Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable

Purchasing and Accounts Payable

Utica University funds are to be spent only on those items or services that directly enhance Utica students’ learning experience or allow Utica employees to carry out their responsibilities.Employees may not use University funds to make purchases for personal or private use.
Any employee who commits the University to a purchase, sale, lease, or other arrangement without proper authorization may be held personally liable for the transaction, whether the purchase has been made via purchase order, One Card, personal cash or credit card, or petty cash.

All computer hardware and software purchases must be approved and funded by the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services (IITS). Utica University will not approve the use of departmental or personal funds for such purchases. Furthermore, IITS will not provide support for computer hardware or software that it has not approved or purchased.
Purchases must be in compliance with all ADA requirements. For assistance, contact the 504/ADA Compliance Officer through the Office of Human Resources.
This policy and the procedures associated with it apply to all Utica University 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 applies to all purchases and purchasing related documents prepared or processed within all areas of Utica University.

This policy is designed to ensure:
  • Appropriate stewardship of Utica University 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 University 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

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 tablets 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, including website subscriptions.
General Purchasing Processes
This section applies to purchases of office supplies, books, and other tangible goods under $5,000. For larger or more expensive items, follow the procedures outlined in Other Types of Purchases, below. For purchases greater than or equal to $5,000, please refer to the Bidding policy. For capital projects that involve structural changes or improvements, please call the Office of Facilities Management at (315) 792-3191.
Using Purchase Orders to Make a Purchase
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 transfer or obtain a variance approval from the Office of Financial Affairs.

    Any requisitions using restricted funds must be approved by the Office of General Accounting. See Requisition and Receiving Instructions for more information.
  2. Once the requisition is completed, Banner will 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 or email at purchasing@utica.edu.
  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.
    • E Copy: e-mailed to the person making the request. This copy will be used for reference in the receiving process in Banner once the merchandise or services that were ordered have been received and accepted. For more information, see Requisitions and Receiving Instructions.
    • 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. As per the University’s Records and Retention policy, file copies must be kept for two years. 
Step 3: Payment of Purchase Orders
  1. Utica University’s standard payment terms are Net 30, meaning payment is due in 30 days. All vendors must be made aware of this before an order is placed. Utica University 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 must be inspected as soon as possible. 

    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 and acknowledged (“received”) in Banner, the ordering department receives the purchase order electronically in Banner. For more information, see Requisition and Receiving Instructions. No payments will be made without the order being received in Banner.
  4. Any invoices received by the ordering department must 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. As per the University’s Records and Retention policy, file copies must be kept for two years
Using a Utica Purchasing Card to Make a Purchase
The Utica University purchasing card, known as the One Card, functions as a procurement and travel card. It is intended to provide an efficient, cost-effective method for purchasing and paying for small-dollar transactions within established usage limits or when using standard purchasing procedures is not an option. The One Card is designed to replace other purchasing options such as small-dollar purchase orders and reduce the need for expense reimbursement requests, departmental cash advances, and petty cash reimbursements. Using this card will provide quicker turn-around time on orders and greater flexibility in ordering goods, and will also consolidate, streamline, and reduce paperwork processing.
Cardholders will find the One Card convenient for small-dollar purchases of materials and services; making walk-in purchases; placing orders over the telephone; placing orders for publications, subscriptions, dues/memberships; and confirming hotel travel accommodations. The One Card may not be used to allow employees to bypass the purchasing and approval processes outlined in this policy and the One Card procedure.
As with the One Card, employees may not request reimbursement for purchases made using their own cash or credit cards to bypass the purchasing and approval processes outlined in this policy.  Reimbursement will be made for such purchases only when they are absolutely necessary and could not have been acquired through standard purchasing procedures. Submit a requisition with the appropriate FOAP and attach all receipts. Receipts must be itemized; credit card receipts will not be accepted for reimbursements.
The University does not reimburse New York State sales tax, nor will it reimburse sales tax from any state in which Utica has an exemption. Exemption certificates for New York and other states can be found on the Purchasing and Accounts Payable website.
Any reimbursements for moving expenses are considered taxable income and must be processed through payroll.
As an alternative to using the employee’s own cash or credit cards, 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).

New Vendor
If the vendor is not currently listed in the Banner system, the employee will need to complete a Vendor Request Form and attach a fully completed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-9. Once the Vendor Request Form is completed, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will verify the W-9 information with the IRS and create a new vendor ID. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will then email the requestor the new vendor ID number. If a prospective vendor fails to properly complete an IRS Form W-9, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will not enter the prospective vendor into Banner.

Tax Exempt Status
Utica University 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. There are several additional states in which Utica has a sales tax exemption. Before making a purchase from a new vendor, obtain a tax exempt form online or from the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable, complete the form, and give it to the vendor to keep on file. The University’s tax-exempt number is embossed on the One Card, but cardholders may be required to provide a hard-copy of the certificate to the vendor.
Canceling Orders
To cancel an order for any reason, notify the vendor in writing as soon as possible. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable to advise of the cancellation 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 Purchasing and Accounts Payable, which will review requests for approval. It will then be determined whether the request is appropriate and if inventory is available. If the request is approved, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable can assist in selecting appropriate furniture. University-owned furniture may not be moved from one location to another without permission, and only Facilities Management staff members are permitted to move furniture. To request furniture moves, contact the Office of Facilities Management.
  2. Equipment

    Equipment is generally defined to be those items that 1) have a useful life in excess of one year, and 2) are not consumable. Examples include microscopes, treadmills, and laminating machines. Equipment purchases greater than or equal to $5,000 must be charged to a capitalized equipment account and must be approved through the capital planning process. Contact the Office of Purchasing andAccounts Payable for assistance with these requests.
  3. Computer-Related Purchases

    All computer hardware and software purchases are approved and funded by the Office of Integrated Information Technology Services (IITS). Requests for computer hardware, software, and other related purchases must be submitted via a Help Desk ticket. IITS will determine whether the request is appropriate, if the equipment or software is compatible, and whether funding is available. Departmental funds may not be used to make computer-related purchases. Purchases made at the employee’s personal expenses will not be supported by IITS. No computer-related 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

    Requests for repairs to computers and other resources provided by IITS must be made to the Computer Help Desk (315-792-3115) or helpdesk@utica.edu.

    Responsibility for maintenance and repair of other equipment rests with each department. If repairs can be made on-site, 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
  5. General Stores

    The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable carries a small stock of Utica pocket folders, inter-office envelopes, and no-office designation stationary. When ordering these items, send a completed paper requisition to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
  6. Office Supplies

    To facilitate ordering office supplies, the University has contracted with W.B. Mason and has authorized certain employees to have access to W.B. Mason.com to make purchases. All purchases are then routed for approval to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. Once the order is approved, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will send the order to the department to sign off that the order has been received. Once the signed copy has been returned to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable, it will then be processed for payment.

    To obtain a log-in for W.B. Mason online, contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
  7. Utica University Bookstore

    Only authorized employees may incur departmental charges at the Bookstore. Employees may contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for the Authorization Form for their departments. Invoices are sent to each department monthly. Departments are to attach the original receipts to the invoice, include the appropriate FOAP for each receipt, and send to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
  8. Utica University Stationery

    Utica University contracts with a third-party vendor for the production of all Utica University 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 website. All orders must be approved by the person who is authorized to sign requisitions for that area.
  9. Printing

    Many printed materials can be produced in-house. Before arranging with the Office of Marketing and Communications for printing with an outside vendor, contact the Copy Center to determine if the project can be done less expensively in-house.

    Printing jobs that must be done by an outside vendor must be coordinated through the Office of Marketing and Communications, which may initiate a bidding process depending on the size of the project.

    Employee or student wishing to use the Utica University logo(s) on any printed materials, including clothing and promotional items, or on websites must first seek approval from the Office of Marketing and Communications.
  10. Postage

    Reimbursement of postage will occur when mailing is required for University business purposes. Postage for personal use will not be reimbursed (see Reimbursements, below). Routine University mail is handled by the University’s mailroom. 
  11. 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. Supervisors must approve any individual membership requests.
    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.
  12. Subscriptions

    Subscriptions paid for by the University must relate to University 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. 

    All technology subscriptions, such as software agreements or use of online services, must be approved and funded by IITS. Departments. Departmental funds may not be used to purchase technology subscriptions, and such subscriptions will not be supported if employees use the own personal funds to make the purchase. 
  13. Business Meals

    University rules regarding meals consumed during the course of business, including meals consumed during travel as well as meals consumed on campus, are covered by the Business Travel and Entertainment policy

    In order to be considered a business meal, the meal must generally include at least one non-University employee; however, occasionally, gatherings of University 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.

    Meals may be provided to search committees and candidates only when all-day sessions are planned or when the midday time slot is the only reasonable time the search committee or other interviewers can meet. Such meals require approval from area Vice President/Dean. See the Search Process Expense Procedure for further guidelines. 

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

    Regardless of whether the meal is direct-billed, provided by the University’s dining service, or paid for by an employee who wishes to be reimbursed, receipts detailing all food and beverages ordered 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 University 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.
  14. Alcoholic Beverages at Events

    Events that include the sale or service of alcoholic beverages on University-owned or leased property must be approved by the University President or his or her designee and must also be coordinated through the University’s food service provider. All University events involving the sale or serving of alcohol while students may be present must be registered through and approved by the Office of Student Living and Campus Engagement.
  15. 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 University’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 with area Vice President/Dean approval and given to guest speakers, visiting professors, members of accrediting teams, etc. In order to avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest or giving the impression of improper influence, gifts of appreciation for elected officials are restricted by federal and state laws. For more information, see the gift ethics guidelines provided by the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

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

    Gift Cards
    Gift cards may not be purchased with University funds. In the rare case of an exception, prior approval must be given by the area Vice President/Dean and the Vice President for Financial Affairs/Treasurer.
  16. Holiday and Retirement Parties

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

    With the exception of retirement parties, departmental funds may not be used to pay for departmental celebrations. Food, decorations, and other purchases for departmental parties must be paid for by employees.

    Utica University will fund departmental retirement parties at $100 per party. Departments are encouraged to hold group receptions if two or more people will be retiring 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 unless authorized by the President of the University. Parties for departing employees who are not retiring must be funded by the employees of the departing employee’s department.
  17. Receptions for Faculty and Staff Candidates

    Modest refreshments are appropriate for receptions where members of the University community are invited to meet a candidate. Such gatherings require approval from an area Vice President/Dean.
Contracts for Services
All contracts for services must be submitted to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for review, which may include a determination as to whether the service qualifies as employment. Approval from the Vice President for Legal Affairs and the Vice President for Financial Affairs is required for all contracts. A copy of all contracts for services must be sent to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable immediately after the contract/agreement has been signed by both parties.

The University’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 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 University. 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 invoice.

State Contract Pricing
Utica University is eligible to purchase 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/purchase. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for assistance with obtaining the best pricing on any given item.

Unauthorized Purchases
Utica University is not responsible for any purchase made without an authorized purchase order or contract. This includes verbal purchases. The University 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 University 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 University funds.
Enforcement of Utica University 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 University acknowledges that University policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The University 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 University (i.e. President, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Financial Affairs, Senior Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment Management, or Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel).
It is the responsibility of all employees of Utica University to ensure appropriate stewardship of Utica University 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 University procurement systems, and enforcing the policies and procedures of the University.
For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Please note that other Utica University 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
Date Last Revised: 06/21/2019
Revision Promulgation Date: 07/08/2019

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