WHAT IS A PURCHASE ORDER
A purchase order is a way to obtain approval for your larger purchases, and to inform the financials that a larger purchase is “in the works”. Purchases of $2500.00 or more require a purchase order in advance. Exception: you do not need a purchase order if your purchase is covered by a contract. Contracts are signed by one of three people: President, Provost, VP Finance and Administration/CFO.
If your purchase will be $5000-$9999, you must provide two quotes for the goods/services. If your purchase will be $10,000 or more, you must provide three quotes. You may not split your purchase into several smaller purchases to avoid the purchase order or quote requirements. For example, if you need four exercise bikes to refresh the fitness center, you may not make four individual purchases, but must look at them as one purchase of four units. There is an advantage to this in that vendors should be willing to give you a better price on a larger purchase. Feel free to contact the Manager, Purchasing and Central Services for assistance in locating vendors or getting quotes.
HOW DO I REQUEST A PURCHASE ORDER
You request a purchase order through an on-line purchase requisition on Agresso. Please follow these on-line purchase requisition instructions. Please feel free to contact the Facilities and Purchasing Administrative Specialist for assistance in completing the purchase requisition, Sue Abou-nasr, 612-330-1668, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY DO WE DO PURCHASE ORDERS
Purchase orders are a valuable tool for many reasons:
- The purchase order “encumbers” funds in your account, or in lay language, the funds have an earmark for your purchase. Viewing open purchase orders is an important piece of financial forecasting and management for the institution.
- If the purchase requisition is greater than the requisitioner’s spending authority, it follows a workflow for approval. This approval is a chance to review the requested purchase to ensure the funds are available and the purchase meets institution needs.
- The purchase order is your agreement with your vendor. Specifying the detail of the purchase will ensure that all are in agreement before the order is placed – quantity, specific item(s) requested, shipping charges, shipping terms, delivery or service deadline, etc., and give you the leverage you need to correct any errors once the goods are received or service is performed.
- It provides a historical record of your purchase.
There are three things that are of particular importance in the purchase requisition/purchase order process.
- Create the purchase requisition with the quantity detail, e.g. 100 t-shirts @ $5.00, NOT 1 lot of 100 t-shirts @ $500. This comes into play when you receive the order. If the order is not completely fulfilled, adjustments to the payment of the invoice are easily made when you have expressed the order with the exact quantity of items.
- Send an e-mail message to email@example.com when the goods or services are received. Specify the purchase order number and whether the goods or services were received exactly as expected, or describe any discrepancies. If the order was not completely fulfilled, note the number received and if you will be receiving the remainder in a back-order or if you have canceled the remainder.
- Please emphasize to your vendors the importance of including the PO number on the invoice.