Choosing the Best PO Software for Small Businesses

March 23, 2022

Purchase Order Software helps businesses order and get invoices from suppliers online. It eliminates the need to type data in by hand. This software also reduces mistakes, ensuring you order the right things in the right amounts at the right time.

Choosing the Right Software

Picking the best purchasing software is vital for your business's needs. Purchase orders do more than just ask for goods and services. They track how well vendors do, set payment terms, manage what you have in stock, and lay the groundwork for your accounting team. The right software keeps you organized and efficient.

Key Considerations for Selection

In this post, we'll cover the critical points to consider when selecting the best purchase order software for your business.

Know what to look for in a Purchase Order Software

Get clear on what your needs are before you start shopping. What problems are you looking to solve? What do you need from a purchase order system? One crucial distinction to understand as you evaluate these systems is the difference between purchase requisitions and purchase orders. Recognizing the significance of this distinction is paramount.

A purchase requisition is an internal document that signals a need or request within an organization, often seeking approval to make a purchase. On the other hand, a purchase order is a formal document sent to vendors, confirming the specifics of the purchase. The software you choose should ideally cater to both these aspects, streamlining and distinguishing between these two processes efficiently.

These considerations will point you to the most suitable provider, who will offer you a wholesome solution to your needs. That said, there are essential features a software should contain to suffice running operations in your business effectively. Let's look at these features and why they should matter to you as you opt for a purchasing order software provider.

Inventory Management for Digital and Online Purchases

A good software should help you manage your inventory better, especially in the context of digital and online purchases. With the inventory management feature, you get a complete picture of stock items, crucial for the entire purchasing process. This comprehensive view is essential in avoiding scenarios where you promise delivery of something you don't have in stock. You can track everything from raw material to finished goods easily, aligning with your business processes and purchasing policy.

Data Analysis with Advanced Features

The software you opt for needs to provide analytic reports with advanced features. These reports offer insights into how your business is performing, including the management of purchase orders. This feature predicts what your business is likely to achieve in the future based on historical data, ensuring efficient purchase order management.

Vendor Management in the Purchasing Software

This is where you will store all the details about each of your vendors — names, addresses, contact information, and payment terms. With all this information in one central location, such as a purchase order management system, it's easy for everyone to find what they need. You'll also be able to easily find vendors who offer specific products at competitive prices by searching through their catalogs, enhancing the entire purchase order solution.

Purchase Order Status Tracking in the Purchase Order Management Software

The PO software with a purchase order (PO) tracking feature, including managing the PO number, integrates with accounting systems. This is a type of purchase order management software that updates the order status automatically in your accounting software when a shipment has been made (or invoice paid). 

Once you send out POs, you must know their status. Is the PO still open? Has it been approved? Has it been shipped? With this feature, you will also track each step in the purchase order process in real-time, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. For example, if you have an order awaiting approval, you can quickly know who the approver is and why it is not yet approved.

Understanding Purchase Order Tracking in Business Operations

Purchase order tracking, a crucial aspect of supplier management and financial management, is key in the business model of buying and selling. It involves overseeing the entire purchase order process system, from manual purchase to electronic purchase, ensuring effective business operations.

1. Knowing What's Happening: A Core Business Process

This process allows real-time visibility into order statuses within the approval workflow, fostering accountability in supplier management. It helps avoid mistakes and disagreements between buyers and sellers, integral to the business function.

2. Keeping Track of Money: Financial Management Tool

It aids in financial management by monitoring spending against approved purchase orders through a purchase order approval system. This stops businesses from overspending and supports making informed financial decisions, a vital business process.

3. Checking Supplier Quality: Supplier Management

This process, a part of supplier management, evaluates supplier performance within the business model. It identifies reliable suppliers and addresses issues with underperforming ones, improving relationships and fitting into the overall business function.

4. Smoother Process: Enhanced by Cloud-Based Purchasing Software

Purchase order tracking streamlines the procurement workflow, making it more efficient. Cloud-based purchase order software reduces delays and minimizes disruptions, enhancing business operations.

