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Level 1

Purchase order and bill

When I create a PO, it is sometimes based on an estimate or ends up having multiple bills that apply to it.  Is there a way I can enter a bill and apply it to a PO without editing the PO and creating additional lines each time (if the bill is only a partial amount of total PO?)

31 Comments 31
QuickBooks Team

Purchase order and bill

Good to see you here in the Community, Jen14.


I'd be happy to share some insight about purchase orders and get you on the right track.


At this time, there isn't a way to apply multiple bills to a purchase order. However, if it's the other way around, then we have a method on how to do it. Let me walk you through the steps on how to do this:

  1. From the Vendors menu, pick Vendor Center.
  2. Select the vendor's name.
  3. In the Vendor Information section, find the Bill under the Transactions tab and double-click it.
  4. Click the Select PO icon.
  5. Check all the purchase orders that need to be included on the bill.
  6. Click OK, then Save & Close.

For more information about this process, I recommend following this article: Accounts Payable workflows in QuickBooks Desktop


Please let me know if this helps you with your purchase order and bill, it's my top priority that this gets resolved. Thanks for reaching out, I look forward to hearing from you.

Level 2

Purchase order and bill

Is that really a limitation? I'm just looking at utilizing the Purchase Order function in QB Desktop Accountant 2019 for our business (construction specialty subcontractor) ... and it is absolutely essential that we have the ability to match up ~5-6 (maybe more) individual vendor bills against a single "Purchase Order" ... 


I'm planning to have my PO input into the systems first (as you'd expect) and then a flow of vendor bills that I'd be looking to ensure are encoded with whatever field includes the necessary value to match it up against the correct PO ... 


What is that field that would enable this basic functionality? 


Purchase order and bill

Thanks for joining in on the thread, John.


As what AldrinS said, we won't be able to match a single purchase order to multiple bills. I'd recommend sharing your idea to our Product Development Team. They'll put this into consideration for future product updates. You can send your feedback by clicking the Help menu at the top and selecting Send Feedback Online.


Thanks again for providing us feedback. You can always get back to us if you need anything else.

Level 15

Purchase order and bill




Please Learn From this input.




They don't know how to use PO in your Industry. Let me help.


You swap quantity and Rate for noninventory goods or services or Other Charge type items where you want to manage Partial Draw requests.


A PO is "closed" or fulfilled on Quantity. If you have a Structural Engineering contract for $15,000 or a Painting bid for interior and exterior as one Contract Fee of $15,000, then list the Service item on the PO and Swap:

$1 Rate

for 15,000 each unit.


Now you can show this is Partially Fulfilled, and you can detect Overbilling.

Level 2

Purchase order and bill

@qbteachmt  - thanks for the insight. Helpful trick. 



What about how do you match up multiple vendor bills with a single Purchase Order ... 


It is often that I have 3-4 vendor bills in the system, and I'd like to link them up with the PO, such that the Bill X for X quantity, then Bill Y for Y quantity, and then BIll Z for Z quantity that would then fully exhaust the fund reserved with the PO. 




When I open a bill and click "Select PO" it gives me the error that says the bill is out of balance because the first Bill X for $X is greater than the total PO amount. 


Any thoughts? 

QuickBooks Team

Purchase order and bill

Hello there, @John_Momentum.


Thank you for providing details about what you want in QuickBooks Desktop.

As mentioned by my colleagues, the option to match multiple vendor bills with a single Purchase Order is currently unavailable. There's only one vendor name field in the PO transaction.


I'll be sending a product suggestion on your behalf based on this interaction. Our engineers review all feedback to consider adding this feature in the future. Your feedback helps us create a better experience for you and for all of our customers.


Thank you for reaching out here, and let me know if there's anything else I can do to help. Just mention my name. 

Level 2

Purchase order and bill



What if the vendor bills are all from the same vendor? ... and they are part 1, 2, 3 of the total Purchase Order? 


How can I "match" up 3 vendor bills from Vendor X that are all part of a single PO? 

Not applicable

Purchase order and bill

Welcome back, @John_Momentum,


I appreciate your time today. Allow me to step in and share additional information on how to link bills to a purchase order.


To do this, you'll need to create the P.O. first before attaching it to multiple bills. Let me guide you on how to do that:


Step 1: Create the P.O.


  1. Go to the Vendors tab.
  2. Click on Create Purchase Orders.
  3. Fill out the transaction then click Save & Close.


Step 2: Create Bill then attach the P.O.


  1. Click the Vendors menu.
  2. Select Enter Bills.
  3. Choose the Vendor name.
  4. Click on the Select PO icon at the top of the transaction.
  5. On the Open Purchase Orders window, choose the vendor name.
  6. Mark the PO created for that vendor.
  7. Click OK. This will add all the items from the PO.
  8. Manually edit the quantity (QTY) of the items you are billing. Doing this will not close the PO, so you can apply the unbilled items to the remaining bills.
  9. Click Save & Close.
  10. Do the same process on the next vendor bill.

