Frequently Asked Questions

The Purchasing Department is the official purchasing agent for Georgia State University. It is responsible for issuing orders for materials and services within State and Federal laws and in compliance with State and Board of Regents of The University System of Georgia purchasing regulations. As a service oriented organization, the Purchasing Department staff assists user departmental personnel in areas such as vendor selection, product availability, current prices, specifications, etc. The information contained in this section is for use in requisition preparation. Purchasing is located in Suite 901 of the One Park Place South building. Please contact the department for assistance at 404-413-3150.
If you have a particular product or vendor in mind, it will be considered in filling the order. However, preference is not sufficient reason for purchasing a particular brand. A written justification that clearly outlines the specifications required (e.g. height, width, thickness, accessories, and functions) will be necessary in order to obtain competitive quotes or bids from vendors.
The Purchase Order is a legal document which obligates the University (as buyer) and the Vendor (as seller) to certain conditions and agreements. Purchase Orders are issued only by the Purchasing Department.
Because a change order alters an existing contract, it can be issued only with the agreement and consent of the vendor. Generally, because of sound vendor relations and because most changes are minor, they can be made without penalties being imposed by the vendor. It should be remembered that such changes do require the vendor's agreement and consent and must be issued by the Purchasing Department.
The Purchasing Department is the official purchasing agent for Georgia State University. It functions within the applicable State and Federal laws and under the guidelines imposed by the Department of Administrative Services - Statewide Business Services -State Purchasing and Board of Regents. Generally, the G.S.U. Purchasing Department can issue Field Purchase Orders up to $100,000.00. Requisitions which exceed $5,000.00 must be competitively bid. If a requisition totals $100,000.00 or more, the purchase may require processing by State Purchasing.
Occasionally, emergency situations occur when the purchase of materials or services need to be accomplished in a very short period of time. An emergency situation is one where there is:
1. A machinery malfunction or breakdown that leaves working personnel idle. 2. Academic, research, or technical personnel idle or unable to perform activities due to lack of materials or services in the required time. 3. A circumstance during other than normal working hours where no agency or other state assistance is available. 4. A situation in which the lack of materials, equipment, or repairs of services might seriously endanger the health, safety, and welfare of any person or University property.
NOTE: A letter of justification, signed by the department head, must accompany any request for emergency processing of a Purchase Requisition. The emergency requisition(s) will be given priority processing by the Purchasing Department.
It is permissible for an employee to expend personal funds for official "small purchases" and to obtain reimbursement from the University Cashier, providing the employee has the prior approval of the appropriate department head. This type of purchase is known as "Petty Cash" and is limited to $499.99 per purchase. According to State statute, materials and/or services which cost $5,000.00 or more shall be competitively bid. Therefore, repetitive purchases from the same vendor on the same day or on consecutive working days may be cause to disallow the reimbursement. The $5,000.00 limit may not be circumvented by splitting a purchase from one vendor on consecutive days, by charging part of a purchase to one account and part to another account, or by having two or more people buy separate parts of an order. If purchases are made in these or any other manner to get around the $5,000.00 limit, they may be disallowed and become the responsibility of the individual making the purchase. PETTY CASH REIMBURSEMENT - To obtain reimbursement, an employee must submit a receipt in the form of an original vendor's invoice marked "PAID" or a "petty cash reimbursement receipt" signed by the vendor. The following requirements should be met with the receipt as in the form of a vendor's invoice:
1. The receipt must be an original (the second copy of a multi-part form is acceptable), not a copy reproduced on a copier. 2. The receipt should be marked "PAID" and carry the signature of the vendor's representative and the name of the vendor. It should also show that the items purchased were sold to Georgia State University or an individual employed by Georgia State University. It should be a formal receipt and not merely a slip of paper on which the information is written. If this requirement cannot be met, consult with the Director of Student Accounts. 3. The receipt should also show the date of purchase, quantity, description, unit price, and extension of each item purchased. Such broad descriptions as "instructional materials" are not acceptable. 4. In those instances where only a cash register receipt is available from the vendor, the cash register receipt may be submitted for reimbursement provided the vendor's name is either preprinted on the receipt or the vendor's name is written on the back of the receipt and signed by a representative (not initialed) of the vendor. The cash register receipt must be accompanied by a complete "petty cash reimbursement receipt," and the receipt must contain a detailed list of items purchased. Again, such terms as "instructional materials" are not acceptable.
