Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Business Office

Purchasing Procedures

General

University purchases may be made via accounts payable check, ACH, wire, corporate card, or petty cash funds. 

Purchase Requisition

  • For purchases equal to or exceeding $1,000, a purchase requisition should be turned into the Purchasing Assistant in the Business Office, along with a quote or estimate from the vendor.
    • The documents should be turned in prior to the vendor beginning work on the order.
    • The purchasing assistant will then generate a purchase order and will send a copy to the vendor and to the person who initiated the purchase requisition.
    • Upon receipt of the purchase order, the vendor will send goods or initiate services.
    • Then the vendor will send the University an invoice.
    • The PO initiator should note on the invoice when the goods/services were received, put the appropriate PO number on the invoice, and give to the budget officer or department head to sign authorizing payment.
    • The invoice is then sent to the Purchasing Assistant in the Business Office for payment.

Check Requisition

  • Purchases less than $1,000 are not required to have a purchase order.
  • The purchaser should complete a check requisition form and send to the Accounts Payable Clerk in the Business Office along with the invoice or other relevant supporting documentation (see reimbursement requests below).
  • Prior to sending to the business office, the purchaser should note on either the invoice or check requisition which account number the purchase is being charged to and give to the budget officer for review and approval.

Corporate Card Purchases

  • SU corporate cards can be used for travel expenses up to $2,000
  • Corporate cards can also be used for University expenses other than travel up to $1,000.
  • All corporate card purchases greater than or equal to $500 should be approved in advance by the appropriate President’s Staff member or his/her designee.
  • See SU’s Corporate Card Policy (here) for more information.

Requests for Reimbursement of Business Expenses

  • All purchases should be made via Accounts Payable check or SU corporate card
  • Personal credit cards should not be used unless there are extenuating circumstances and approval from a member of President’s Staff is approved prior to the purchase.
  • In these cases, the purchaser can submit to the Accounts Payable Clerk a check requisition along with original receipt(s) substantiating the purchase.
  • Reimbursements of < $100 can be processed through petty cash.
    • Requestor should come to the Business Office Cashier’s desk with receipts and completed Petty Cash form (available at the Cashier’s desk).
    • The Petty Cash form must be signed by the budget officer on the account shown on the form.
    • The person receiving the cash will sign the Petty Cash Form upon receipt of reimbursement.
    • Petty cash reimbursements must be processed in person; they cannot be sent to the recipient through campus mail.
    • Reimbursement requests for business mileage must include odometer readings.
    • Reimbursement of travel expenses should be submitted on a Report of Business Expense form.  See SU’s Travel Policy (here) for more information.

Personal Expenses Not Reimbursed

  • The University does not reimburse for personal expenses.  Some examples include: 
    • personal subscriptions
    • laundry services
    • personal long distance telephone calls
    • personal internet access

Receipts and Required Documentation

To properly document business expenses, the IRS requires receipts which include at least the following information:

  • Name and address of payee
  • Date of purchase
  • Purchase amount
  • Purchase description

If original receipts are not turned in, the employee will be responsible for maintaining such receipts.

Expenses incurred for entertainment purposes must meet the IRS requirements for receipts listed above and document the following information:

  • Name of the person(s) entertained
  • Business purpose of the entertainment (e.g. fundraising visit, faculty candidate dinner, etc…)

The following items by themselves  are not considered valid original receipts by the IRS:

  • Checkbook carbon copy of checks
  • Cancelled checks (typically fails to provide sufficient information as noted above)
  • Personal credit card monthly statements
  • Un-itemized credit card receipts (typically fails to provide sufficient information as noted above)
  • Order confirmations that do not show payment information
  • Travel itineraries that do not show payment information

Purchases from Restricted Funds

  • Purchases from sources other than the regular operating budget (fund 11 accounts) are subject to the same guidelines stated above; however, additional approvals are required.
  • Purchases made with grant funds (Fund 22 accounts) should be sent to the Accountant in the Business Office for review and approval.
    • The Accountant will ensure that the purchase is allowable per the grant guidelines in addition to any applicable Federal and State regulations. 
    • Once approved, the documents will be turned over to Accounts Payable for payment.
    • Purchases made from the plant fund (Fund 61 accounts) for construction projects, renovation projects, office furniture, and large equipment should be coordinated with one of the Physical Plant managers and then sent to the Assistant Controller for review and approval. 
    • Purchases from Fund 21 or 71 accounts should also be submitted to the Accountant for review and approval.
      • The Accountant will ensure the purchase is allowable according to the spending restrictions specified by the donor(s). 
      • Once approved, the documents will be turned over to Accounts Payable for payment.

Contracts

  • A contract is required when paying a vendor (can be an individual or business entity) for services
  • Example: inviting a guest speaker or performer to campus
  • Contracts with non-U.S. citizens require additional paperwork and have income tax withholding requirements different than contracts with U.S. citizens.
  • Contracts requiring multiple payments, such as a deposit up front and remainder upon completion, should be submitted to the Executive Administrative Assistant in the office of the VP for Finance & Administration with a purchase requisition and a check request for each payment to be made.
  • All other contracts should be submitted to the Executive Administrative Assistant in the office of the VP for Finance & Administration with a check request in the amount to be paid.
  • Contact the Executive Administrative Assistant in the office of the VP for Finance & Administration for more specific information and contract templates.