That should get you to the right direction, @John_Momentum.


Please let me know if you have additional questions about the process. I'll be glad to answer them for you. Have a great day!

Level 15

Purchase order and bill



Please Learn from this input. You are Wrong; yes, you can always create Multiple Bills selecting that they relate to one or more POs.




This is Important: "When I open a bill and click "Select PO" it gives me the error that says the bill is out of balance because the first Bill X for $X is greater than the total PO amount."


It's telling you that you are being OverBilled. That's the point of starting with the PO, then managing fulfillment.


If the First Bill is already greater than the PO, you just got Overbilled the 1st time and Overbilled now.


Did you read my comment: Swap Rate and Quantity.


Perhaps you simply missed that Detail.

Alex-General Contractor
Level 1

Purchase order and bill

I do the book keeping for a General Contractor and I would like to keep track of our Subcontracts with Vendors using Purchase Orders in QBD. This will help me and the Project Managers keep track of an original Subcontract amount with a Vendor, any change orders to that Subcontract, and how much the Subcontractor has billed us so far. In order to do that, I need to be able to apply multiple Bills to one Purchase Order.  


When you subcontract work, you're going to get multiple pay apps for each period the Vendor is billing for, some may include change orders, and most likely retainage will be withheld from each pay app. 


The Purchase Orders in QBD are great if you're purchasing material from a Vendor and you're receiving one Bill for the exact amount of the PO. 


There should be a better way to keep track of Subcontracts in QBD though. 


If there is another option that I'm not aware of, please let me know. 




Purchase order and bill

Hi @Alex-General Contractor,


If you're trying to apply a number of bills to a single purchase order, you can follow the workaround provided by qbteachmt and my colleague @Anonymous.


At this time, we don't have any other workarounds available. What you can do is contact your accountant to seek advice on what's the best way to proceed with your query.


You can also refer to this article: Accounts Payable workflows in QuickBooks Desktop. It lists 2 usual workflows for the Accounts Payable in QuickBooks Desktop.


Any other questions in mind? Post them in the comments below, and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Alex-General Contractor
Level 1

Purchase order and bill

I am stumped on these two. 


7. Click OK. This will add all the items from the PO

8. Manually edit the quantity (QTY) of the items you are billing. Doing this will not close the PO, so you can apply the unbilled items to the remaining bills.


I only have need for one line item on the PO.


If I try to manually edit the qty of the line item it increases the amount of that item and the bill and I don't want that. 


Therefore this doesn't work unless you enter multiple line items in the PO?


If I did take the time to breakdown the PO to multiple line items and follow step 8, would I need to uncheck the "BILLABLE?" box on the items I'm not billing in order for it to work? 


I have no problem entering multiple line items for Customer estimates but I would rather not do that for Vendor Subcontracts.



QuickBooks Team

Purchase order and bill

Thanks for providing additional information, @Alex-General Contractor.


Let me share some insights when linking a purchase order to multiple bills.


If there's only one line item in the Purchase Order. Linking it to the Bill will also show only one line item. The same goes if you have multiple line items in your Purchase Order.


If you're adding QTY in the line item, automatically the amount increases. And yes, you can breakdown the purchase order and uncheck the billable box, then applied the unbilled items to the remaining bills.


If you're unsure of your action, I recommend reaching out to your accountant for further advice on recording these transactions.


Also, I'm adding these great resources that can help guide you in your future tasks:

Don't hesitate to leave a comment below if you have other concerns.

Level 2

Purchase order and bill



Did you ever find a good solution for this?

Level 1

Purchase order and bill

Alex / Desola,


Did either of you ever find a solid solution to this? Or perhaps the QB team?


Spent hours with our accountant today trying to figure out how to (you'd assume this would be extremely straight forward and a basic function of QB) create a report that shows outstanding invoices that we've actually received from a vendor/trade requesting a progress payment against our total PO amount with them. Not just the total open balance of that PO. That means nothing when a PO lasts for a longer period of time and there's 15+ invoices against that PO total. 


Goal: A report listing received, outstanding, & unpaid invoices that show the amount being requested even if it's $5,000 of a $200,000 PO. 


Problem: For example, if a PO is created totaling $200,000 for HVAC and their first progress invoice is for $5,000, any report created shows an "open balance" of $200,000. Knowing the total open balance of the PO is worthless in this situation, we just want to know the amount they are invoicing for against the total PO.


Our accountant says the only way to make this happen is to create individual POs for each "progress invoice" that comes in........and that just seams wildly barbaric.


The owners of our company want to simply see who is CURRENTLY REQUESTING payment (i.e. have sent an invoice and we've entered it into QB) on a report to either approve or decline the payment on a weekly basis.


