What is a Purchase Order Form?

By The GoCanvas Team on February 20, 2022

Purchase order forms are used to record the details of a transaction between a buyer and seller. Purchase orders, often referred to as POs, are used by different types of companies for their documentation and record-keeping purposes. Purchase orders are most commonly used by companies that need to process sales, with use cases that span from the retail industry, wholesale businesses, restaurants, vendors, service providers, and more.

Like other forms of documentation, order forms are designed to include all of the relevant details of the purchase and clarify what’s included with this transaction between the buyer and seller of goods or services. Purchase orders become transactional documents when both parties sign off on the agreement of the sale.

This article covers common ways to create a purchase order form, with examples and templates from GoCanvas to help you simplify the purchase order management process for your business.

How do I create a purchase order form?

Deciding how to create a purchase order form will depend entirely on your business needs. There are many tools available that your business can leverage to create a purchase order form. Here are a few options for creating PO forms:

Paper: The most basic option is simply using a pen and paper form to fill out POs on the job. However, managing paper forms can become complicated when you have a growing business or multiple locations. To solve the challenges of paper forms, many companies are switching to digital tools to simplify and streamline their business operations. 

Word or Excel: For companies starting out in exploring digital options, many look to familiar tools like Excel, Google Sheets, or Word document templates for purchase order forms. While these tools are good for managing your own documents, they can be limited in terms of providing workflow and collaboration tools to manage and share information between multiple people in real-time.

Software and Apps: The best option for companies that need to scale their operations is to consider digital apps and software built for order form management. This category of software provides an easy-to-use system for creating and assigning purchase orders, capturing images and digital signatures, and sharing PDF files in real-time to both the seller and buyer. Going from paper forms to digital software and apps is designed to help companies provide a better service experience, collect payments faster, and maximize productivity by eliminating manual work.

Example of a purchase order form

No matter what format you decide on to create your purchase order, there are some common types of information to include on these forms. Here is an example of how to write a purchase order and what to include in your form:

Seller and Buyer details: When writing the purchase order, it should document the basics of the transaction between parties. Including things like the name of merchant, name of purchaser, billing addresses, and similar types of information typically need to be recorded on the PO.

Purchase Order details: When you are writing the purchase order, it should include all of the specifics relevant to the agreement. Many companies will include things like a unique PO #, the shipping terms, a description of items being purchased, the payment method and payment terms, and the date of the PO.

Calculations: A typical format of writing a purchase order will have a table or fields that are used for calculations, with quantities of items, price per item, taxes, and total amount to be billed. Many software tools for purchase order forms will also help by providing automatic calculations to ensure accurate billing every time. 

Images: While much of the purchase order form will be written in text format fields, you may want to include any relevant images that add context to the sales order. This could be branding the document with company logos or even capturing photo images of the items being sold to include along with the order form. 

Signatures: Capturing a signature may be required for the purchase order form. In that case, it can be helpful to have software or apps for PO management to sign off digitally on documents and share the final PDF report when multiple parties have signed off on the agreement.

Purchase Order Form Templates

A purchase order is like a blank canvas and writing a form can be done in whatever way makes the most sense for your business. Starting from scratch though can be difficult, which is why GoCanvas has created a wide range of purchase order templates to get you started. These digital form templates can be customized to fit any business needs, and we have different purchase orders depending on your industry or use case. Using our drag and drop form builder, creating a digital purchase order is simple and doesn’t require any advanced training or help from an IT department. 

Access the simple purchase order form app here on the GoCanvas app store or view a PDF version of the template here.