How to purchase goods and services

Purchasing Card Approved Use

A purchasing card is encouraged to be used for small dollar and one-time material purchases less than $1000. Examples of allowable transactions include:
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Books
  • Goods not available from preferred suppliers (i.e. one-time purchases)
  • Conference registrations
  • Travel expenses - airfare, accommodations, meals, vehicle rentals, etc. (All travel and car rentals must be on a UNBC purchasing card to benefit from the purchasing card insurance)
  • UNBC vehicle mechanical repairs (at an ICBC accredited repair shop/garage)
Refer to the full guidelines for further information

How to get a purchasing card

Complete a Web Access Form from the Finance Forms page, and submit to Then complete a Purchasing Card Application Form from the CSCM Forms Page, and submit to For changes to the card limits and/or coding, please use the Purchasing Card Maintenance Form.


Web requisition topics

Purchase order topics

Web requisitions

How to get access to FAST Web Req

Complete a Web Access form found on the Finance Forms page, and then submit to A supervisor or one-up must then email to request web req access. Please include the employee ID number of whoever is needing access.

Purpose of the web requisition form

Web requisitions give authorization to the PCRM Department to commit funds and establish a contract or purchase order with vendors for the acquisition of goods and services.

Key considerations when required

Except where otherwise noted, a web requisition is required for all purchases covered by the University's purchasing policy including:

  • Research and start-up/seed fund purchases.
  • Foreign or domestic purchases (other than orders authorized purchased through MasterCard).
  • Service contracts.
  • Requisitions for blanket order to be established (invoices are then to be signed by the budget holder and forwarded to Accounts Payable).

Emergency purchase requisitions

An emergency is classified as a procurement, which is needed to protect life and or property, prevent substantial economic loss, and or prevent the interruption of essential services on campus. For these types of requisitions, the requisitioner should provide the buyer with a brief note outlining the nature of the emergency. All necessary approvals must be on the web requisition. Please refrain from "RUSH", "URGENT", and "A.S.A.P." Please state the latest acceptable delivery time/date.


All prices received from a vendor are confidential and must not be disclosed to competitors or third parties. Do not auction the purchase by disclosing prices.

Web requisitions for year-end purchases

For year-end purchases, Contracts and Supply Chain Management must receive web requisitions no later than the first Friday in February by 4:30 p.m. in order for the funds to be charged against your current year's budget. The goods ordered on the year-end requisitions must be deliverable within the lead times above. For services such as air travel, the person must be travelling by the end of March to qualify for the current year's budget. Year-end purchases are not exempt from University purchasing policies. For requisitions that will require a greater lead time for tendering and delivery, please submit prior to the year-end deadline.

Web requisitions returned to requisitioner

An incomplete web requisition is returned to the requisitioner indicating the reason and the subsequent action required.

Web requisition processing

Each web requisition sent to Contracts and Supply Chain Management is forwarded to a person within the PCRM department. PCRM then processes the information following appropriate policies and procedures to produce a purchase order. Do not give the requisition number to any vendor. The Banner system will generate a purchase order number to correspond with the requisition. The end-user can track the requisition in FAST.

Purchase orders

Purpose of the purchase order process

To provide a purchaser's written documentation to a vendor formally stating all terms and conditions of a proposed transaction.

Categories of purchase order

The following is a listing of the various purchase order categories presently in use at UNBC. The practice of categorizing purchase orders into the format described here is primarily for administrative purposes.

  • P or VN - Regular purchase order for goods or services.
  • VB - Blanket order established to cover a wide variety of low-value supply items. To be purchased over a specific time period in varying amounts on an as and when required basis.
  • VM - Maintenance purchase order.
  • K - Purchase order set up as a payment tool in Banner for service and research contracts.

Legal implications

In the usual transaction, the seller agrees to sell and deliver, while the purchaser agrees to purchase certain goods or services with certain terms and conditions. When the purchase order is issued by an authorized agent of the University (an authorized buyer for UNBC) in acceptance of a specific bid or offer from a vendor, or a service or research contract is signed, it becomes a contract and is legally binding on both parties.

Signing authority

Agreements and contracts for items such as equipment purchases, leases, rentals and/or software licenses can only be signed by an authorized agent for the University. This usually means the signature of a Purchasing Agent or Contract Administrator is required. End users should be aware that their signature on these documents could result in making them personally liable to uphold them.

Professional development funds

Purchasing policies do not apply to professional development fund expenditures. As per the faculty and exempt group handbooks, these funds are intended to be expensed by the individual and then requested for reimbursement from Finance. If requisitions for professional development purchases are received on web requisitions, the web requisition must be approved by the person whose name the fund is in and by the Chair or one up supervisor. Please note, items purchased from professional development funds are the property of UNBC and where applicable will be assessed, tracked and possibly returned upon termination of employment.

Entertainment, hosting and serving alcohol

Requisitions must be submitted well enough in advance for services (i.e. rentals, catering). Web requisitions need to include the date, the reason for the event, the number of people who will be attending and who they are; not necessarily the name, but by indicating the ratio of students, staff and guests. See the finance entertainment document for more information on what is allowed.

Please note: A copy of the homeowners liability coverage or event insurance is required for hosting occurring at private residences.


Contracts and Supply Chain Management has delegated this responsibility to the Distribution Service Coordinator. It is considered for the majority of situations, to be more efficient if one person contacts the vendor directly to obtain delivery information.


As UNBC has a central receiving area, the majority of orders are delivered to the dock located outside of Central Stores. All goods ordered on purchase orders must be processed through central Shipping and Receiving in order that the information is entered into Banner. Without the receiving completed Accounts Payable will not be able to pay for the goods or services. Assets will be labelled with an asset number. Relocation of assets from where they are on record of being housed must be documented on an asset move form filed with Distribution Services.

Damaged goods

The determination as to which party is responsible to initiate a damaged goods claim will depend on the free on board (FOB) point. Upon receiving damaged goods the shipper/receiver will record all pertinent information and enter this into the Banner system. Contracts and Supply Chain Management will be contacted in order to expedite the replacement of the damaged goods. The goods are then either shipped back to the vendor for credit or replacement.

Demos and loaners

In advance of an item being shipped, please submit a web requisition to Contracts and Supply Chain Management accompanied by a materials transfer agreement. The Risk Safety Assistant will review and assess the need for additional insurance or add to UNBC's coverage. Items will not be released from Distribution Services until such time as all required information has been provided.

Replacement items

A web requisition is to be completed and submitted for any replacement items (usually related to a broken part, tool or equipment). Please note if anything is being returned to the vendor and if there are going to be any expenses incurred by the University as a result of the replacement.

Back orders

Unless otherwise instructed, buyers will usually instruct vendors to ship orders complete. Therefore please place instructions clearly on the purchase requisition.

Freight terminology

FOB vendor freight prepaid and charged

The buyer (UNBC) pays the freight charges although the amount has been prepaid by the vendor and then added to the final invoice. The University owns the goods in transit and will therefore be responsible to file any claims for damage, loss, etc.

FOB destination freight prepaid and charged

Same as above, except the vendor owns the goods in transit and is responsible for filing any claims for damage, loss, etc.


Standard payment terms for the University are net 30 days from receipt of goods or invoice, whichever is the latter.

Invoice variance

A variance between the purchase order and the invoice may require a purchase order change order.