How to receive a Purchase Order in NetSuite

The Advanced Receiving feature in NetSuite allows users to receive goods in to stock on a separate transaction from the Vendor Bill. When the goods actually arrive at their location (the Warehouse or other business site) an Item Receipt can be posted for all or some of the Purchase Order items even if their is no Bill yet from the vendor.

If you do not use Advanced Receiving then you receive and bill your Purchase Orders in one step. This article is aimed at users of the Advanced Receiving feature which can be activated via Enable Features > Transactions > Shipping & Receiving. Some item types such as Non-Inventory Items will also need to be configured to be received. Check for the Can Be Fulfilled/Received checkbox on the item Preferences subtab.

The Can Be Fulfilled preference on the NetSuite item set up

As with everything in NetSuite there are countless paths to the same destination. I will cover two routes to the Item Receipt record here, though I’m sure in time you’ll find your own preferred shortcut.

Receiving directly from the Purchase Order

Receiving via the Receive Orders page

The following video from NetSuite utilizes a dynamic dashboard to give reminders when orders are ready to be received. This video also shows some additional functionality not covered in this introduction article but is useful to give an idea of how you could be using the system in future.

Receiving directly from the Purchase Order

  • If you have the Receive button available on the Purchase Order record you can receive directly from there. The availability of this action button is set on the transaction form. When you click the Receive action button the Item Receipt form will display. The system will pull through all available items. Available items are all quantities that are eligible for receiving and have not previously been receipted.
  • There is a Memo field in the transaction body as with most other NetSuite transactions. Here you can leave a note if necessary. There is nothing else in the body of the Item Receipt that needs to be filled.
  • The first available subtab should be Items & Expenses. On the items list the system will have auto checked all available items in the Receive column. It is best practice to hit the Unmark All button and then manually check the ones you want to receive. If you can get in the habit of always hitting Unmark All you will reduce the chance of incorrectly receiving in items.
  • Select the desired Location to receive in to and amend the Quantity to only the Quantity being received.
  • If you are receiving in Lot Numbered or Serialized items you will be required to add an Inventory Detail so the system can log the details of the product going in to stock. Select the icon in the Inventory Detail column and a small popup window will open.
Entering the Inventory Detail on an Item Receipt
  • Enter the Lot Number and then the quantity per lot. If the item is serialized then Serial Numbers will need to be entered totaling the overall quantity being received on that line. Each Serial Number can only have a quantity of 1. Once all quantities have been configured click OK on the Inventory Detail.
  • You can now save your Item receipt. If you hover over the Save action button you will see there is also an option to Save and Bill. Generally these two actions are carried out by different teams so not necessarily applicable. Plus the receiving of the goods could be happening at a different time to posting the bill. Often goods are physically received before the bill is loaded.
  • If you return to your Purchase Order you will see the Received column for each line has now been updated with the previously received quantities. The system will only let you receive up to the approved quantity on the Purchase Order and you would be best advised to build a report to monitor the received quantities against expected quantities to be able to forecast future incoming shipments.

Receiving via the Receive Orders page

  • Roles will all have different paths to this page but using your Administrator role you can navigate to Transactions > Purchases/Suppliers > Receive Purchase Order. This page will show you a list of all Purchase Orders in the system that are available to be received. You can filter the results by Vendor using the Vendor drop down at the top of the page.
Receiving via the Receive Orders page in NetSuite
  • You may find it useful to add additional filters. In this case, you can click Customize and then navigate to the Additional Filters subtab. Remember also that you can order the columns by clicking on the column headers. ordering by Date descending will mean the new orders will always arrive at the start of the list and are less likely to get missed.
  • Once you find the order you want to receive, you can click the Receive link at the left hand side of the row (in the Process column). This will transfer you straight to the linked Item Receipt form. The rest of the process is the same as that described above.

There are benefits to receiving orders this way but it depends mainly on the business set up and the split of responsibilities across departments. If orders are being received in by one centralized team and volumes are manageable then the Receive Orders page can save users having to search for individual Purchase Orders. Often receipts are posted by users across the business and they know the associated Purchase Order number so it is easier to go directly to the correct order rather than view a list of all. These two methods give the same results so review both when mapping your own business process.

There are obviously financial postings associated with receiving goods in before or after a bill has been processed. For this reason the decision to activate Advanced Receiving is something that should involve the relevant members of the finance team as well as procurement. That goes with adding any new features to your NetSuite environment. It’s important to assess the financial impact and involve the relevant people to ensure decisions are not made that could inadvertently affect the accounting books.

If there is any ambiguity over whether the above process is right for your setup speak to your NetSuite partner or NetSuite support for further information or a demonstration.


The Item Receipt is just one part of the wider Procure to Pay process. Learn about the full Procure to Pay process here.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *