Basic Principles for the Account Administrator at the Department

  1. Treat all purchases as if it was your own money — compare sources, prices, time of delivery, references from other users at the University.
  2. Use the University contracts — the best supplier selection process, total cost analysis, benefits and value considerations are already done for you.
  3. Issue orders through BuySite.
  4. Do not buy on your own expecting to be reimbursed by the University, especially if the items or services are not an allowable expense under DPV purchasing. Read and understand the procedures listed on the Buying and Paying AdmiNet page.
  5. For purchases over $25,000 or any purchase involving a written agreement from the supplier, use the Record of Purchase grid provided on back of the Purchase Request to document your search for items or services; record the suppliers you contacted. Your efforts in locating suppliers is known as market research and although it may not result in the exact selection or pricing of your findings, your efforts will be considered carefully by Procurement and Payment Services buying staff in the final determination of the supplier selected. Do not request from a supplier anything at or above this dollar level unless a Purchase Order is issued.
  6. University buying staff and other delegated personnel under written approvals are authorized to and shall perform the solicitations of pricing and agreement information from suppliers on behalf of the University. Any pricing or other contractual information solicited by an individual other than the above referred to personnel is considered a market research inquiry, or a Request For Information (RFI) from suppliers. No employee of the University not so authorized is to solicit pricing as a Request For Quotation (RFQ), Invitation For Bid (IFB), Bid or Request For Proposal (RFP).
  7. When a Request For Proposal (RFP) is appropriate because you wish the suppliers to propose various solutions and pricing alternatives for your purchase, please draft as much of the details, specifications and requirements as possible in conjunction with the initiator of the request. Preparation is better than re-doing, misunderstandings or delays in order issuance. Submit draft with a Purchase Request to Procurement and Payment Services.
  8. Don't sign any contract. The standard terms and conditions of all University purchase orders and contracts are designed to remove the need for any faculty, staff or employee to sign a contract. Further, the University Financial Policy 1201, its amendments and related procedures have established that faculty and staff are not authorized business contract signature agents of the University. Submit all contracts to Procurement and Payment Services for review on a Purchase Request Form 100.
  9. The University of Chicago does not under standard circumstances agree to indemnify any company or independent contractor in the course of their performing work or providing materials. When contract circumstances require that consideration for business purposes, Procurement and Payment Services will evaluate the need under the request and may submit it for review to the University Legal Office.
  10. University Policy 1201 clearly states that no employee is authorized to bind the University in business transactions. Business is conducted through contracts and purchase orders by following procedures established by the Director of Procurement and Payment Services, and the VP for Finance of the University. An employee may be reimbursed up to $500 for independent action taken under Policy 1201, but there is no provision or allowance for an employee to contract, purchase, or commit the University unless that action is allowed. For more information, see the User Guide for Purchasing Goods and Services.
  11. University Policy 1205 directs the University to use minority and woman owned enterprises that are available in the course of conducting business. More information and sources are available by contacting Procurement and Payment Services.
  12. Invoices for purchase orders issued up to $5,000 are paid within vendor terms upon receipt. Invoices greater than $5,000 is paid based upon vendor contract terms after notice of payment is given to the requesting department of the billing for the goods or services. You must notify Procurement and Payment Services to enact a stop payment action if there is a serious problem with the ordered goods already received or of services being performed. Failure to call or send notice will result in standard payments being processed with the assumption of satisfaction with the order, or services. INFORMATION ABOUT PAID INVOICES AND COPIES OF INVOICES CAN BE OBTAINED VIA THE DOCUMENT REQUEST WEBSITE.
  13. Under University Financial Policy 1203, while an Account Administrator's signature of approval (written or electronic approval) provides the departmental approval on a purchase request or departmental purchase order and authorizes a commitment of funds, it does not approve the requested purchase if procedures for procurement under University Financial Policy 1201 were not followed. To follow the procedures related to Policy 1201, the initiator requests must be guided by the advice given and actions taken by the Account Administrator, who is the University's responsible representative of business conduct within the department. Whenever a question arises of how to proceed with a procurement, if in doubt, please contact Procurement and Payment Services.