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When the Vendor Requires a Purchase Order
There are occasions when a vendor will require a purchase order to complete a purchase that does not meet institutional requirements for the purchase order process. In such cases, departments should either follow the formal purchase order process or use the purchasing card to pay for the transaction.

Purchase Requisition / Purchase Order Process

  1. Department identifies required specifications and selects appropriate vendor to provide goods or services.
  2. Department completes purchase requisition for purchase of goods/services and forwards it to the PD.
  3. PD verifies budget and signature authority and prepares the purchase order. Copies of the purchase order are forwarded to originating department and vendor. Funds are encumbered for the amount of the purchase order.
  4. Vendor ships goods or provides services to department.
  5. Vendor forwards invoice to the PD department for processing.
  6. PD checks the invoice and forwards to originating department for payment approval.
  7. Department completes payment portion of purchase order, attaches original invoice and forwards back to the PD.
  8. PD issues payment to vendor.
  9. Typical turnaround time for a purchase requisition into a purchase order is 24 hours, provided the above criteria (appropriate signatures and budget verification) are met.

Open Purchase Orders
You may process a lot of small dollar orders with a vendor that does not accept purchasing cards and requires orders via a purchase order. Using an open purchase order eliminates the need to have a separate purchase order for each purchase and sometimes encourages vendors to consolidate billing into one invoice per month versus one invoice per order. The open purchase order is not used for purchases that require detailed specifications or for major purchases.

An open purchase order is applicable only if the following terms are met:

  • Term of the purchase order is one academic year or less.
  • Specific goods or services are identified.
  • Purchasing limits are typically set amounts by the month or year.
  • Normal comparison bidding has occurred.

Note: With the use of the purchasing card, open purchase orders may not be necessary. The purchasing card achieves the same benefit without the additional paper processing of an open purchase order.

Budget Transfers
Budget transfers move budget allocations from one line to another. In the purchasing process, if there is not enough budget available within the designated range (salaries, operations and capital), a budget transfer needs to be processed before the transaction can be completed. Permanent budget transfers between designated ranges are discouraged, but if absolutely necessary, they must have VP approval. For example, permanent transfers within the salary and benefit range require area VP approval, and permanent transfers in and out of the capital range require area VP approval.

These policies are in place to ensure that individuals aren’t leaving positions open or leaving equipment needs unmet in order to fund other areas of the budget. When requesting these types of transfers, an explanation of why there is available funding and a rationale for why the funding should be used for a different type of expenditure must be included.

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