Procurement Services

Procurement Services provides integrated solutions to enhance the University's Procure-to-Pay experience. This includes establishing contracts, creating purchase orders and administering the credit card program, travel services and other specialized campus programs.

In the Spotlight 

Uniform Guidance

The University’s implementation of the Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards became effective July 1, 2018 in conjunction with updated federal government regulations.

The federal government has recently issued clarifying guidance regarding formal competition thresholds.  Based on these clarifications, the University is able to adopt a new $250,000 threshold for the requirement of Formal Competition (an increase from the current $150,000).  The new limits governing our procurement processes (and associated documentation requirements) are highlighted in the table below

Beginning on October 1, 2020 the following changes will be made to our procurement thresholds:

Previous New Procurement Method Documentation Requirements
$0 - $10k $0 - $10k Micro-Purchase Documentation of price
$10k-$150k $10k-$250k Informal Procurement Documentation of competition, price reasonability or sole source justification
>$150k >$250k Formal Procurement Competitive proposals (or sole source justification) – proactively engage Procurement Services

Launching Supplier Onboarding Tool 

The University of Chicago has selected the PaymentWorks cloud-based software tool to both automate and strengthen controls related to the supplier onboarding process.  Using the PaymentWorks system, suppliers will submit their business information by completing an onboarding profile.  Once the profile is created, suppliers are responsible for maintaining and updating their profile information via the PaymentWorks tool.  PaymentWorks verifies the TaxID and address(es) provided in the profile in addition to performing sanction list searches.  Suppliers must receive an email invitation from The University of Chicago in order to access the PaymentWorks system; there is no charge to suppliers to use the system.

As part of the launch of the tool existing University of Chicago suppliers will be sent an email invitation to register business information through the tool.  The email invitation will be sent from “The University of Chicago (via PaymentWorks)” with the subject line: “The University of Chicago  – New Vendor Registration.”  Inviting existing suppliers to register through the PaymentWorks tool will allow the University to validate their current business information against our existing supplier master file data and allow suppliers the ability to update their business information online going forward.

Onboarding of all new suppliers to the University of Chicago will be done through the PaymentWorks tool. 

If you should have any questions, please contact the Shared Services HelpDesk at 2-5800 for assistance.

Additional information about PaymentWorks can be found at:

GEMS Card Duplicate Transactions – August 12, 2020

On 8/17/20, J.P. Morgan experienced an issue with their third party vendor, resulting in duplicate transactions and credits for the GEMS card program for transactions processed August 12, 2020.

Cardholder Impact

All impacted cardholders should expect to see a total of 5 line items for each transaction posted on 8/12/20. These 4 additional line items will have the same post date with different transaction IDs.

  • Original transaction – missing addenda information
  • Offset transaction – removal of bad data
  • Corrected offset transaction – includes addenda data
  • Error file offset transaction file – duplicate correction file sent in error
  • Additional offset transaction – offset to error file sent

All charges and credits (5 total line items) will be pre-populated into cardholder GEMS accounts and must be reconciled on a GEMS report.  Please note that only one receipt (related to the original transaction) is required to be attached to the GEMS report.  Cardholders may reach out to Shared Services for assistance in preparing GEMS reports

We apologize for any inconvenince this issue may have caused and are working with JP Morgan Chase to resolve this situation and avoid future issues.

Coronavirus Updates

Procurement:  Please click here for a link to the most often asked questions and answers related to general procurement.   Click here for a link to the most often asked question and answers related to procurement of products for resumption of campus operations.

Travel:  Please click here for UChicago Covid-19 travel advisories and updates and click here for questions and answers related to travel and meetings.   

Changes to Financial Policy 1202

Effective March 1, the University is updating Travel Policy and Procedures (also called Financial Policy 1202) to ensure timely reconciliation of expenses and better compliance with IRS regulations. The updated policy clarifies restrictions related to grant accounts, streamlines University expense types, and provides clearer guidelines for faculty, other academic appointees, and staff regarding charging/reconciling their GEMS transactions. The policy also has been renamed Business Expense Management.  Read More...

New ServiceNow Form

A new ServiceNow form "PO Cancel/Modify" will be available beginning January 30th that will allow users to request BuySite purchase order (PO) modifications and cancellations. This form should be used in place of the "Ask a Purchasing/Payment Question" form. Please click here to view and or submit a request. The benefits of this form include automated routing to the FAS approver for increased PO values and the appropriate procurement team for action. This form also provides guidelines on what changes are allowed on a PO.

If you should have any questions, please contact the Shared Services HelpDesk at 2-5800 for assistance.

Notice to Suppliers: Fraudulent Purchase Order Email Activity

We want to alert you to an active email scam involving purchase orders and request for product quotations that purport to originate from The University of Chicago but are in fact fraudulent.  While The University cannot prevent this illegal actvitiy, we are actively working with law enforcement to investigate these fradulent email contacts.

We can share some common traits or themes of these fradulent emails that may help reduce risk to your company in becoming a financial victim of this scam:

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View the news archive for past announcements.