchase Orders” section, click the edit icon.
  3. Turn on the “Use Purchase Orders” option.

Save your changes, and you’re ready to start creating QuickBooks purchase orders.

Step 2: Create and send purchase orders

Creating a purchase order in QuickBooks Online is straightforward.

  1. Click “+New” and select “Purchase Order”.
  2. Choose your supplier from the dropdown menu, review the mailing address, and fill in the the items you want to purchase.
  3. If shipping directly to the customer, confirm the shipping address.
  4. Save the purchase order for later or send it immediately to your supplier.

If you save the purchase order for later, you can find it under “Expenses” and select “Send” in the action column when ready.

Step 3: Update purchase order status

After creating a purchase order, its status defaults to “Open”.

Once your supplier accepts the purchase order, you can add it to an expense or bill to finalize the transaction. QuickBooks Online will then automatically update the status to “Closed”.

Step 4: Monitor open purchase orders

Tracking your open purchase orders is essential for maintaining a balanced account. To monitor your open purchase orders:

  1. Navigate to “Business overview” and click “Reports”.
  2. Then, run one of the following reports:
  • Open Purchase Order List.
  • Open Purchase Order Detail.
  • Purchases by Product/Service Detail.
  • Purchases by Supplier Detail.

QuickBooks reports provide an easy way to monitor your open purchase orders, ensuring you have a clear view of your pending transactions.

For QuickBooks Desktop users

Step 1: Create a purchase order

Before you create a purchase order in QuickBooks Desktop, ensure the feature is enabled:

  • Go to Edit > Preferences > Items & Inventory.
  • Check the “Inventory and purchase orders are active” box.


  1. Navigate to “Suppliers” and select “Create Purchase Orders”. 
  2. Choose your supplier from the dropdown menu, fill in the necessary fields, and add the items you wish to order.
  3. Save your changes.

Step 2: Monitor open purchase orders

To view all open purchase orders:

  1. Go to Lists > Customer & Supplier Profiles > Purchase Orders and change the “Open Purchase Orders” filter.
  2. Alternatively, create a report of your open purchase orders by navigating to Reports > Purchases > Open Purchase Orders.

Step 3: Log received items

It’s essential that you record the goods received following a purchase order. The transaction you use depends on when you pay for the items.

Your options are:

  • Preparing an item receipt if you’ll be billed later.
  • Creating a bill if you were billed upon receiving the goods.
  • Logging a check or credit card charge if you paid upon receiving the items.

Once all items on the purchase order are received, QuickBooks marks the respective purchase order as “Received in Full”.

How Method improves QuickBooks purchase orders

Method integrates with QuickBooks Online and Desktop in real time to ensure your data is always accurate and up-to-date. You can automatically sync all your data, including contacts, invoices, estimates, and more.

Additionally, you can set up rules to automate your business processes, such as triggering automatic invoicing to customers once a purchase order is approved.

Method’s Purchase Order app lets you:

  • Create personalized purchased orders.
  • Set up custom workflow automation.
  • Capture e-signature for purchase order approvals.
Overview of Method:CRM's digital signature modal.

With Method, you can tailor your workflow to fit your business needs, including setting up multiple approval stages, sending reminders, or adding custom fields.

See the power of Method’s automation in action below.

QuickBooks purchase order FAQs

Can you create purchase orders in QuickBooks Online?

Absolutely! You can create a purchase order in QuickBooks Online with its dedicated feature. With a few simple steps, you can generate a purchase order, send it to your vendor, and monitor its status on the platform. 

How to convert purchase order to invoice in QuickBooks?

Once you’ve received the goods or services from the vendor, you can easily convert a purchase order into an invoice. Don’t delete the purchase order to ensure accurate records in QuickBooks and simplify the billing process.

Instead, select “Copy to Bill” from the respective Purchase Order page. Review the vendor and item information and hit “Save”.Gain control.

Grow with confidence. Try Method for free today.

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