Purchasing, Payment Requests, Non-travel Reimbursements and Other

Things to keep in mind

  • The first attempt to acquire goods and/or services should be via purchase request
  • Payment requests are limited to $2,499 and under. UGA requires that anything over this amount be processed as a purchase request.
  • Non-travel reimbursements are limited to $500 or less in Ecology. However, we will consider reimbursement up to $2,499 on a case-by-case basis. Anything over $500 will require prior written approval from Ecology’s CBO. You may work with your Sr. Accountant to obtain this approval.
  • Reimbursements should be submitted within 30 days of incurring expense to avoid any tax implications.
  • All acquisitions using state dollars remain property of UGA.
  • All acquisitions using federal or other restricted dollars remain property of the appropriate agency or UGA. Terms and conditions associated with the project will determine this.
  • All agreements that require a signature will require University level review before
    returning the agreement to the vendor. Do not sign on behalf of UGA. Only individuals from SPA, Procurement or UGA Legal Affairs are eligible to sign on behalf of UGA. Please work with your Sr. Accountant on this.
  • Please consult with your Sr. Accountant if you have questions or concerns under any circumstance.
  • UGA’s Tax Exemption Number: 58-6001998

University of Georgia policies

You can review all University of Georgia policies including but not limited to Administrative Services, Auxiliary Services, Campus Safety, and Security, Facilities, Finance, Human Resources, Purchasing, and Travel here.

Unauthorized Purchases

A purchase that is contrary to the rules and regulations established by the State Purchasing Division or Board of Regents shall be void and of no effect. Any official of a state entity or institution who willfully purchases or causes to be purchased any materials, supplies, or equipment contrary to the rules and regulations will be personally liable for the cost thereof. If paid for from state funds, the amount may be recovered in the name of the state. (O.C.G.A. Section 50-5-79). Additionally, it is unlawful for UGA to make purchases for the personal use of its employees (Acts of 1939 40-1936 and HB1113).

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Statewide Contracts

An index of statewide contracts is available on Team Georgia Marketplace.

  • Use “tgmguest” as both the user name and password.

Use the search functionality to search for the category of products, etc. Search results will show if the contract is mandatory or convenient. The Procurement Office may pursue a waiver from State Purchasing on your behalf. Please reach out to procure@uga.edu if you wish to pursue a waiver making sure to copy your Sr. Accountant.

The Ecology Business Office follows all State Accounting Office, State Department of Administrative Services, State Purchasing Division, Board of Regents, and University guidelines on when a purchase order is expected in the procurement of goods and services. If goods or services are on a mandatory statewide contract, the purchase must be from a supplier on the statewide contract and for goods/services offered under the contract. Convenience purchasing contracts offer a bit more flexibility.

Funds used must allow for the procurement/payment of goods and/or services acquired. If you have any questions about your fund type please reach out to your Sr. Accountant.

Note: All sponsored projects must have the anticipated expense identified in the approved budget.

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Purchasing for Construction/Public Works

Competitive Specification Development

Any purchase of $25,000 or more requires competitive bidding or justification for the lack of competition.

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Conflict of Interest

Employees are forbidden by law from acting for themselves, on behalf of any third party, or on behalf of any business in which the employee or a spouse or dependent of the employee has a substantial interest. It is also unlawful for a business in which an employee or spouse or dependent of the employee has a substantial interest to transact business with the University. Substantial interest is defined as direct or indirect ownership of more than 25% of the stock or assets of the business.

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Consulting Services

A person or company who gives specialized or expert advice.

Ecology highly recommends processing consulting services as a purchase order so as to “protect” the funds via encumbrance.

Consulting agreements should only be entered into once it has been determined that the consultant should not be considered an employee of the University. Consulting services may be requested by submitting a purchase request.

