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Purchase Order vs. Sales Order: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A Purchase Order is a document from a buyer to a seller requesting goods, while a Sales Order is issued by the seller confirming the sale.
Purchase Order vs. Sales Order

Key Differences

A Purchase Order (PO) is an official document issued by a buyer proposing to buy products or services. On the other hand, a Sales Order is created by a seller as a response to a purchase order, confirming the sale of the specified items.
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Dec 08, 2023
The Purchase Order outlines the type, quantity, and price of the goods/services the buyer intends to purchase. In contrast, a Sales Order details the products or services the seller agrees to supply, at the agreed-upon prices.
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Purchase Orders are used by buyers as a financial commitment and an order to procure goods. Sales Orders represent the seller's acceptance of the buyer's purchase order and an intention to fulfill the order.
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Dec 08, 2023
A Purchase Order serves as a legal offer to buy and becomes a contract upon acceptance. Meanwhile, a Sales Order is essentially a confirmation document that acknowledges the seller’s commitment to sell the goods or services.
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Dec 08, 2023
In the procurement process, a Purchase Order is generated first, initiating the transaction. The Sales Order follows as a subsequent step, confirming and detailing the transaction initiated by the PO.
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Comparison Chart

Issued By

Buyer
Seller
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Purpose

To request the purchase of goods/services
To confirm the sale of goods/services
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Role in Transaction

Legal offer to buy
Acceptance and confirmation of sale
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Sequence in Sales Process

Initiates the purchasing process
Follows the purchase order, finalizing the deal
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Document Detail

Specifies what the buyer wants to buy
Specifies what the seller agrees to sell
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Purchase Order and Sales Order Definitions

Purchase Order

A Purchase Order is an official request from a buyer to a seller for goods or services.
The company issued a Purchase Order for new office furniture.
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Dec 02, 2023

Sales Order

A Sales Order is a document issued by a seller confirming a purchase agreement.
The Sales Order for the custom furniture was prepared and sent to the client.
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Dec 02, 2023

Purchase Order

It is a document specifying the type, quantity, and agreed price of products.
The Purchase Order included 100 units of computer hardware at a negotiated price.
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Dec 02, 2023

Sales Order

It is used to organize and track the fulfillment of the order.
The Sales Order was used to coordinate the shipment of the electronics.
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Dec 02, 2023

Purchase Order

It serves as a legal offer that becomes binding when accepted by the seller.
Their Purchase Order for software licenses was accepted by the vendor.
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Sales Order

It details the products or services the seller has agreed to deliver.
The Sales Order listed all the books and their quantities for the library supply.
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Dec 02, 2023

Purchase Order

A Purchase Order represents a buyer's commitment to buy the specified items.
The Purchase Order was sent to secure the needed medical supplies.
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Dec 02, 2023

Sales Order

A Sales Order formalizes the terms of sale between the buyer and the seller.
The Sales Order detailed the delivery dates and payment terms for the transaction.
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Dec 02, 2023

Purchase Order

A Purchase Order is used to control the purchasing of products and services.
The manager approved the Purchase Order for the new marketing materials.
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Dec 02, 2023

Sales Order

A Sales Order confirms the seller's acceptance of the buyer's order.
Upon receiving the Purchase Order, the company issued a Sales Order.
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Dec 02, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is a Sales Order legally binding?

Yes, a Sales Order is a legally binding confirmation of the sale.
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Does a Purchase Order require approval?

Yes, a Purchase Order typically requires approval from the buyer's management or procurement department.
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Can a Purchase Order be cancelled?

A Purchase Order can be cancelled, subject to the terms agreed upon between the buyer and seller.
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What happens after a Sales Order is issued?

After issuing a Sales Order, the seller prepares and delivers the goods or services.
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Are Sales Orders used for invoicing?

Yes, Sales Orders are often used as a basis for generating invoices.
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Who prepares a Sales Order?

The seller's sales or order management team usually prepares the Sales Order.
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How does a Purchase Order ensure delivery?

A Purchase Order acts as a formal agreement, obligating the seller to deliver as specified.
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What is the primary purpose of a Purchase Order?

A Purchase Order is used to formally request goods or services from a seller.
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What information is included in a Purchase Order?

A Purchase Order includes details like product type, quantity, price, and delivery instructions.
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How does a Sales Order help in inventory management?

A Sales Order helps track inventory by documenting what needs to be delivered or produced.
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Can a Purchase Order be modified?

Modifying a Purchase Order is possible but usually requires agreement from both the buyer and seller.
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What role does a Sales Order play in customer service?

A Sales Order provides customers with confirmation and details of their purchase, enhancing customer service.
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Do all companies use Purchase Orders?

Most companies use Purchase Orders, but practices can vary based on company size and policy.
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Are digital Sales Orders common?

Yes, digital or electronic Sales Orders are increasingly common and efficient.
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How long is a Sales Order valid?

The validity of a Sales Order depends on the terms set by the seller and agreed upon by the buyer.
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Can a Sales Order be automated?

Yes, Sales Orders can be automated using various order management software solutions.
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Can a Sales Order be used for returns?

A Sales Order can be referenced in return or exchange processes.
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What is the difference between a Purchase Order and an invoice?

A Purchase Order is a request to buy goods, while an invoice is a request for payment for goods delivered.
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Is a Purchase Order necessary for all transactions?

While not always legally necessary, a Purchase Order is a best practice for formalizing purchase intentions.
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Does a Purchase Order facilitate budget management?

Yes, a Purchase Order helps in budgeting by outlining anticipated expenditures.
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Dec 08, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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