purchase orders

Ivy’s Guide to Purchase Orders


Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, our elves are filling up your Ivy stocking with a one-of-a-kind purchase order guide, and guess what? It’s filled with delicious best practice surprises inside!


Save time by getting your addresses in order

Why spend energy repeatedly adding different addresses to your POs when there are so many ways to better utilize your time? The address tab under your account settings is going to save you that time by allowing you to add your most frequently used addresses. These addresses will later populate in your projects and POs. So, if you repeatedly use a receiving warehouse, a fabricator, or your working with custom furniture you can store the addresses you need for purchase orders here. Ivy spares you the repetitive administrative tasks so you can spend your time doing other fun things like gift wrapping, snuggling, or baking cookies for Santa.

There’s no such thing as TMI

Okay, there is, but not when it comes to your purchase order information. When you add a product to your library either via the Ivy Clipper or manually in your product library, add as much information as possible. Ivy automatically separates what is client facing and vendor facing. When you edit a product you have the space to add a specific vendor description that will only appear on your purchase orders.

You can also add a vendor description when using the Ivy Clipper.

The Ivy Clipper

The first rule of PO is…ALWAYS start with a proposal!

When managing your projects on Ivy, it’s so important to always start with a proposal.

Here’s why:

  • You need a starting point

You can use proposals to see the total cost of the product that you are specifying and create your tear sheets, budgets, and more.

  • You’ll be able to see your entire product’s life cycle!

Once your purchase order is created you will notice that only the vendor facing information will show there. When you start with a proposal it allows you to manage and see the product throughout the course of its life cycle. You’ll see it move from a proposal to a purchase order or an invoice. You’ll clearly see your selling vs. purchasing cost and your resulting profit.

  • Proposals help you protect yourself.

Ivy allows you to collect a deposit on proposals, and we highly recommend that you collect as much money up front before paying your vendor. Protect yourself!

After collecting payment on your proposal,  you should convert your proposal into a PO, so you can begin the purchasing process and receive the finalized cost from your vendor.  You’ll notice that all of your vendor-facing product details, such as your product title, vendor, SKU, manufacture, and vendor description will all transfer over to the purchase order automatically.

Did you know?  You have the ability to drag and drop items and organize them according to a specific order when editing purchase orders in Ivy


Ivy tip! When handling cost changes between proposals and POs, start with the proposal. The proposal is a flexible document and is meant to show estimated costs.  If your vendor changes the cost you originally presented on the proposal, you’ll want to reflect that change in price in the invoicing phase. Create an invoice for the item from the original proposal and change the cost on the invoice. Add shipping cost and bill your client for the difference.

Track money in and money out

Ivy allows you to track money in and money out as it pertains to a project. Let’s say your collecting $1,000 for a rug when $700 is the base price, which is going to the vendor. If you don’t create a PO, it will appear that you are collecting $1,000 in income, when in fact you are only making $300 on that item and the only way to reflect that is through a PO. So, even if you don’t send a purchase order to your vendor it is imperative that you make purchase orders for every single thing you purchase and track your money in and money out. It is the only way to truly understand your profitability.

Related content: How Designers Save Hours of Time Using These 5 Ivy Features

Make a payment online!

Verify that your vendor takes online payments through Ivy. You can simply click “Make a Payment” enter your credit card info and submit your payment online via Ivy. If your vendor doesn’t accept payments via Ivy you can manually record a payment, which is crucial to understanding where your project stands financially. Always record the payment you are making, and always create a purchase order.

Trick:  When you receive the vendor invoice, upload it as an attachment to your purchase order. Centralize your workflow. Add everything to one system! Make sure your purchase order matches your vendor invoice EXACTLY.

Make it pretty

You can convert your PO into a beautiful, and professional looking PDF.

Know where you stand

By clicking VIEW document timeline you’ll be able to see when your purchase order stands. For example: when you sent your purchase order as well as when the vendor received or opened it.

Add additional notes for your vendor

Under the Memo section. When you edit your purchase order you will see a section called “Memo to be displayed on the purchase order:” this is where you should place any additional shipping information you feel is necessary like no weekend or Friday delivery. When your vendor opens up the purchase order that you send they will see the memo info at the bottom.

Quick tip!  You can save time by defining your default exceptions In the project settings.  Click on “Edit Project”, scroll down and click on “Additional settings” so you can set project specific memos and emails. So, if you have one client that doesn’t want Friday/weekend delivery you can set that on the project level. Now this will populate on every single purchase order for that project.

Put a little bit of you in your email messages

When you send a PO via email your vendor’s email is automatically populated for you and you can actually BCC yourself or add a specific reply to. So, if you have an expeditor who is handling all of your POs you can set the default reply to that specific person and bcc him/her or yourself to get a copy of the email. You also have a default message that will be sent that you can edit in your account settings and make it more personal.

Merge your purchase orders

Instead of sending many different purchase orders to a single vendor Ivy allows you to merge them into one. You can merge unpaid, open purchase orders in the same project. So, if you have more than one purchase order for a specific project make sure to make things easier for your vendor (and more organized for yourself) by merging all POs into one.

View your PO list across all projects

We highly recommend that you use the “All Projects” tab. It’s an amazing tool which gives you a holistic view of all your documents and payments across all of your projects. Click on Projects and navigate to “All Projects” here you will find a global view of all of your documents for your projects. Click on the “Purchase Orders” tab to see a list of all purchase orders across your projects. You can use the search bar to search for a specific vendor.

Create dedicated purchase order reports

Leverage Ivy’s Reports section to pull specific purchase order reports for your company. Select the “Purchase Orders” reports and choose the dates you would like to generate the report for. You can see all dates or choose a custom date. You can pull a report for all projects or for a specific project, and, you can select all vendors or a specific vendor. Plus, you can segment your report according to status (paid, partially paid, open etc.).

Close your PO when YOU’RE ready

When to close a PO is an internal decision that is totally up to you. Many designers close the purchase order once the item has been confirmed, shipped, or installed in the client’s home. The best practice here is for you to do what you feel is best.

Ask the community

The Ivy community

Our community is our most powerful resource! Leverage it to ask absolutely anything you want whenever you want.

Of course, we’re always here to help you every step of the way! If you have more questions about purchase orders make sure to email our support team at support@ivy.co.

Purchase orders are such an integral part of Ivy and your workflow. Make sure you implement the best practices in this guide so you can make the most out of them. PO PO PO! Merry Christmas!