Purchasing Policies and Procedures
At Washington and Lee University, when department heads are provided with budgets, the authority to use those budgets for their intended purposes is inherently provided as well. Department heads and any other authorized department members are permitted to expend budgeted University funds. To assure an orderly process and reasonable controls, the purchasing policies and procedures contained herein should be followed. The formal purchasing process consists of three distinct steps: a request for goods, an authorizing order and, ultimately, a payment.
These steps are interdependent and are supported by the use of distinct forms. For most expenditures (generally those less than $500) either an Invoice, or a Business Office Disbursements Voucher is the only form needed to complete a transaction. To purchase goods that cost $500 or more, a more formal purchasing procedure is required. This procedure integrates purchasing, inventory and depreciation accounting, as well as providing a measure of control for major purchases. The Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager can assist departments in locating goods and researching competitive pricing as needed.
- Purchase Requisitions
- For all items with a unit cost of over $1,500, a Purchase Requisition must be filled out completely and sent to the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager. Pre-printed forms are available from the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager. Purchase Requisitions may also be used as needed for items costing less than $1,500.
- For all equipment (regardless of cost, purchased using Federal Funds, a Purchase Requisition must be submitted to the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager and a Purchase Order will be issued through the purchasing system. Federal funded purchases will be inventoried and tracked through the Purchasing Fixed Asset system as required by the University to fulfill the requirements of receiving Federal grants.
- The Purchase Requisition must be signed by the Department Chairperson, Dean or Administrator authorized to expend funds from the account used.
- Any individual item costing $5000 or more (object codes 7791, 7591) must be expended from a Capital Project number. All Capital Project purchases (regardless of cost) must be purchased through the purchasing system.
- If you elect to use your department number for purchases between $1,500 and $5,000 +, you must first request permission and have signed approval from the Treasurer's Office.
- Retain the yellow copy of the Purchase Requisition form for departmental files. Send the white Purchase Requisition to the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager. If the completed form is received by 1 pm, the order will normally be processed that day.
- Purchase Orders
- Purchase orders and purchase order numbers are generated by computer and cannot be initiated without a properly completed requisition form. All goods with an individual item cost of $1,500 or more must be purchased through the purchasing system. Goods are defined as items that are tangible. They are assigned various object codes to categorize their type (see examples below). Questions on appropriate object codes may be addressed to the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager.
Object Code Description
7585 Equipment $500 - $1,499: additional
7588 Equipment $1,500 - $4,999
7591 Equipment $5000 & up
7782 Software Audiovisual
7787 Software $500 - $1,499
7788 Software $1,500 & up
7811 Supplies Audiovisual
7813 Supplies Carpentry
7822 Supplies Electric
7825 Supplies Vehicle & Maintenance Equip
- Purchase orders are normally mailed to the vendor (please include a complete mailing address). Explicit instructions should be given if the purchase order is to be handled in a different manner. If the purchase order is to be faxed, please include a fax transmittal sheet along with the requisition form.
- Emergency Purchase Orders: In an emergency situation (when time does not allow for generating a required purchase order) the department may use the following non-routine procedure:
- Place the order directly with the vendor and give the vendor an alphanumeric purchase order number that is unique to this order.
- Fill out the requisition form as normal. In the comment area, please address the special situation. Provide as much information as possible, such as the name of the individual who received the order, date, the PO number you gave them, etc. Note that it is a confirming order/do not duplicate and that the purchase order number will replace the number previously used. The Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager will generate an official purchase order and forward it to the vendor.
- Upon receipt of an Invoice by a department:
- Verify that the items have been received.
- Note payment approval, account number, and purchase order number on the invoice.
- Send the completed invoice to the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager in the Business Office where payment will be initiated.
- Payment is made by the Business Office on or prior to the due date and the expenditure is posted against the departmental account.
Assistance during any part of the purchasing process is available by contacting the Fixed Asset/Purchasing Manager at x8917 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.