Questions, Answers and FAQs


Q.  Who is the correct contact person for items I'm trying to purchase?
A.   In the past, buyers were assigned specific commodities. Now, any of our Buyers will be happy to assist you.  Please feel free to email or call the main number 508.289.2371 and a buyer will respond.

Q. When do I need to fill out a Single/Sole Source Justification?
A. Whenever a contractor or independent contractor is used and, In accordance with Institution policy, which has been mandated by Federal Auditors, any Contract for services valued at $10,000 or more which has not been competitively bid (with the lowest bid selected) must be accompanied by the "Justification for Single or Urgent Purchases" form detailing the following:

  1. The need.
  2. How the vendor was selected.
  3. A list of other vendors considered.
  4. Why the specified vendor was selected over the other vendors.
  5. What has been done by way of cost comparison (competitive bids) to determine that the price being charged is "fair and reasonable" to the funding agency. If the vendor is sole source, there must be sufficient documentation to justify the selection of this vendor.

Original copies of any written quotes from other vendors should also accompany the Contract for Services and the requisition form.

If the vendor qualifies as "sole source", or "sole acceptable source", (i.e., the vendor is unique, and, to the best of requisitioners knowledge, no other vendor in the world performs the service, or has the level of skill required to perform the service), then the justification must detail the need and what there is about the vendors service and/or skill that makes it unique from any other vendors.

Award of a contract by the funding agency does not mean that the specified sources nor their services have been approved. It is up to the Institution to prove that the price is "fair and reasonable" in each and every individual instance.

Please utilize the "Justification for Single and Urgent Purchases" form for this data. Additional sheets may be added if necessary.

Q. What is the definition of an Independent Contractor?
While the IRS has specific definitions “defined as a person engaged in an independently established business - a person engaged in an occupation that contracts to work according to their own methods, without being subject to control of the employer except for results”. The basic concept and process of an independent contractor relationship is one where the “contractor” has an independent occupation and is only responsible for the finished product.

We will utilize the Independent Contractor model whenever we seek to engage a vendor who needs to provide a Statement of Work or, is acting in a similar manor to an Independent Contractor as defined by the IRS. 

When in doubt contact procurement, we can help.

Q. What do I need to do to utilize Independent Contractors?
Please refer to the Independent Contractor forms page

» Go to Travel

Q. How do apply for a credit card?
A. Purchasing Card Forms
» Purchasing Card Application Form
» Purchasing Card Account Allocation Form

Travel/Corporate Card Forms
» Travel/Corporate Card Application Form
» Travel/Corporate Card Dispute Form

Q .What is the difference between a Corporate Card and a Purchasing card?
A. The Corporate Card is the best way for travelers to pay for travel related expenses.

Purchasing Card: The purpose of this program is to eliminate most of the paperwork associated with purchases of and payment for goods and services costing less than $2,500. You will be able to make these purchases by using the WHOI Purchasing MasterCard/on-line purchasing card system instead of a purchase order or request for payment.

The Institution has designated a Card Program Manager to assist individuals with any questions or problems they may have relating to the use of the card. The Card Program Manager is Colleen Tuson, contact her at or (508) 289-3267 or at  MS#1.

Q. Can I get online access to see my Credit Card Statements?
A. Yes. Email Colleen Tuson requesting online access.

Q. How can I find out what item is outstanding on my Visa?
A. You can utilize online access or by contacting Accounts Payable, x3267

Q. How do I get Visa paid while traveling for 30 days or more?
A. Submit an Extended Travel form located on the Procurement website
» Extended Travel Request Form

Q. How do I reconcile my Visa charges that were paid while I was on Extended Travel?
A. By simply writing “EXTENDED TRAVEL” in the special handling section of your Travel Expense Voucher and Accounts Payable will determine what should be paid back or what is owed to individual.

Q. When do we need a tracking #?
A. For any non-WHOI employee making air travel and/or car rental arrangements through Preferred Travel.

Q. When do we need to submit a TA?
A. Any time travel related expenses are pre-paid.

Q. Where should I be sending my paperwork submissions?
A. White copy of Travel Authorizations, Travel Expense Vouchers, Request for Payments payable to individuals/vendors under $10K should be submitted to Accounts Payable, MS#1.

Q. What if I have lost my receipt?

A. Please contact the vendor directly and request a receipt by fax, mail or email. Note: Form of payment is always required on a receipt.

Q. If I am the PI, why does my travel require Department Approval?

A. The Department monitors the projects and expense codes for availability and appropriate allocation of funds.

Last updated: August 12, 2016