Receipt & Payment


The receipt and payment of materials and services is as important as ordering itself. This section discusses what is undertaken to ensure that the items and services WHOI ordered are the items and services we received and paid.

Unlike other organizations you may be familiar with, WHOI does not separate the ordering and payment processing. The Procurement Office is responsible for the traditional functions performed at other institutions by Purchasing and Accounts Payable. This gives our Procurement Team member a unique view of the entire transaction, creating an environment where the person responsible for processing the payment also has intimate knowledge of what was ordered.

Central Receipt

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution maintains a central receiving operation. Managed by the Facilities Department, the Receiving Team is responsible for acknowledging receipt of all incoming shipping traffic and the redistribution of items throughout the two WHOI campuses.

Members of the Receiving Team will verify the quantity of items received against the quantity ordered on a Purchase Order using the Bi-Tech receiving module. They will visually inspect for damages and refuse items that appear to have extensive damage.

As the Receiving Team does not possess intimate knowledge of the items ordered nor the capability to test them, they are not able to ascertain if an item is indeed usable as intended by the Requisitioner. Final inspection of materials against specification is the responsibility of the requisitioner; therefore, it is imperative to inspect your shipment and verify its quality upon receipt. Delaying this inspection may hamper the effort to return materials that do not provide the quality required.

When an item does not meet your specification or is damaged, contact your Procurement team member immediately. He/she will assist you in returning the item and negotiating a remedy with the supplier. The Procurement team member can obtain an RMA number for a returning order, but the return is not processed through Procurement. You need to repack your order and enter the shipping request.

Direct Receipt

From time to time, it may be necessary to have shipments directed to a location other than central Receiving. In these cases, the Requisitioner is responsible for acknowledging receipt of items or services greater than $2,500. This approval may be emailed to Procurement Representative noted on the Purchase Order acknowledgment. Please note name of the individual who actually received the order and the date received.

Packing Slips

Whether a shipment is received though Central Receiving or is shipped directly to you, a packing slip is usually provided by the supplier. This document commonly shows a shipping number, the Purchase Order number, the quantity ordered, the quantity shipped and, when applicable, the quantity back ordered. It is your record of what was sent to you by the supplier and is used to track the shipment throughout the system. Please retain this form for your reference.

Invoices & Discounts

While the Institution prefers invoices to be sent from the supplier to the Procurement Office, sometimes invoices may inadvertently be directed to you. When this occurs, please forward the invoice to the Procurement Office immediately. Many of our suppliers will offer discounts that apply only when invoices are paid within a period determined by the supplier. Forwarding all invoices to the Procurement Office will ensure that the Institution can take advantage of these discounts whenever possible, thereby reducing costs incurred to your projects and/or cost centers.

Authorization for Payment

Whether receiving occurs centrally, at a remote site, or directly by the Requisitioner, all supplier invoices are matched against the items or services ordered on the Purchase Order as well as the items or services received. At WHOI, a three-way match is accomplished electronically through the Bi-Tech system. The system will verify that the item or service received matches the quantities and prices of the items or services ordered, and that the invoiced amount matches both. Also, the system automatically creates back order information, releases encumbrances, creates appropriate entries in the General Ledger, and closes fully paid orders when all items/services have been received and paid.

Materials Less Than $2,500
Orders for materials less than $2,500 do not require acknowledgement of receipt by the Requisitioner prior to payment. If you wish to approve orders that fall within this category, please indicate so within the "notes" section of the purchase requisition.

Central Receiving, $2,500 to $5,000
For orders which have been marked “received” by the Receiving Department, authorization to pay and receipt confirmation requests are not required prior to payment.

Central Receiving, $5,000 to $10,000
For orders which have marked received in BiTech by Receiving, authorization to pay will be required via e-mail or receipt form.

Service Invoices Less Than $10,000
All service invoices require authorization to pay from the end user or his/her surrogate via e-mail or receipt form.

All Items Greater Than $10,000
All invoices reflecting totals exceeding $10,000 require written acknowledgement of receipt and payment authorization from the Requisitioner. To facilitate this process, the Procurement Department will issue a pink Request for Approval Form (RFA). This form serves as verification of receipt or approval for payment of services rendered. When merchandise is received off site, please note the name of the person who actually received the items, and date of receipt on RFA.

Wire Transfers

A wire transfer is performed when:

  1. Invoices are in foreign currency
  2. Invoice terms state please wire funds
Please provide the following information for on a Request for Wire Transfer form: 

*Name/owner of bank account
*Bank account number
*Beneficiary bank name
*Routing/ABA number

International/foreign wires require a SWIFT code and/or US correspondent bank information if available. (Please do not convert foreign currency into U.S. dollars as this process is handled by Cash Management at the time of the wire transaction) 

Please send this information to Accounts Payable, MS #1.  A Wire Transfer Form will be processed and forwarded to the Cash Management Office. Domestic wires are generally completed within 24 hours upon receipt and foreign wire transfers may take from one to five business days.

Invoice Tolerances

When processing invoices, the Procurement Team works within institutionally defined parameters to determine what is a reasonable variance between invoice total and Purchase Order totals. These tolerances allow Procurement to process payment of invoices that exceed the value of the Purchase Order.

If the value on an invoice for a Purchase Order of $100 or more exceeds 5% or $300 of the Purchase Order total, whichever is least, the invoice cannot be processed until a Purchase Order change is issued by the requester. As an example, if a Purchase Order is written for a total of $1,000 but the cumulative total of the invoices for the Purchase Order is $1,051 or, if the value of the order was $6,000 but the invoice total was $6,300, a Purchase Order change would be required.

Receipt and Payments Processing for SOS and Procurement Card Programs

Both the SOS and Procurement card programs have unique requirements regarding how receipt and payments are processed. Please refer to the specific procedures for these processes.

Last updated: May 11, 2015