5. Following Rules: Compliance in Business Operations

Maintaining detailed records of orders in a specific purchase order format ensures compliance with regulations. This is crucial for audits and demonstrates transparency and responsibility in business operations.

6. Planning for the Future: A Strategic Business Function

Historical data from the purchase order process system is valuable for future planning. It enables data-driven decisions, optimizing inventory levels, and negotiating better terms, all integral to the business model.

7. Fewer Mistakes: Importance in Business Process

Tracking helps detect discrepancies early, a key business process. This reduces risks in manual and electronic purchases, lowering the chance of issues in the purchase approvals process.

Purchase order tracking, essential for effective management, is a cornerstone in the business model. It encompasses supplier management, financial management, and approval workflows. Cloud-based purchase order software plays a significant role in optimizing these business functions and processes, contributing to overall business success.

What's the purpose of a Purchase Order?

A purchase order is a commercial procurement document that is created by a business purchasing department when placing an order with its vendors and/or suppliers. This document, a key part of the entire procurement process, specifies the details on the desired items (type of goods, quantity, and price), and serves as a binding contract. It helps in managing unnecessary spending and streamlines strategic tasks.

Sales Orders vs. Purchase Orders: Key Distinctions for Business Success

Sales orders and purchase orders are fundamental documents in the world of business, each playing a distinct role in the supply chain. Sales orders represent the demand side of the equation, initiated by customers when they want to purchase goods or services from your company. 

These orders outline the specifics of what a customer needs and when they need it. On the other hand, purchase orders, which can range from simple purchases to contract purchases, are generated by your company when you intend to buy goods or services from suppliers. They detail what you require, terms of the purchase, and when you need it, encompassing various types of purchase orders.

Understanding the importance of these documents is crucial. Sales orders help your business manage customer demand, ensuring you fulfill orders accurately and on time. They also serve as a basis for revenue recognition, helping you track your sales performance. Meanwhile, purchase orders are vital for managing your supply chain efficiently. They allow you to control costs, negotiate favorable terms with suppliers, and maintain inventory levels that meet demand without overstocking, highlighting the benefits of purchase orders.

Issue Automatic Purchase Orders

This feature is the most crucial for any accounting software with a focus on purchase orders. The primary task of the software is to create and issue purchase orders. The software should send out purchase orders in just a few clicks and include all the necessary details like item details, shipping method, and stock alerts. In addition, this feature also provides terms & conditions of the order, including payment terms, delivery dates, and discounts offered.

Approve & Reject Orders

Invoice approvals are an essential part of the purchase order cycle, and it should be straightforward for the approvers, often part of the procurement team, to approve or reject an order without hassle. Businesses approve and reject orders by sending emails or through SMS notifications. It should be possible to do bulk approvals, saving time and focusing on strategic tasks.

Managing Approvals and Requisitions

Purchase order management software often includes a workflow tool that automates the approval process. The software functions such that designated managers are notified when an employee creates a PO and the appropriate approvals are automatically sent to the finance department or other decision-makers. You can also set limits on how much employees can spend without approval, preventing unwanted spending.

Blanket Purchase Order

A blanket purchase order is an agreement that authorizes repeated purchases of products or services from a vendor. It allows buyers to pay for multiple products or services and does not require a new purchase order for each transaction. The blanket purchase order feature allows businesses to set up an authorization for multiple purchases within certain conditions. Blanket purchase orders authorize a supplier to provide the goods or services listed in the document over a specified period or until certain spending limits are reached. This feature can be used instead of creating multiple one-time purchase orders, which would require more administrative effort and design purchase forms for each.

Matching Purchase Orders with Invoices

Purchase order software with this feature compares the original purchase order to the invoice from the supplier and checks for discrepancies. They facilitate faster processing of invoices, reduce errors, facilitate quicker payment cycles, and help identify any potential fraud issues. Some purchase order solutions can even eliminate paper entirely, by capturing invoice data electronically, and automatically matching it to the appropriate purchase order in an accounting system. Here are other essential factors you should look into before settling for a given provider, including the basic plan and key benefits of the software.