  • Departments should complete the Independent Contractor Determination Checklist prior to entering into a consulting agreement with a consultant.
  • Once deemed a consultant is the best course of action a consulting agreement should be filled out. Departments should be aware that if the consultant is paid for the advice rendered, the consultant will not be permitted to bid on any work resulting directly from the consulting services. Advice rendered without payment does not prohibit the consultant from participating in resulting bid opportunities.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the daily rate paid is reasonable and, if funded by a sponsoring Federal agency – either directly or as flow-through from another sponsor – that it does not exceed the maximum approved rate of that Federal agency.
  • If the agreement is more than $10,000 three quotes or an explanation as to why pricing from three sources was not possible is a required attachment, along with the completed consulting agreement. Further tasks are required if $25,000 or more.

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Contract Renewal/Administration/Multiyear Contracts

Please seek advice from your Sr. Accountant before entering into any commitment.

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Effective November 30, 2020 chemicals must be purchased via UGAmart. You can submit your request using this form.

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Employee Reimbursements (non-travel)

It is advisable that you obtain approval from the account holder before incurring expenses for reimbursement.

  • Employee reimbursement should not be used for purchases when a purchase order, payment request, or pcard can be used.
  • Purchases become the property of the University of Georgia once an employee is reimbursed.
  • Ecology’s personal reimbursement limits are $199.99/item not to exceed a total of $599.97 for a single reimbursement transaction.
  • Reimbursements should be submitted within 30 days of incurring an expense.
  • Original, itemized, paid receipts are required for reimbursement.
  • Ecology has created forms to help you with processing a non-travel reimbursement request.
  • Chemicals – ALL chemicals must be purchased through UGAmart. Chemicals are not considered a reimbursable expense.

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Encumbering Funds/Liabilities Against a Purchase Order

Funds obligated for purchase will remain encumbered in the accounting system until a payment is processed for the purchase or until Procurement reduces the encumbrance. At the fiscal year-end (June 30th) encumbrances on state-funded accounts are converted to liability in the accounting system.

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Execution of Contracts

The authority to sign contracts for the purchase or lease of goods and services for the operations of an institution has been delegated to the University Procurement Office. Ecology personnel should not enter into any contract, verbal or otherwise, without consulting directly with Procurement and following proper guidelines.

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​Food and Business Related Entertainment

There are very few funds that will allow for entertainment expenses. Entertainment budgets that require Ecology fund support must be pre-approved by the Dean.

  • Ex: A common example in Ecology is entertainment vs. group meals. Please reach out to your Sr. Accountant for clarification because documentation for each request is different.

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Invitation to Bid (Construction/Public Works)

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Memberships and Dues

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Methods of Purchasing Against a Purchase Request

The end-user or Procurement may make informal pricing requests for purchases less than the competitive bid threshold ($25,000 for State Purchasing Division and $50,000 for Board of Regents). Procurement professionals will identify the best solicitation method for each purchase request.

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Orders for Supplies, Materials (< $25K)

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Payment Requests (limited to $2,499)

This mechanism of payment should only be used when the purchase order mechanism for goods and services is not available. This means the first attempt for acquiring a good or service should be via purchase order.

Unallowable payment requests:

  • Hazardous materials
  • Trackable chemicals
    • All chemicals must be purchased via UGAmart.
  • Firearms
  • Vehicles

The Ecology Business Office will be happy to process payment requests on your behalf. An official company invoice is required, information supporting the business need/purpose of the purchase in the payment request, and the speed type. If you are not the account holder the Business Office will need an email indicating approval to use funds to support the payment. You may submit your paperwork to your Senior Accountant.

Payment of Fellowship and Training Grant Stipends

Payment of Invoices Issued Against Purchase Orders

Accounts Payable must have completed a two-way match or a three-way match of purchase documentation to process payments.

Payments to Accompany Order/Advanced Payments

Payments to Non-Employee for Services Rendered – Please consult with your Senior Accountant prior to setting up a payment.

Petty Cash Purchases – Ecology does not engage in the use of petty cash except, rarely, for field study or study away courses.

