Financial Affairs

PURCHASING PROCESSES



Preferred Vendors

Competitive Bidding

Commodity Types
Training Programs

Purchasing at DePaul University is partially decentralized, where departments may select vendors and make most purchasing decisions within the guidelines set by Procurement Services. Procurement's role is to assist departments find the best possible vendor, product or service that is able to meet their needs.

Determining Purchasing Authority
In general, budget managers are authorized to spend up to $2,500 through either the university ProCard or other processes.

Purchases over $2,500 require a requisition and approval from Procurement Services prior to the order being placed. Additional approvals may be required, depending on the type of purchase and/or dollar amount:

Procurement Services will determine if approval is needed by the above groups and route requisitions or otherwise ensure review. Departments that fall within Academic Affairs are also responsible for the Academic Affairs Concept Approval process.

Vendor Selection
Procurement Services negotiates contracts with Preferred Vendors for university-wide goods and services. Whenever possible, these vendors should be utilized for DePaul business.

If a preferred vendor is not able to meet a department's needs, an alternative vendor can be selected. Departments should review the Vendor and Contractor Selection Philosophy and Vendor Relationships pages of this site prior to making a decision. Purchases over $25,000 are also subject to competitive bidding requirements.

To ensure the best products are services are obtained, some form of cost or process analysis should be made in purchasing decisions. Price analysis can be accomplished in various ways including the comparison of quotes, market prices or discounts. Costs should be analyzed by reviewing and evaluating each element (e.g. product, shipping, warranty, etc) for reasonableness, appropriateness and acceptability.

All new vendors must be authorized by Procurement Services or Accounts Payable prior to use. New vendors are required to fill out paperwork that is required by the IRS and other tax entities to determine their payment eligibility (e.g. vendor, consultant, employee, etc.)

Making Purchases under $2,500
University departments are generally able to spend up to $2,500 without the involvement of Procurement Services. Most of these purchases can be placed on the ProCard. This method allows individuals to make purchasing and payment decisions quickly and efficiently. See the ProCard Program page for more information and complete restrictions, which include:

If the vendor does not accept credit cards, the invoice or a voucher payment form can be used for payment. See the Voucher Payments page from Accounts Payable for more information.

Making Purchases over $2,500
For purchases over $2,500, the university requires that a requisition be opened and a purchase order generated by Procurement Services prior to the order being placed.

Exemptions from Purchase Orders (as of 2/25/16)
Procurement Services has exempted the purchases listed below from needing a purchase order prior to payment being processed.  Departments purchasing from these vendors/categories can process payment via their ProCard or by sending the invoice directly to Accounts Payable.

This list is not meant to be a definitive list and departments are encouraged to contact Procurement Services if they have questions prior to committing the university to a purchase. 

Vendor Exemptions
The following vendors are exempt from requiring a purchase order:

Category Exemptions
The following types of purchases do not need a requisition, regardless of dollar amount:

 Additional exceptions may be granted by Procurement Services or Accounts Payable Management.

Requisitions and Purchase Orders
A requisition is a request made via the eProcurement system giving Procurement Services authorization to order the goods or services specified and to encumber the departmental budget.

Once a requisition has been received, it will be reviewed by a buyer in Procurement Services, who will look for appropriate business need/price, vendor selection, compliance with existing policies, bid processes, fiscal year accounting and any potential conflict of interest. Additional approvals may also take place, per the Purchasing Authority section above.

The opening of a requisition results in a pre-encumbrance or temporary commitment of funds that is reflected on the department's financial statements. The pre-encumbrance is liquidated after the requisition is cancelled or transformed into a purchase order.

The approval of a requisition to a purchase order results in an encumbrance of the ordering department's budget and it is reflected on the financial statements. The encumbrance replaces the pre-encumbrance that resulted from the corresponding requisition. The encumbrance is liquidated after the purchase order is cancelled or when the invoice has been paid.

If funds are available but the requisition fails budget check, there are two possible reasons:

  1. An invalid chart field may have been used to allocate the line items. To resolve this, verify the validity of the chart field and modify it if necessary.
  2. There may be insufficient funds available. To resolve this, choose another chart field, or review the financial statements to monitor all outstanding pre-encumbrances and encumbrances. Contact Procurement Services if these items need to be removed from the budget.

Once approved by all levels, the requisition is converted into a purchase order, which Procurement will transmit to the vendor initiating an order.

Purchases over $25,000
For purchases or contracts over $25,000 a competitive bid is required. See the Competitive Bidding / RFP page for more information on this process.