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The Difference Between Purchase Order and Invoice

In running a business, you will deal with purchase order and invoice on daily basis. These two things will always be present in your daily life at the office. Unfortunately, there are still many people who do not understand the difference between these two terms.

Although the content is more or less the same, purchase orders (PO) and invoices have a number of fundamental differences between them. To avoid embarrassing yourself when dealing with a vendor because you using the wrong term, you need to read this article first.

Understanding purchase order

PO is a commercial document issued by the buyer to the seller. The contents of the PO generally include details of the items you want to buy from the seller. This detail usually consists of the item name you want to buy, amount, color, price, etc. that are deemed necessary.


Buyers are required to list everything they want to buy from the supplier completely and clearly. This is important to avoid confusion between the supplier and the buyer. You wouldn’t want your supplier to send the wrong items, do you? If both parties have agreed on the contents of the purchase order, then this document will be a contract that binds both parties legally.

Definition of invoice

The buyer sends the purchase order to the supplier, and the invoice is the opposite. An invoice is a document that the supplier makes for the buyer. The contents of the invoice document are more or less the same as the PO documents. It’s only the purpose that different.


The invoice is proof of order to collect payments to buyers for sold goods/services that have. Just like PO, invoices legally bind the seller and buyer. At this stage, the invoice indicates that the buyer owes the seller.

There are two ways to deliver invoices that are usually done by sellers to buyers. First, send the invoice to the buyer when the item reaches the buyer, generally when it approaches maturity. The second way is when both parties have agreed about the purchase order and the buyer has completed the order.

The following are the differences and similarities of purchase orders and invoices:


  • Purchase orders (PO) are made by the buyer and are aimed at the seller, while the invoice made by the seller for the buyer.
  • The contents of the PO are complete details of ordering goods/services you want to buy. Whereas invoices are details of billing of goods/services sold to buyers.
  • Seller sends the purchase order when the buyer orders goods/services. The seller sends an invoice at the due date of the order payment when they send the goods/services.


  • Both documents are equally binding on buyers and sellers legally.
  • PO and invoice are both proofs that there are buying and selling transactions between buyers and sellers.
  • The contents of the PO and invoice have almost the same information, which is about buyers and sellers, addresses, telephone numbers and so on.


Purchase orders and invoices are an integral part of daily activities in your company. If until now you are still having trouble making purchase orders and invoices correctly, you can use the purchasing system from HashMicro.

This easy, practical, and complete purchase software has proven to increase the efficiency of the purchasing process in several companies in various countries, such as Indonesia, Singapore, and other countries.

Click this link to find out more about purchase orders or contact our customer support to consult about software purchases.

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Rachel Panjaitan
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