Astonished this wasn't one of the first features of QB - we can't be the first GC using QB that hires subcontractors (obviously...). Any help/guidance would be greatly appreciated.

QuickBooks Team

Purchase order and bill

Thanks for joining this conversation, @Tay4. I appreciate you for sharing detailed information about your goal. 


At the moment, the vendor report that will show a listing of received items is unavailable in QuickBooks. 


I can see the importance of having this feature in the future. Don't worry, I'm taking down note of this idea and pass this along to our engineers to let them know of your insights.


Knowing what works favorably for you and your business will show our developers what they need and consider to improve in the next updates. For now, I'm inviting you to visit the Firm of the Future to get the latest features and improvements in QuickBooks Desktop.  


Feel free to visit again if you have more suggestions or concerns. We're always here to listen and care. 



Level 1

Purchase order and bill

Im not sure if this applies to what you are asking but when posting a bill against a purchase order, I "0" out the items on the PO that are not on the bill. When posting the next bill, only the items that I zeroed out show up on the PO.

Level 1

Purchase order and bill

Hi Alex - can you tell me how in QB you book a vendor bill withholding 5% retainage (to be paid at a later date)?

Do you have a good way of doing the retainage portion?  Thanks in advance for your help!


Purchase order and bill

Welcome to the QuickBooks, @LauraB.


To apply a retainage to a vendor you can create a Vendor Credit.


Here's how:

  1. Go to the Vendor tab.
  2. Select Enter Bills.
  3. Tick the Credit radio button.
  4. Choose the name of the vendor who issued the credit from the Vendor drop-down.
  5. Enter the date you received the credit from the Date calendar selector.
  6. Then enter the amount of the credit into the Credit Amount field.
  7. Select the affected accounts or items on the Expenses or Items tabs at the bottom of the window.
  8. Click the Save & Close button to save the credit for later use.

For additional information, if it will be refunded you can create Bank deposit. However, if is used to other Bill or closed out you can either apply to Bill or Void. 


Also, here is a helpful article that can guide you in paying your bills in QuickBooks Desktop. This article will also provide detailed steps to apply the corresponding discount or credit for each payment you make.


Fill me in if you have other QuickBooks concern. I'll be around to help. Have a good one.

Level 2

Purchase order and bill

This video shows how to create mutiple bills to a PO. Hope it helps.

QuickBooks 30-day free trial + 30% off for 12 months: (30% discount offer to expire 9/30/2021) Hector Garcia, CPA shows you how purchase orders work in QuickBooks Online Plus and how to do NEW partial receiving Topics contained in ...
Level 3

Purchase order and bill



I know, I know. But this is what I was looking for yesterday. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!


What if I have a credit memo? I can't attach it to the PO. Do you have a work around?


Purchase order and bill

Thanks for joining this thread, @JRH2.


You can follow the steps shared by my colleague DivinaMercy_N above if it's a vendor credit. This will record returns to vendors or refunds from vendors.


Then, you can apply the credit to a bill, here's how:


  1. Click Vendors, then click Pay Bills.
  2. Select the bill under the Show bills section.
  3. Scroll down towards the Discount & Credit Information For Highlighted Bill section, click the Set Credits button.
  4. Click the Credits tab, then mark credit balance to use.
  5. Click Done. Then, click Pay Selected Bills.
  6. Click Done when prompted.

Once done, you can pull up the Transaction List by Vendor report to see the vendor's payment, bill, and credit applied.


Here's how:

  1. Click Reports.
  2. Click Vendors & Payables, and then Transaction List by Vendor.
  3. You can also click on the Customize Report button at the top to filter the report.

You can also find these transactions in the vendor's profile. The credit is posted in the Balance Total column.


I've added these articles that can help you manage your transactions in QuickBooks:


Please know that I'm always around here in the Community to help. Keep safe, and have a good one.


Level 3

Purchase order and bill

Good Evening @JoesemM,


Thank you for your response! I went ahead and followed the steps. I assume, because the Bill is associated with a Purchase Order already, it cannot also carry a Credit.


Can't expect QBs to be perfect. Thanks for your help!!


But I think it is worth noting along with being able to process multiple Bills to a single Purchase Order, it would be great to be able to apply Credit Memos to a Purchase Order or be able to attribute a Credit to a Bill attached to a Purchase Order.


Nothing is ever static. Purchase Orders may have an over-bill, but also, some back and forth for any corrections. In this particular situation, there was also a restocking fee, so it is not as if I have a dollar for dollar refund and could possibly delete the previous bill in lieu of a new bill.

Level 1

Purchase order and bill



I see this original post is in 2019. Has the ability to attach multiple bills to one PO been made a feature yet? When reading this thread

It looks like now if you separate the line items you can link the line items to different bills.


Is this accurate?


Thank you.

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