Using University Contracts

by Lorelei Meeker

We are all acutely aware of the financial stress on the University. Each of us plays a role in stretching the University's reduced funds as far as possible so that the core mission of Indiana University is protected.

Historically, we have attempted to provide contracts for goods or services through B2B or through EPIC and hoped that the faculty and staff would be attracted to the agreements because of pricing, service, warranty and ease of use. An additional departmental benefit to using the University contracts was that fiscal officers were able to monitor budgetary commitments and the university is protected by contract language.

Unfortunately, faculty and staff have grown accustomed to the ease of p-card transactions or the use of personal credit cards and then seeking reimbursements. Using these methods of purchasing can weaken our position in contracting when employees do not purchase on our contracts...it effectively reduces our volume on the contracted goods or services.

Hence, we are instituting a policy that will be in effect from February 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 that will require the use of existing University contracts for the procurement of goods and services. We will monitor APOs, P-Cards and DVs for compliance. Exceptions may be made if necessary, appropriate and approved in advance by Purchasing.

We recognize that some contracts permit the use of P-Cards and we will take those transactions out of our audit considerations. We also recognize that there are some very legitimate emergencies that require off-contract purchases. Finally, this policy is not intended to address standard purchase orders issued by Purchasing nor transactions with University auxiliary or business units.

Please be sure that your faculty and staff -particularly those with p-cards-are aware of this new policy. It is our sincere hope that you will let us know if there are problems with any of the contracts or whether your efficiency would be improved by the creation of a contract. We are very cognizant that you need agreements that meet your needs, please keep us in the loop. We are in this together.

Additional Information
  • Policy 20 will go into effect on February 1, 2010.
  • Purchasing staff is diligently working on our contract pages to ensure that the contract information is current and correct.
  • Purchasing staff is also working to ensure that instructions on how to use contracts that are NOT B2B contracts are as easy to find and use as the punch-out catalogs.
  • If we have a University Contract, faculty and staff should not use Procurement-Cards or Automatic Purchase Orders (APOs) to procure goods with off-contract suppliers.
  • Faculty and staff should not use personal credit cards and seek reimbursement for purchasing goods or services when those goods or services are available through a University contract.
  • Faculty and staff should make purchasing staff aware when University contract pricing or services need improvement.
Transactions NOT affected by this policy
  • Transactions that use a journal voucher or other internal transfer of funds such as for Printing, Motor Pool (for IUB), etc.
  • Emergency purchases (documentation is required) under the current p-card/APO limits.
  • Transactions that appropriately use a Disbursement voucher, such as subscriptions, conference registrations, etc.

Office of Procurement Services

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