Office of Financial Affairs



Purchasing and Accounts Payable



POLICY:

The purchasing and accounts payable policy endeavors to insure that members of the Utica College community adhere to standard business practices. Utica College funds are to be spent only on those items or services that directly enhance UC students’ learning experience or allow UC employees to carry out their responsibilities.

Any employee who commits the College to a purchase, sale, lease, or other arrangement without proper authorization may be held personally liable for the transaction. Employees may not use College funds to make any purchases for personal or private use.

SCOPE:

This policy and the procedures associated with it apply to all Utica College employees, including student employees and contract employees, and encompass all purchases using operating, capital, or restricted funds including endowment, contract, and research funds. This policy is intended to cover all purchases and purchasing related documents prepared or processed within all areas of Utica College.

REASON FOR POLICY:

This policy is designed to ensure:
  • Appropriate stewardship of Utica College assets
     
  • Integrity when acquiring goods and services
     
  • Accountability to funding sources
     
  • Procurement of goods and services at the lowest cost consistent with the quality, delivery, and service required
     
  • Fulfillment of the College community’s needs in a timely, efficient, and properly controlled manner
     
  • Procurement within the parameters set forth by the IRS
     
  • Fair and competitive bidding
     
  • Adherence to ethical business practices
     
  • Compliance with applicable laws
     
DEFINITIONS:

Standard Engagement Agreement – Contract used for vendors such as artists, music groups, performers, or entertainers.

Professional Affiliate Agreement – Contract used for vendors such as architects, consultants, lawyers, lecturers, speakers, or other contractors.

FOAP (Fund/Org/Account/Program)
– A string of Accounts Payable numbers that indicates where the expenses will be charged within a department’s budget.

Signature Authority – The person authorized to sign a requisition for a particular FOAP.

Budget Authority – The person who is responsible for the budget in a particular area and who has the authority to make budget revisions.

Computer-Related Purchases – A computer, software package, or any item that connects to and/or communicates with a computer, including networked devices such as printers or copiers. Mobile computers such as PDAs and SmartPhones are also considered computer-related purchases. Software is any operating system or application used on a computer or mobile device. Software also includes off-site services that are purchased through the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services.

PROCEDURE:

General Purchasing Process

This section applies to purchases of office supplies, books, and other tangible goods under $1,000. For purchase greater than or equal to $1,000, please refer to the Bidding Policy.

Step 1: Requisitions
  1. Using Banner, initiate a requisition for a purchase order. All portions of the requisition must be completed, including a description of each item, quantities being ordered, unit prices, and extended total costs.

    Also indicate where the completed purchase order should be sent: to the ordering department for submittal to the vendor; faxed to the vendor; or mailed to the vendor.

    Use the Fund/Org/Account/Program (FOAP) account that is appropriate for the purchase. Requisitions without the proper FOAP will be returned. Do not charge an account just because there are funds in that account. If there are insufficient funds in the appropriate account, submit a budget revision to the Assistant Controller.

    Any requisitions using restricted funds must be approved by the Office of General Accounting.
     
  2. Once the requisition is completed, use Banner to submit it electronically to the authorized approver. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will not process requisitions until they have been approved by the authorized approver. Therefore, be sure to submit the requisition in a timely manner to allow for processing and delivery. Requisitions submitted without all necessary information will be returned and will delay the entire process.
     
  3. If there is any supporting documentation and/or quotations for the requisition, write the requisition number on all documents and send them to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable through campus mail.
     
  4. Requisitions that have been approved by the authorized approver will be electronically transmitted to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable, which will generate a purchase order.

    Requisitions that are disapproved by the authorized approver will automatically be returned to the person making the request for revisions or cancellation.
     
Step 2: Purchase Orders
  1. Once it receives an approved requisition, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will generate a purchase order that includes three parts:
     
  • Vendor Copy: sent to the vendor unless otherwise specified by the ordering department
  • Receiving Copy: e-mailed to the person making the request. This copy should be signed and returned to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable after the merchandise or services that were ordered have been received and accepted.
  • File Copy: kept in the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable until the purchase order has been paid, at which time it is sent to the ordering department for its files
     
Step 3: Payment of Purchase Orders
  1. Utica College’s standard payment terms are Net 30, meaning payment is due in 30 days. All vendors should be made aware of this before an order is placed. Utica College is a tax-exempt organization, and does not pay New York State sales tax on purchases. Before making a purchase from a new vendor, obtain a tax exempt form from the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable, complete the form, and give it to the vendor to keep on file.
     
  2. The ordering department is responsible for receiving, inspecting, and accepting all merchandise and services that have been ordered. As merchandise arrives, it should be inspected without delay.

    Any shortages, overages, damage, or other inconsistencies must be clearly noted and brought to the vendor’s attention immediately. The ordering department is responsible for coordinating the return of the merchandise directly with the vendor. Keep packing slip(s) or any corresponding paper work describing the damages. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable if assistance is needed.
     
  3. Once merchandise or services have been accepted, the ordering department signs and dates the receiving copy of the purchase order. Any changes in the shipment or pricing should be noted on the receiving copy and sent back to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable to process for payment; examples of this include partial shipment, change in shipping cost, or change in quantity. No payments will be made without a signed and dated receiving copy from the ordering department.
     
