How do I Choose the Best Purchase Order Template?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In order to choose the best purchase order template, the informational needs of all parties who will use or refer to the purchase order should be considered. In some cases, a business or sole proprietor will be able to download a basic purchase order template that will meet the needs of all of the parties who will come into contact with the document. In other cases, a purchase order template may have to be altered from its basic form or created from scratch in order to meet the unique needs of the company generating purchase orders, as well as the parties who will receive or process the purchase order. If the purchase order requires very detailed information about the items that are being purchased — including items such as diagrams or other similar supporting information — the purchase order template may have to be altered in order to make room for this information.

A good purchase order template will meet the needs of all parties who come into contact with the document.
A good purchase order template will meet the needs of all parties who come into contact with the document.

There are a few basic pieces of information that should be present on every purchase order template. First, there should be at least two addresses on the purchase order template: the address of the office that manages purchase orders and the address of the company or organization to which the purchase order is being sent. If the items that are being purchased are to be shipped to an address other than the office address, that address must be noted as well under the heading "Ship To." Other important information to include on a purchase order is the name and contact information for the person placing the purchase order, the date of the purchase order, detailed information on the items being purchased, and the total dollar amount of the order. It is also common for companies to use purchase order numbers in order to track their purchase orders, so there should be a space for this information as well.

Purchase orders may be mailed, faxed, e-mailed, or simply called in to the vendor.
Purchase orders may be mailed, faxed, e-mailed, or simply called in to the vendor.

It is also common for a purchase order template to include a space for the signature of the purchaser. Some templates also include a section for notes. Finally, some purchase order templates also include a place for the completion date for the order. If the items on the purchase order must be delivered by a certain date, or within a certain date rage, there can be a space for this on a purchase order template. Once a company or organization has been using purchase orders for a while, they can begin to tweak their template until they figure out what works best.

A company that reconciles their purchase orders with a packing slip at delivery may want to include detailed item descriptions.
A company that reconciles their purchase orders with a packing slip at delivery may want to include detailed item descriptions.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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