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Purchase Requisition

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Guide: Understanding and Writing Purchase Requisitions for Accountants

If you work in accounting or are studying this field, you'll understand the importance of meticulous record-keeping and the significant role finances play in any company's operations. One pivotal aspect of financial management is the purchase requisition, a document that, when crafted properly, can streamline the purchasing process, ward off unnecessary spending, and keep the company in line with its budget and overall financial goals. Here's your comprehensive guide to mastering the art of purchase requisitions from an accountant's perspective.

The Importance of Purchase Requisitions

In the realm of business finance, purchase requisitions are the initial step in the procurement process. Their importance is twofold. Firstly, requisitions serve as a 'request for purchase,' flagging to management and finance the need for inventory, assets, or services. Secondly, and just as crucial, they provide a critical control mechanism, ensuring that spending stays on track according to the budget.

Understanding the Role of Accountancy in Purchase Requisitions

In the grand scheme of procurement, accountants ensure the sums add up, quite literally. They thread the needle of rationalizing costs, matching expenses to revenue, and controlling cash flow. Their work ensures each purchase requisition request is justified, correctly budgeted for, and compliant with internal policies and external regulatory frameworks.

Understanding Purchase Requisitions

To write an effective purchase requisition, you must understand what it is and its key elements.

Definition and Key Components

A purchase requisition is an official authorization form that initiates a purchase request. It includes details such as the description of the requested item, quantity, proposed supplier, and the reason for the purchase. Additionally, it may require line item detail, cost estimates, and the account coding structure for charging the purchase.

Role in the Procurement Process

The requisition is just the beginning. It sets off the procurement cycle, which typically follows:

  1. The requestor fills out the purchase requisition and submits it for approval.
  2. After approval, the procurement team processes the requisition into a purchase order.
  3. The vendor supplies the goods or services, and then, invoicing and payment follow.

Writing a Purchase Requisition

The efficacy of a requisition begins with its thoroughness. Here's how to compose one effectively.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Identify the Need

Before anything else, ensure the purchase is necessary. Double-check inventories, revisit your business model, and evaluate previously made purchases to avoid redundant procurement activities.

Step 2: Gather Details

Be specific. Describe the item or service required. Offer as much detail as possible — specs, model numbers, and any other identifying information — to eliminate any confusion during the approval process and later stages of procurement.

Step 3: Fill Out the Form Accurately

Completing a requisition form should be error-free. Misplaced decimal points and typographical errors can throw a shade of doubt over an otherwise legitimate purchase request. Cross-check all data and calculations meticulously.

Step 4: Obtain Necessary Approvals

Depending on the company structure, approvals may be required from department heads, finance, or both. Ensure that all levels of authorization are obtained before moving forward with the purchase requisition.

Step 5: Submit the Requisition

Once fully approved, promptly submit the requisition to the procurement department. Delays in submission can lead to delays in receiving the materials that could disrupt operation timelines.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even the most diligent professionals can make errors when it comes to purchase requisitions. Here are some common pitfalls to steer clear of.

Inaccurate Information

The number one enemy of a good purchase requisition is inaccurate information. It's imperative to report the correct item details, quantity, and price to ensure the order matches the requisition and the invoice matches the order.

Lack of Budget Adherence

A clear understanding of the budget and the line items within it are critical. Exceeding budgets without due reason is a form of financial mismanagement that can have grave consequences.

Missing Approvals

Skipping steps in the approval process is not just bureaucratic red tape; it's a control mechanism. Each layer of approval serves to validate the need for the purchase as well as its cost and relevance to the company's goals.


Crafting a purchase requisition might seem like a simple task, but it embodies the larger financial principles of control, planning, and responsibility. Mastering it is integral not only for your specific role but also for the financial health and coherence of the firm you serve. Remember, each requisition is a step toward a well-orchestrated financial symphony that only plays harmoniously when every note, every detail, is meticulously executed.

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The information provided in this article does not constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. Please check with an attorney or financial advisor to obtain advice with respect to the content of this article.

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