Flexibility in Choosing Plans

On top of the functional features, you should look out for the provider's operational models, to only settle with the one well aligned with the business' capacities.Beware of companies that offer only one type of plan, as this may not suit your business needs. See to it that the software package provides flexible plans designed to cater to the specific needs of your business. Whether you want to pay per month or per transaction, you should have the freedom to choose what is best for you.

What Are Purchase Order Terms and Conditions?

Purchase order terms and conditions are the contractual clauses and stipulations that govern the buyer-supplier relationship during a purchase transaction. They outline the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of both parties, establishing a clear framework for the purchase.

Key Components of Purchase Order Terms and Conditions:

Payment Terms: This section specifies how and when payments will be made, including details such as payment methods, due dates, and currency.

Delivery Terms: These terms outline how and when the goods or services will be delivered, including shipping methods, delivery dates, and any associated costs.

Product Specifications: Detailed descriptions of the products or services being purchased, including quantity, quality standards, and any applicable warranties.

Pricing: The agreed-upon prices for the products or services, including any discounts, taxes, or additional fees.

Cancellation and Returns: Guidelines for canceling or returning orders, along with any associated penalties or restocking fees.

Intellectual Property: If relevant, this section addresses the ownership and usage rights of intellectual property associated with the purchase.

Dispute Resolution: Procedures for resolving disputes between the buyer and the supplier, often through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

Confidentiality: Protection of sensitive information shared during the transaction, ensuring it remains confidential.

The Role of Procurement Software (AKA Purchasing Software):

Automation: Procurement software streamlines the process of generating purchase orders and ensures that the relevant terms and conditions are automatically included. This minimizes errors and saves time.

Compliance: Procurement software can help ensure your purchase orders comply with industry regulations and your organization's internal policies.

Visibility: By storing purchase order terms and conditions digitally, procurement software makes it easy to access and reference them when needed, promoting transparency.

Auditing: These systems record of all purchase orders and their associated terms and conditions, aiding in audits and compliance checks.

Benefits of Properly Managed Purchase Order Terms and Conditions:

Risk Mitigation: Defined terms and conditions reduce the risk of disputes and legal issues, protecting your organization from potential financial and reputational damage.

Cost Control: Properly negotiated terms can lead to cost savings through favorable pricing, discounts, and payment terms.

Supplier Relations: Well-structured terms and conditions foster positive relationships with suppliers, enhancing collaboration and reliability.

Efficiency: Procurement software ensures that terms and conditions are consistently applied across all purchase orders, reducing manual effort and ensuring accuracy.

Talk to other businesses about their purchase order software

If there's another business with a sound system in your industry, ask them which software they use and why they like it. Word of mouth is still a great way to find reasonable software solutions.

Check out online review sites.

Capterra is one the best places to look for reviews and comparisons of different types of software. You can also check out G2 Crowd and Software Advice. You'll get honest feedback from users of the various products to make an informed decision.

Benefits of Purchase Order Software

Think of purchase order software as a way to automate and streamline the entire PO process. It eliminates manual tasks.

Here are some of the benefits that a good purchase order software can bring to your business:

Faster processing of purchase orders

One of the things that a purchase order software does best is the fast processing of POs. You don't need to manually fill out forms or type up emails anymore when you have a system. This makes processing faster and more efficient, especially if you have a lot of orders coming in every day. The time and money that you save from this can be better spent on other areas in the business that need your attention.

Minimal errors

Manually filling out forms, typing emails, and entering information into spreadsheets are prone to errors. One wrong detail could mean inaccurate records and incorrect data, leading to miscommunication between you and your customers. But with dependable purchase order software, there are no more manually filled out forms, which means fewer errors in the process.

Centralized system

With a purchase order software, everything is stored in one centralized system, which means access to all data anytime you need it (and anywhere you are). The enhanced data access eliminates excessive consultations across the business, smoothening operations further.