  4. Any invoices received by the ordering department should be forwarded as soon as possible to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for processing. With the exception of additional freight charges, all invoices that differ from the purchase order will be sent to the ordering department for approval. Any significant changes in pricing must be explained in a memo to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
     
  5. When an invoice is paid, the ordering department will receive the file copy of the purchase order, showing the amount paid to the vendor. This copy should be retained in the department files.
     
Tax Exempt Status

Utica College is exempt from paying any New York State sales tax and Federal excise tax on all goods and services purchased by employees for business use. Before making a purchase from a new vendor, obtain a tax exempt form from the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable, complete the form, and give it to the vendor to keep on file.

Canceling Orders

To cancel an order for any reason, notify the vendor in writing as soon as possible. Call the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable to advise of the cancellation. Send the receiving copy back to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable clearly marked “CANCELLED” so that it may be deleted from the system.

Other Types of Purchases

The following are exceptions to the general purchasing process:

1. Furniture

All furniture requests are to go through the Office of Facilities Management for approval. Facilities Management will determine whether the request is appropriate and if inventory is available. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable can assist in selecting appropriate furniture. No furniture is to be moved to another office/room without permission of the Office of Facilities Management.

2. Equipment

Equipment generally is considered to 1) have a useful life in excess of one year, 2) not be consumable (examples: computers, microscopes, etc.). Equipment purchases greater than or equal to $1,000 must be charged to a capitalized equipment account.

3. Computer-Related Purchases

Computer hardware and software requests are to go through the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services, via the Help Desk online request forms. IITS will determine whether the request is appropriate and if the equipment is compatible and available. No equipment is to be moved to another office/room without the permission of the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services.

4. Equipment Repair and Maintenance

Responsibility rests with each department for the maintenance and repair of its respective equipment. If repairs can be made on campus, please call the service number listed on that piece of equipment and be prepared to provide the following information:
  • Make, model, and serial number of the equipment
     
  • The building and room number where the equipment is located
     
Fax machines and calculators are covered by a contracted vendor and calls for repairs to these items should be made to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. Calls for repairs to computers, printers, and other resources provided by IITS should be made to the Computer Help Desk.

5. General Stores

The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable carries items such as appointment books, UC logo items, blue books etc. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for a complete listing of items carried. When ordering these items, send a completed requisition to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. Orders are filled and delivered once per week.

6. Office Supplies

Requisitions for office supplies from Staples or Hummels should be done on a paper requisition form since no purchase order is generated for these types of purchases. Forms can be obtained from the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

7. Utica College Bookstore

A requisition is required for all Utica College bookstore purchases. The requisition is completed at the bookstore at the time of purchase. The buyer is responsible for completing the top portion of the requisition. The cashier will complete the rest of the requisition and attach to it a detailed receipt. The buyer keeps the duplicate copy of the requisition form and the Bookstore submits the original copy with an invoice of the items purchased to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

8. Utica College Stationery

Utica College contracts with a third party vendor for the production of all Utica College letterhead, envelopes, and business cards. Stationery orders are to be placed online with this vendor. Instructions for ordering stationery are on the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable Web site: www.utica.edu/finance/comptroller/purchasing. All orders must be approved by the person who is authorized to sign requisitions for that area.

9. Printing

Any employee or student wishing to use the Utica College logo(s) on any printed materials or on Web sites must first seek approval from the Office of Marketing and Communications. The Office of Marketing and Communications may initiate a bidding process depending on the size of the project.

10. Telephone

College-owned telephones, including cell phones, are for College business use only. Personal calls from these phones should be kept to a minimum. Personal long distance phone calls from these phones are not permitted.

For information regarding the use of telephones during the course of business travel, see the Business Travel and Entertainment Policy.

11. Postage

Reimbursement of postage will occur when mailing is required for College business purposes. Postage for personal use will not be reimbursed. (See Reimbursements, below.) Routine College mail is handled by the College’s mailroom.

12. Memberships

Individual – Departmental funding may be used to pay for memberships with professional and/or service associations, providing such memberships support the employee’s professional duties.

Institutional – Institutional memberships are granted to those areas that benefit the entire institution. Contact the Office of the Comptroller and Assistant Treasurer to determine what would be appropriate under this category of membership.

13. Subscriptions

Subscriptions paid for by the College must relate to College business, and may include any purchase made by signed order, as for a periodical for a specified period of time or for a series of performances, or any agreements to receive or be given access to electronic texts or services, especially over the Internet. Any technology subscriptions, such as software agreements or use of online services, must be approved by IITS. Departments and employees wishing to obtain subscriptions may do so through departmental funding.

14. Meals

Meals consumed during the course of business travel are covered by the Business Travel and Entertainment Policy. All other business meals are covered by this policy, including meals consumed on campus.

Business meals generally include at least one non-College employee; however, occasionally gatherings of College employees may also be defined as a business meal. Expenses may be incurred only for those individuals whose presence is necessary to the business discussion.

