Purchase orders – what we’re up to
We did a small update today, but since there were no big headline features, I thought I’d give an update on where we’re at with the much requested purchase order functionality. It’s been keeping a large part of our core team busy for the last few months. We haven’t often pre-announced features like this before, so keen to know whether you find this useful.
Purchase Orders is a large chunk of functionality and while developing them we also took the time to improve a number of big items behind the scenes we haven’t touched for a while. These libraries will be used in other new features we have coming up and you’ll see the benefits later in the year. From time to time we have to do these projects. However we’ve made good progress and I thought I’d give you a walkthrough of what to expect when we do release (we’re aiming for late September/October at this stage).
So what can you expect?
Enhanced dashboard and list screens
From the purchase dashboard you will be able to view a summary of all your purchase orders and create new ones. Like bills, you can click through to view individual POs and perform bulk actions like approving, printing, emailing and deleting.
Building a purchase order
Building a purchase order is very similar to creating an invoice. You select a supplier and enter the lines of the order. You get all the same invoice features like multi-currency, access to inventory items and choosing a branding theme (see below). You also get to specify a delivery address and instructions. This address could be your organisation’s physical or postal address, a previous delivery address or even a one-off address specific to this order.
Branding a purchase order
Out of the box a purchase order, when printed to PDF, will inherit your default standard theme and logo. However, like invoices, you can create a specific theme just for purchase orders. If you choose to create a DOCX theme you can go to town to customise exactly how you want your purchase orders to appear to your suppliers.
Creating bills from purchase orders
You can easily create a bill from an existing purchase order. Doing so will copy the contents of the purchase order into a new bill.
You are then free to edit the details to match exactly what is being billed but, through history and notes, you’ll be able to trace back to the underlying order.
We’ve actually built a generic “Copy-to” function that allows you to copy a purchase order to not only bills but also to sales invoices (useful if you’re going to on-sell the goods to another party) and to another new purchase order.
Purchase order statuses
A purchase order can be tracked against a number of status.
- Draft – initial status
- Awaiting approval – similar to how invoices work
- Approved – similar to how invoices work, not everyone can approve purchase orders.
- Billed – used when a purchase order has been fully billed. This can happen automatically, when you copy the purchase order to a bill or be set independently.
Designing for touch
Xero works pretty well on iPads and other touch devices, but there’s more we can do. In purchase orders you’ll see a number of changes to the designs that are a direct result of thinking more about fingers. There’s more white space in the new data entry grid, row heights have been increased on drop-down lists and we’re even introducing some responsive screen widths.
We are so committed to this that all our designs now have a large shadow hand as a reminder that the finger is the future!
Not in the first release
There are a few things that won’t be in the first release but are being considered (but not guaranteed!) for future releases – let us know what you think.
Online purchase orders – similar to how you can send your customers a link to an online invoice.
Linking an existing bill to an existing purchase order – if different users independently create these documents you should still be able to link them up. In the first version, we are relying on you creating the bill from the purchase order in order to make the connection.
Importing purchase orders via CSV file.
Bulk copying multiple purchase orders to a single bill.
- Receipting – as is currently the case, and even when POs are introduced, inventory quantities are only recognised once a bill/sales invoices has been raised. We aren’t currently planning on receipting items as they arrive.
A lot of the investment in the new touch-friendly screens will be reused when we deliver Quotes. Ultimately, we’ll also roll these updates across the bills and sales invoices.
To compliment the work in purchase orders we also have the early designs for enhanced inventory functionality which we’ll be presenting at the upcoming XeroCon events and on this blog later in the year.
Exciting stuff and more than enough to keep us busy!