Boosts efficiency

A purchase order software means that you can process, manage, and track many purchase orders. It makes the whole system of generating purchase orders fast and simple. It thus does away with the staff time spent on manual handling of these tasks.

Implementing the selected software.

Once you've settled for a particular provider, it's time to roll it out into your organization. Be careful. The rate of technology implementation is devastatingly low, and you don't want to fall off in the middle of the automation process. It's only practical to finish what you start and reap its rewards. For an easier transition from your manual routine to the newly adopted automation software, which may include features like payment processor integration and customer loyalty programs, define your current systems adequately and train your staff.

Standardize your current processes

Standardized processes are essential for any successful business. If you don't have standardized processes, your employees will be confused about how to do their jobs, causing them to spend more time on tasks than they should need to. Purchase order software, often a common feature in business operations, is only as good as the processes you have in place; therefore, it's important that you first standardize your purchasing processes before implementing a new system. 

This includes understanding payment processing fees and the use of payment terminals to enhance customer experience. Purchase orders should be made to vendors after being approved by the relevant team in charge. This means that purchase orders should be reviewed and approved before they are sent out to vendors. 

The procurement team is often the one most suited for this task, but it needs to be determined beforehand who will do the approval. It's essential to create a framework for receiving and approving purchase orders so that the process is as smooth as possible. This will ensure that all of your employees know exactly what to do when they have a request or need something ordered, and how to interact with customer displays if they are part of your system.

Benefits of Purchase Orders Template in Streamlining Procurement

Harnessing the efficiency of purchase orders templates is akin to setting a foundational pillar for your hardware startup's procurement processes. A well-structured template provides a standardized format and ensures consistency in capturing vital order details. With the dynamism that hardware startups usually display, any tool that fosters streamlined, repeatable, and error-free operations is invaluable. When embedded within an automated purchase order system, such templates become the bedrock for speed, accuracy, and scalability. While automation is the engine driving the procurement car, the purchase orders template is the blueprint, ensuring the vehicle is built to perfection.

The Crucial Role of a Purchase Order Template in Business Efficiency

In the fast-paced world of business, precision and efficiency are paramount. This is where a Purchase Order Template in word processing software plays a vital role for companies. This seemingly simple document is the linchpin of successful procurement, ensuring that orders are clear, organized, and compliant with company policies.

Through the use of a Purchase Order Template, companies can streamline their purchasing processes, reducing the risk of errors and misunderstandings. It serves as a standardized blueprint, guiding employees through the procurement process and facilitating communication between departments.

Furthermore, this template helps businesses maintain a comprehensive record of their purchases, promoting transparency and accountability. It becomes invaluable during audits, budget planning, and vendor negotiations.

Streamlining the Order to Cash Process: Enhancing Efficiency and Revenue Growth

The Order to Cash (O2C) process is a fundamental business workflow that plays a pivotal role in the success of any organization. It encompasses the entire journey of a customer's order, from the initial request to the final payment receipt. This process is of paramount importance as it directly impacts revenue generation and customer satisfaction.

The O2C process typically involves several key steps:

1. Order Creation: It starts with a customer placing an order, through various sales channels or directly with the company.

2. Order Processing: Once received, the order is validated, and inventory availability is checked. Any necessary approvals are obtained, and the order is prepared for fulfillment.

3. Fulfillment: This phase involves picking, packing, and shipping the products or services to the customer. Accurate and efficient fulfillment is critical to meeting customer expectations.

4. Invoicing: An invoice is generated based on the order, detailing the products or services provided, their quantities, and the agreed-upon prices. This is a crucial step in revenue recognition.

5. Payment Processing: After receiving the invoice, the customer makes payment using their chosen method, which may include credit cards, checks, or online payment systems.

6. Cash Application: The received payments are matched with the corresponding invoices and applied to the customer's account. This step ensures accurate financial record-keeping.

7. Collections: In delayed payments or disputes, organizations may need to engage in collections activities to secure outstanding funds.

8. Reporting and Analysis: Throughout the O2C process, data is collected and analyzed to monitor performance, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions for process improvement.