Professional Licenses and Certifications – Payment is allowed when the institution requires the license, certification, or training as a condition of employment. Requirements must be met.

Purchase Authority/Execution of Contracts

Purchase Order Corrections and Cancellations

Purchase orders are legally binding contracts between the University and the vendor. There may limitations on what changes can be made. Please consult with your Senior Accountant if you desire to make any updates to your purchase order.

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​Purchase Requests

The University of Georgia’s web-based purchasing system, UGAmart, is utilized to establish all purchase requests. This should be the first option for acquiring goods and/or services.

  • All UGA employees have shopper capabilities within UGAmart.
  • Shoppers must have written spending authority on file with the Ecology Business Office prior to using an account. Otherwise, your request will be delayed.
  • Visit Team Georgia Marketplace to verify if the item is on a mandatory state contract. Items on mandatory state contract require UGA end users to purchase from the approved vendors only (i.e., office chairs, furniture, metal filing cabinets, certain research supplies, etc.). Feel free to also check with your Sr. Accountant, if needed.
  • Ecology has created a user guide to help you with processing a purchase order.
  • Tax should not be included on purchase orders.
  • Purchase requests will not be processed on an account that does not have sufficient funds available.
  • Chemicals – ALL chemicals must be purchased via UGAmart.
  • Need a status update on your purchase order? Please email Ms. Wendy Paulsen.

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Purchasing Card (P-Card)

P-Cards are limited to unit use only in order to reduce liability. P-Cards should be the last option for making purchases and the cardholder reserves the right to determine the use of a P-Card. Ecology does not currently have a P-Card available for use.​

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Purchasing and Payment Mechanisms

The University of Georgia has four methods of making purchases:

  1. Purchase requests: This should be the first method used to acquire goods or services at UGA.
  2. Payment requests
  3. Purchasing cards (p-cards): Ecology does not currently have a P-Card available.
  4. Petty cash: Except for rare study away needs, Ecology does not retain a petty cash account.

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​Receiving and Inspecting Supplies and Equipment

End users are responsible for examining incoming deliveries to ensure the goods received match the request for goods ordered in relation to quantity and type and that the shipment is free of damage.

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Sole Brand Restrictive Specifications

Before deciding that only one specific brand of goods will meet the University’s critical business requirements, research must be conducted by the end-user to determine if other brands exist which can also satisfy procurement requirements in a timely manner.

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State Purchasing Authority for Supplies, Materials, and Services

This authority is vested in the Procurement Office and administered under the rules and regulations as set forth in the Georgia Procurement Manual.

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Subscriptions or subscription services

Subscriptions or subscription services (i.e., Paperpile, LinkedIn, Remember the Milk, Slack, Overleaf, Wix, Gather.Town) must be included as a pre-approved line item in your restricted budget if using project funds. Otherwise, a MOD will need to be processed to obtain UGA-SPA approval for payment or reimbursement. Further, UGA Procurement prohibits subscriptions unless the subscription is in the name of the University and approved by a separate memo from the Dean. See Procedures B.13 at the link above.

Timely Reimbursement of Business Expenses

It is recommended you submit requests for reimbursement within 30 days of incurring the expense to avoid tax penalties.

Two Way Match/Three-Way Match/Receiving Reports

The University of Georgia is mandated by the Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Georgia to pay invoices within 30 days. Please visit the link for more information, if needed.

​​Unclaimed Property

Unique Purchasing and Payment Processes for Specific Types of Expenses

Includes consulting services. Please see advice from your Senior Accountant before entering into any agreement.

Unrestricted Competitive Specifications

Unrestrictive competitive specifications allow for full and open competition between vendors as the specifications do not restrict the items being purchased to a specific brand or source, rather they identify the users’ minimum needs.

Vendor Creation and Maintenance for All Types of Purchasing/Payments

Please consult with your Senior Accountant regarding any new vendors.

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