NetSuite Purchase Order Status : Understand your A/P Now

Let’s face it, purchasing is the backbone of any mature business. When trying to control purchasing activities the purchase order is normally the first port of call. Managing those purchase orders well is essential. A business needs to be confident they will be receiving the products or services they have ordered at the time they are needed. The purchase order is the record that will help manage that data.

However, managing purchase orders can be overwhelming, especially when you’re dealing with a high volume and don’t have the right tools and processes in place. Automatically assigning statuses to those purchase orders at key points in their life cycle is one way NetSuite will help to organize that purchasing data.

In this article, we’re going to break down NetSuite purchase order statuses, what they mean, how to manage them, and most importantly, how they can make your purchasing process a whole lot smoother.

NetSuite Purchase Order showing a Pending Bill status

What are the NetSuite Purchase Order Statuses?

NetSuite offers a a detailed list of purchase order statuses to indicate to the business where they are in the receiving and billing process. Here are the various purchase order statuses in NetSuite:

  • Pending Supervisor Approval: The purchase order is pending approval from an authorized person.
  • Pending Receipt: The purchase order has been approved and is now awaiting receipt of the goods or service.
  • Partially Received: Some, but not all, of the goods or services have been received in the system.
  • Pending Bill: The purchase order is fully received and is now ready for a vendor bill to be posted against it.
  • Pending Billing/Partially Received: Some items have been received and are ready to bill.
  • Fully Billed: The purchase order has been fully received and all these items have been billed.
  • Closed – The purchase order has been closed so nothing further can be receipted or billed.

Each of the statuses above has some effect on the available actions against the purchase order. Ensure these statuses are not being overlooked and are included as a key data point on all purchase reporting.

How does the Advanced Receiving Feature affect Purchase Order Statuses?

The Advanced Receiving feature in NetSuite allows a business to receive goods and post their bills in two different steps. The warehouse (or supply chain department) will post an Item Receipt in the system when the goods are physically received, and the finance team will post the bill when it comes in.

With the process expanded in this way the statuses of the Purchase Order are also affected. The use of Advanced Receiving, however, is common enough that the list above is actually the statuses where the Advanced Receiving feature turned On.

Should the feature not yet be enabled the standard Purchase Order statuses will apply. These are listed below:

  • Pending Supervisor Approval
  • Rejected By Supervisor
  • Pending Receipt
  • Partially Received
  • Received: The Purchase Order is fully billed.
  • Closed

How to Enable the Advanced Receiving Feature in NetSuite

Advanced Receiving is a standard feature that doesn’t require any additional bundles or downloads. You simply need to navigate to Setup > Company > Enable Features.

The navigation path to the Enable Features page in NetSuite.

Under the Transactions tab navigate to the Shipping & Receiving section and select Advanced Receiving.

Enabling Advanced Receiving in NetSuite

Click Save on the Enable Features page.

After enabling the Advanced Receiving feature you are ready to begin using item receipts in your purchase process.

How to View the Status of a Purchase Order in NetSuite

NetSuite makes it easy to identify what status a purchase order is in. When viewing a purchase order record you will see the status in a grey box to the right hand side of the vendors name at the top of the form.

NetSuite Purchase order showing a Pending Bill status

On the Default view of the purchase order list page you will also see a filter for status. This allows you to filter your purchase orders for only the Open, Closed or Unapproved records. As with everything in NetSuite, this list view is customizable so you can break that down further if necessary.

Purchase Order List in NetSuite with a status filter

The status of the purchase order also drives the records presence on a number of other process pages. These include:

  • Receive Order: This shows purchase orders in a Pending Receipt status and allows the user to post a linked item receipt.
  • Bill Purchase Orders: This shows purchase orders in a Pending Bill state and from here users can post a linked vendor bill.

NetSuite Purchase Order Statuses and the Purchase Process

So, now we have gone through the different purchase order statuses used in NetSuite we need to discuss how these actually fit in to the purchasing process. The following will walk through the process from raising a purchase order to fully billing it, explaining as we go the affect on the statuses. This is not going to match your system exactly as you will have things set up to your own preferences, but it will be close enough to give you the understanding.

Assuming you are using an approval process, after saving your purchase order it will enter the Pending Supervisor Approval state. Once approved the next required action is for an item receipt to be posted. The purchase order will show a Pending Receipt state.

After an item receipt is posted you may have your system preferences set to allow you to partially bill the purchase order. In this case the status of the purchase order will change to Pending Billing/Partially Received.

Continue to post item receipts and bills against your purchase order until there are no quantities left to action. At this time the purchase order will end up in a Fully Billed state.

Purchase Order Process flow in NetSuite

Remember, if you are not using the Advanced Receiving feature in NetSuite, the process above will differ slightly.

Another level up for your procurement processes that you should be aware of is NetSuite Advanced Procurement. Learn more about what this add on module includes here.

Frequently Asked Questions about NetSuite Purchase Order Statuses

What is the status of my purchase order?

The easiest way to find the status of any given purchase order is to view the purchase order record. You will see the status indicated to the right hand side of the vendors name at the top of the form.

What happens when you close a purchase order in NetSuite?

Once a purchase order is closed it can no longer be receipted or billed. Remember that individual lines can be closed manually if you do not want this status to cover the whole purchase order.

How do I unclose a purchase order?

You can re-open a purchase order by editing and manually unticking the Closed column on one or more lines as applicable. Learn more about this process here.

How do I change the status of a purchase order?

The status of the purchase order is not something you can change at will. It is tied to the completion of other actions in the system. The purchase order would require either an approval, an item receipt or a vendor bill to change to the next state.

What does it mean if the list status says Open?

If your purchase order is showing under an Open list then it is approved but not yet fully billed or closed.

In short, it is important to understand the different purchase order statuses in NetSuite to manage them effectively. By knowing what each status means and how to handle purchase orders in different stages, you can make the whole process smoother and give your suppliers better service. Make sure you turn on the Advanced Receiving feature, if you need it, and don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact page if you have anything to add to this article.


If you are in the process of reviewing or designing your procure-to-pay processes, the following will also be useful:

NetSuite Procure to Pay Process

Requisition vs Purchase Order

Mastering NetSuite Purchase Order Imports: A Comprehensive Guide

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