Several area restaurants will bill the College directly for business meals. For more information regarding these restaurants, contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Information regarding the consumption of alcohol, tipping, and other guidelines for eligible business meal expenses can be found on the Travel Policy Fact Sheet.

Regardless of whether the meal is direct-billed, provided by the College’s dining service, or paid for by an employee who wishes to be reimbursed, receipts detailing all food and beverages consumed must be provided. Credit card receipts are not acceptable for this purpose.

In addition to itemized receipts, IRS rules require documentation of the time, date, place, business purpose and attendees at the meal. Complete the Business Meals and Entertainment Record, attach receipt(s), and return all documentation to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

The College will deny reimbursement for meal expenses that lack proper documentation or a clear business purpose. Gatherings that are primarily social in nature do not qualify for payment or reimbursement as business meals.

15. Alcoholic Beverages at Events

Events that include the sale or service of alcoholic beverages must be approved by the College president or his or her designee. All College events involving the sale or serving of alcohol while students may be present must be registered through and approved by the Office of Student Activities.

16. Flowers, Balloons, Gift Baskets, Other Good-Will Gestures

Get Well and Sympathy Gestures
Only the Office of the President is authorized to send these types of items at the College’s expense. Departments or individuals wishing to send such items must do so at their own expense.

Gifts of Appreciation
Modest gifts of appreciation may be paid for by the appropriate department and given to guest speakers, visiting professors, members of accrediting teams, etc.

Donations
College funds may not be used to sponsor events in benefit of, or make donations to, other non-profit organizations without approval from the College president.

17. Holiday and Retirement Parties

Departments planning to host holiday parties must do so at their own personal expense. Holiday decorations, candy, etc. must be paid for by employees. Department funds cannot be used for such events.

Utica College will fund retirement parties at $100 per party. Departments are encouraged to hold group receptions if two or more people will be leaving at approximately the same time, such as at the end of the academic year. Any expenses exceeding $100 must be covered by employees. Any gifts given to retiring faculty or staff are to be paid for by friends and colleagues.

The College hosts two parties per year for all employees: the holiday party in December and the employee recognition party in May.

18. Receptions for Faculty and Staff Candidates

Modest refreshments are appropriate for receptions to which the campus community has been invited for the purpose of meeting the candidate. Alcohol will not be allowed during receptions unless approved by the College president or his or her designee.

Lunches may be served only when all-day sessions are planned or when the midday time slot is the only reasonable time a group can meet.

Contracts for Services

All contracts for services are to be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer prior to submitting a requisition to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. Offsite or third party vendors and services related to campus computing or data must additionally be approved by the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services.

The College’s preferred contract form for purchasing services is the Professional Affiliate Agreement or the Standard Engagement Agreement, whichever is appropriate. Outside contracts are generally acceptable as well. Attach approved contracts to the requisition with quotes if applicable and forward to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. A completed W-9 is also required annually from any vendor that contracts with Utica College. This W-9 form must be sent to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. No payment will be made to any vendor without a W-9 on file. If payment is required at the time of the performance, this must be indicated on the requisition and on the receiving copy when it is returned to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Examples of vendors that always require a W-9 (even if incorporated) include: accountants, architects, consultants, entertainers, lawyers, lecturers, officials, speakers, anyone being paid as an individual, and any other vendor not incorporated.

State Contract Pricing

Utica College is eligible to buy many items under the Office of General Services State Contract system. This pricing is available at the State Contract Pricing Web site: http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for assistance with obtaining the best pricing on any given item.

Reimbursements

Reimbursement will be made for individual cash or credit purchases only when these purchases are absolutely necessary and could not have been acquired through standard purchasing procedures. Submit a requisition with the appropriate FOAP and attach all receipts. The College does not reimburse New York State sales tax. If the amount is less than $15, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will reimburse in cash; otherwise a check will be issued.

Alternatively, emergency or small non-routine purchases can be made through a petty cash fund, if one has been established for the office making the purchase (see Petty Cash policy).

Any reimbursements for moving expenses are considered taxable income and must be processed through payroll.

[Top of Page]

Unauthorized Purchases

Utica College is not responsible for any purchase made without an authorized purchase order or contract. This includes verbal purchases. The College will not be held financially responsible for any invoicing that does not bear an authorized purchase order number. Verbal purchases are not good business practice and must be avoided whenever possible. All verbal purchases must be followed up immediately with a requisition, which is clearly labeled “CONFIRMATION” to avoid duplication. The College is under no obligation to pay for unauthorized purchases. Any transaction without a purchase order or contract shall be considered as a personal obligation of the individual and not payable with College funds.

RESPONSIBILITY:

It is the responsibility of all employees of Utica College to ensure appropriate stewardship of Utica College assets, integrity when acquiring goods and services, and accountability to funding sources. The signature authority signing off on purchase orders is responsible for ensuring the appropriateness of the goods and services purchased. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable fulfills this responsibility by educating the community about "best procurement practices," maintaining College procurement systems, and enforcing the policies and procedures of the College.

ENFORCEMENT:

Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office or offices listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).

RESOURCES/QUESTIONS:

For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.



Effective Date:
07/25/2007
Promulgation Date:
09/24/2007