Efficiency and accuracy in the O2C process are vital for maintaining cash flow, reducing operational costs, and fostering positive customer relationships. Automation, integrated software solutions, and data-driven insights are increasingly utilized to streamline and optimize this process.


POs are an essential part of managing the cash flow within your business. With an efficient purchase order system in place, you are better equipped to handle the cash flow within your business. It will allow you to make timely payments against purchases which are crucial for maintaining a good credit score.The one you choose should be simple to use, but have enough features to handle all of your needs without driving up your costs unnecessarily. Once you find the right purchase order system, implementing it will be much easier. Quality purchase order software can be the foundation of your business finances, so make sure to choose wisely.

What is purchase order software?

Purchase order software is a powerful tool that automates and streamlines the process of creating, sending, and managing purchase orders. It helps businesses track inventory, analyze data, manage vendors, issue automatic purchase orders, and more.

What should I look for in purchase order software?

When choosing purchase order software, look for features like inventory management, data analysis capabilities, vendor management tools, real-time tracking of purchase orders, and the ability to issue automatic purchase orders. These features will enhance efficiency and streamline your operations.

How can purchase order software benefit my business?

Purchase order software offers numerous benefits, including faster processing, reduced errors, centralized data management, increased efficiency, improved cash flow, and better supplier relationships. It eliminates manual tasks, enhances accuracy, and allows you to focus on growing your business.

How can I find the right purchase order software for my business?

To find the right purchase order software, reach out to other businesses in your industry for recommendations and learn from their experiences. You can also explore online review sites like Capterra, G2 Crowd, and Software Advice to read honest feedback from users. This research will help you make an informed decision.

How do I implement purchase order software effectively?

To implement purchase order software effectively, start by defining your current systems and processes. Standardize your workflows, train your staff on the new software, and ensure proper integration with your existing systems. It's a journey that requires planning and collaboration, but the benefits are well worth it.

What are the key features to look for in purchase order software?

Some key features to look for in purchase order software include inventory management, data analysis capabilities, vendor management tools, real-time tracking of purchase orders, the ability to issue automatic purchase orders, bulk approvals, requisition management, and matching purchase orders with invoices. These features will enhance efficiency and streamline your operations.

Can purchase order software help improve cash flow?

Yes, purchase order software can help improve cash flow by automating processes, minimizing errors, and streamlining the entire purchase order process. With faster processing and more accurate tracking, you can ensure timely payments and better manage your cash flow.

Is purchase order software suitable for all businesses?

Purchase order software is beneficial for businesses of all sizes, especially those that frequently deal with purchase orders, inventory management, and vendor relationships. It helps businesses streamline their operations, save time, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency.

How does purchase order software contribute to efficiency?

Purchase order software contributes to efficiency by automating manual tasks, reducing errors, providing real-time tracking, centralizing data, and offering features like automatic purchase order issuance. By eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual processes, businesses can operate more efficiently and focus on growth.

Purchase Order vs Invoice: Are they the same?

A purchase order is a commercialprocurement document that is created by a business' purchasing department whenplacing an order with its vendors and/or suppliers. The document specifies thedetails on the desired items (type of goods, quantity, and price). An invoiceis a time-stamped commercial document that details and records a transactionbetween a buyer and a seller. If goods or services were purchased on credit,the invoice usually details the terms of the agreement and provides informationon the available payment methods.

What is an electronic purchase order?

An electronicpurchase order is the same as a traditional purchase order, except that it isnot placed on paper. It is a digital document that outlines the line items inan order, the terms and conditions both the buyer and seller must adhere to,pricing, delivery, and other information you'd expect to find on a PO.

What's order time?

Order time or purchasing lead time starts when the goods or services are ordered and ends when they arereceived. This lead time includes availability confirmation, ordering,order acknowledgement, shipping notice, receipt of goods or service, invoice recordingand payment.

What is a Purchase Order book?

Purchase Order Book shows a summaryof all purchase orders. You can view a list of all the purchase orders untilthe date of last order entered.

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