Please read on to learn more about the purpose, benefits, and use of online purchase orders at the University of Puget Sound.
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What is a purchase order?
A purchase order is a document addressed by the university to a seller (provider of goods or services) that details the goods or services ordered and the terms and conditions of that order. Purchase order is often abbreviated as "PO".
How do I know when to use a purchase order?
In general, a purchase order should be used for purchases over $2,500, for all capital purchases (furniture, equipment, building construction, or building renovation) when the vendor requires one, when you want to reflect an encumbrance against your budget, or when special circumstances exist between the university and the vendor that you want documented.
What is an online purchase order?
An online purchase order is an automated, electronic form and process for creating and approving purchase orders. The form and process results in an electronic purchase order document (a PDF file) that can be printed, saved for future reference, and/or sent via e-mail to the seller/vendor. Puget Sound will use the Banner Finance system to create online purchase orders.
Why is Puget Sound now using online purchase orders?
- Online purchase orders are a budget management tool. The online purchase order allows a budget administrator to encumber the budget(s) that he/she manages. The "encumbrance" created by the online purchase order allows the budget administrator to track budget dollars that have been "reserved or committed", in addition to actual budget dollars spent. This can help a budget administrator ensure that he/she does not over spend the budget(s) for which he/she is responsible. Budget encumbrances can be viewed using the Budget Administration Web application (Budget Admin Web), a Web-based budget management tool used by budget administrators to manage university budgets.
- Using online purchase orders can result in more detailed information about purchases and payments being available on Budget Admin Web.
- Online purchase orders eliminate the duplication of effort that existed when departments completed and approved paper purchase order forms, submitted them to Facilities Services, and then Facilities Services staff entered the information contained on the paper forms into a central purchase order database.
How were university purchase orders previously generated?
Prior to July 1, 2002, the university used paper purchase order forms. The forms were completed by hand and signed (approved) by a person with the appropriate disbursement (budget administration) authority. Several versions of the university purchase order form were used, including mutli-part forms and forms created in Microsoft Word or Excel.
Who uses online purchase orders at Puget Sound?
Online purchase orders replaced the paper "campus" purchase order forms. Effective July 1, 2002, University of Puget Sound purchase orders, when used, are to be created and approved online using the Banner Finance system. Exceptions to this include: Facilities stock POs created in FAMIS; Bookstore inventory purchases through SEQUOIA; Library book purchases through SIMON; and Dining inventory purchases through CBord.
When did the campus begin using online purchase orders?
The campus began using online purchase orders, as described above, July 1, 2002.
How did Accounting & Budget Services roll out online purchase orders to the campus community?
- Since February 2002, Accounting & Budget Services has sent at least four e-mail messages to budget administrators and administrative staff about the implementation of online purchase orders.
- In April 2002, Accounting & Budget Services implemented the Banner Accounts Payable system, which works in tandem with the Banner Purchasing system, to manage purchasing and disbursements (e.g. payments to vendors).
- In June and July 2002, Accounting & Budget Services worked with the university Division Vice Presidents to create a process to verify and confirm disbursement authority, budget administration Web access, and purchase order creation and approval authority. This information was used to document and create electronic purchase order approval queues in the Banner Finance system. It also identified faculty and staff who might need online purchase order creation and approval training.
- In late June 2002, Accounting & Budget Services offered online purchase order creation and approval training to budget administrators and their administrative staff.
Who should I contact if I have questions or need information?
Please feel free to contact the Accounts Payable staff members with questions.