Purchasing at the Colleges is done on a decentralized basis; initiated by different departments/offices throughout the campus. These guidelines have been developed to outline and explain the procedures at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Purchase Orders | Purchase Computers | Purchase A/V Equip.
Purchase Office Supplies | Purchase Printing | Purchase Letterhead/Env
Blanket P.O. | P.O. Confirmation | Prepaid P.O.
Purchasing Cycle | Exceptions | Fiscal Year End Process
A purchase order is required prior to the purchase of any goods/services by the Colleges. All purchase orders must be approved by the Business Office. Depending on the dollar value of the purchase, the following is required.
Purchases of $500 or less must use the form which indicated “Not Valid Over $500” and fill in the following information on the form:
Purchase order for purchases of more than $500 must use the blue requisition form. The department or office ordering the goods completes the following information on the form:
To purchase computers/computer equipment and printers, the purchase order or requisition is completed as described above, depending on the dollar value. Additionally, the signature of Beverly Ilacqua, Director of Procurements and Support Services Information Technology, must be on all purchase orders prior to processing by the Business Office so that descriptive information and pricing may be verified.
To purchase audio-visual equipment, the purchase order or requisition is completed as described above, depending on the dollar value. Stan Weaver, Director of Audio Visual/Media Services, should be contacted prior to purchases for his input on pricing, compatibility of equipment, etc.
The Colleges have negotiated the purchase of office supplies from the following vendors: Konen Office Products and Seneca Office. To order, each department completes the specific vendor order form with the following information:
All order forms must be filled in completely, including total dollar value of items ordered. Completed order forms are sent to the Business Office for review. If the order exceeds $50, it must have the Business Office signed approval. Order forms are then placed in vendors’ folders that are picked up form the Business Office on a weekly basis.
To have brochures, invitations, posters, programs, and other institutional items printed, contact the Office of Communications. All publications should be processed through the office of Communications to ensure they adhere to the Colleges style and messaging. Please complete a Publications Request Form which can be found online or can be obtained by calling the Communications Office at ext. 3695. Supporting materials (samples, text files, photos, etc.) should be provided at the time of the request. A purchase order for outside printing services will be generated by the Office of Communications and forwarded to the department generating the purchase order for account number and signature. You should forward the completed P.O. to the Business Office. Business cards and letterhead orders have separate ordering forms which can also be found online which allow you to order these items directly from the printer.
The Colleges have negotiated fixed prices with Eagle Envelope for letterhead and stationery print jobs. When ordering letterhead envelopes or stationery you would fill out the order form for Eagle Envelope (which is obtained from the Communications Office) and also a Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ purchase order form with the stamped number. The order forms are then faxed to Eagle Envelope Company.
Blanket purchase orders are used when a department or an office needs to purchase expendable items, services, rentals, or maintenance where the unit price has been established for a period of time, or where exact requirements are unknown at the time of order but the items are needed with the minimum of delay.
The following information is required on the purchase order: The vendor name, an approximate dollar amount to cover the cost of miscellaneous supplies for (period of time such as fiscal year) and not to exceed (dollar amount). The following persons are authorized to make releases against this blanket order (list names).
Confirming purchase orders are to be used in emergency situations where delay caused by normal processing would create problems. The purchase requisition is completed as indicated above, however, it must be marked CONFIRMING ORDER DO NOT DUPLICATE. The Business Office will release a purchase order number upon receipt of the requisition which may be called or faxed to the vendor by the department initiating the order. The official purchase order will then be mailed by the Business Office to the vendor.
Prepaid purchase orders are to be generated if the vendor requires sending an accounts payable check with a purchase order. If it is less than $500 the “other box” in the terms section of the purchase order/requisition form should be checked. On either purchase order form, PREPAID should be written in red ink in the terms section of the form.
A Hobart and William Smith Colleges purchase order is a legal contract on the part of both the Colleges and the vendor. It is NOT VALID without a purchase order number, issued by the Business Office, and the Controller’s approval.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges will not assume any obligation or liability for goods or services ordered without a purchase order number and the Colleges’ approval.
The library, bookstore and Sodexho facilities have their own purchasing procedures and systems, all other departments are required to follow the guidelines identified above:
Warren Hunting Smith Library – the library utilizes a multi-list online purchasing system. It generates purchase orders for the acquisition of library materials only.
College Store – the store generates purchase order for general books, textbooks and non-book merchandise specifically for the College Store.
Sodexho – purchases of goods, services, and materials for the maintenance of buildings and grounds are initiated by a purchase order issued from the Sodexho office.
The timing of expenditures nearing the end of each fiscal year is critically important for the Colleges. Appropriate business and accounting practices required that the receipt of a good or the performance of a service must take place on or before the last day of a fiscal period in order to be charged to the budget of that fiscal year. For example, a computer ordered on May 20 from the vendor that is received on campus June 2 would be charged to the budget of the next fiscal year. The computer would have had to be received on campus on or before May 31 in order to be charged to the current fiscal year budget. The same concept applies with the purchase of a service, for example hiring a consultant. The service performed by the consultant must actually be performed prior to May 31 to be charged to the current fiscal year budget. Faculty and staff should be aware of this policy as they consider such purchases near the end of the fiscal year. This may require advance planning for certain purchases that require a great deal of time in transit, production or for various other reasons.
Another related process that must be considered at the end of each fiscal year is the approval and submission of invoices. All invoices should be approved and forwarded to the Business Office for processing no later than the first or second week of June. (Note: each year a specific date will be determined as a due date based on the year end processing calendar established by the Business Office.) This will facilitate the appropriate recording of those invoices in the correct fiscal year.
Each year the Business Office will issue reminders of the purchasing process and invoice submission due dates. E-mail to FacAdm and Staff as well as postings to the Daily Update will be done in late April or early May. Questions may be directed to the Business Office.