Purchase Orders

When to Use Purchase Orders

The Institution recommends that you use a Purchase Order when ordering items that cost over $5,000.  It is required to use a purchase order when ordering items that cost over $10,000.

To use a Purchase Order

To use a Purchase Order, complete a Purchase Requisition Form and forward it to the Procurement Department (MS#1). The Procurement Department generates the Purchase Order and sends it to the supplier, either electronically or via U.S. mail.

In extreme cases, you may need a Purchase Order number to call in an order. A confirming requisition must follow this request within 72 hours. Use this system for emergencies only.

Tracking Purchase Orders

To review or search for an existing or past Purchase Order, you can use the PO Query.  This is an online application that allows you to search for vendors, stockroom inventory, vouchers and existing purchase orders.
» View step by step guide for using PO Query (ppt)

Purchase Order Changes

A change to a Purchase Order allows an individual the ability to add items or services, change the accounting and increase or decrease prices. A Purchase Requisition Form must be processed to create a change to a Purchase Order. Please include the Purchase Order number in the text of any Purchase Order change you might request. All authorizations needed for a Purchase Order are also required on a Purchase Order Change. If the change increases the value of the Purchase Order beyond the authorization limits of the original approver, the change must be approved at the next approval level. Note only those items you wish to change when processing a Purchase Order Change. Any information not noted as needing change will be left as is.

Purchase Order Cancellations

From time to time, it may be necessary to cancel a Purchase Order. You may have determined the items or services were not needed or could be better provided from another source, the supplier may not be able to provide all the items you have requested or the final payment for the items or services were less than expected and you wish to eliminate an encumbrance.

To cancel a Purchase Order, please process a Purchase Requisition Form noting the reason you wish to cancel the Purchase Order and the Purchase Order number of the order you wish to eliminate (exception: when a Purchase Order has less than 5% of its value remaining, an E-Mail message to the Procurement Team requesting the closing of a Purchase Order may be used). Budgetary authorization must be secured on a request to cancel a Purchase Order.

Reasons for use of Purchase Orders

There are three reasons for use of Purchase Orders:

  • To control the acquisition of goods and services when price is a primary consideration.
  • To create an "encumbrance" in the general ledger of accounts helping you manage your budget.
  • By using a Purchase Order, everyone involved in the purchase cycle can track the order by referring to the same number.

Last updated: January 21, 2009