The following items may not be purchased via petty cash:
1. flowers 2. holiday decorations 3. carpet 4. drapes 5. items for personal use 6. registration fees 7. travel 8. gasoline for an employee's car 9. parking 10. attorney's fees 11. membership fees 12. classified advertisements 13. business cards
This list may be revised from time to time to include additions/deletions as required. NOTES:
1. While it is permissible to purchase software using petty cash (Less than $500) or express vouchers (Less than $4,999.99), not all vendors offer special discounted academic pricing. It is advisable to contact the Buyer handling software purchases regarding vendors who can offer such special pricing before purchase. Academic pricing can offer savings of 50% or more compared to normal retail pricing. 2. All heaters, regardless of cost, must be approved by the Physical Plant Department prior to request for reimbursement. 3. Live plants for public areas may be purchased via petty cash with the approval of the Physical Plant Department.
Purchases handled via express vouchers must follow the same guidelines as noted above for petty cash purchases except that the cost may be any amount less than $5,000.00. PLEASE NOTE, HOWEVER, IF THE COST OF AN INDIVIDUAL ITEM OF EQUIPMENT OR FURNITURE IS $3,000.00 OR MORE, THE ITEM MUST BE INVENTORIED BY PROPERTY CONTROL. PROPERTY CONTROL WILL ATTACH A GSU DECAL NUMBER TO THE ITEM. THIS NUMBER MUST BE SHOWN ON THE EXPRESS VOUCHER PAY REQUEST. PAYMENT WILL NOT BE MADE UNTIL THE ITEM HAS BEEN PROPERLY TAGGED WITH A GSU PROPERTY DECAL.
Sales tax charged on petty cash purchases should not be paid by the purchaser. If, however, a petty cash purchase cannot be made without payment of sales tax, reimbursement of the sales tax will be made by the University Cashier. Exemption Certificate forms may be obtained from the Director of Business Services.
A procurement card program has been developed to streamline requisitioning, procurement, receiving and payment processing for low value ($4,499.99 or less) purchases. The program utilizes the Bank of America VISA Purchasing card as the payment processing medium and is administered by Bank of America. When placing an order with suppliers, cardholders use their charge number in lieu of requisitions and purchase orders. Each cardholder maintains a log of purchases to compare with their monthly bank statement to ensure the accuracy of the charges. Bank of America pays the suppliers and provides GSU a consolidated monthly billing. GSU uses this to make consolidated payment to Bank of America and then to charge each department for purchases made. Each card is assigned to a specific individual, department, expense account, and project number. The Purchase Card follows the same basic guidelines as noted above for Express Vouchers. A detailed Purchase Card Manual is available on-line and orientation is provided to each individual receiving a Purchase Card. Contact the Purchasing Department at extension 404-413-3150 to request information on the Purchase Card program or to request an application for the card.
Film and/ or video rentals/purchases costing $4,999.99 or less may be processed via the Express Voucher. If rental/purchase exceeds this amount, a requisition must be used. In scheduling the show date, allow at least five days for Purchasing to process requisition along with lead time required for shipment by distributor. It is the department's responsibility to return any film that is previewed. We strongly recommended the use of a shipper that has the capability of tracking their deliveries in the event the film is lost.
When it is determined that equipment or supplies should be returned, the originating department should contact the buyer involved. The buyer will contact the supplier and will handle all correspondence and details. Any correspondence you may have regarding the purchase should be forwarded to Purchasing.
Departments or individuals should not accept equipment on an approval or demonstration basis without first contacting and discussing the matter with the Purchasing Department. Vendors and suppliers must be made aware of certain risks which they accept when leaving equipment on campus for demonstration purposes. Vendors must be informed that the University assumes no responsibility for equipment loss or damage due to any cause. They also should be informed that, if any purchase is made as a result of the demonstration, competitive bids will be taken and the equipment so purchased will be new, unused and delivered in an unbroken carton to Central Receiving. THE UNIVERSITY WILL NOT ACCEPT THE DEMONSTRATION UNIT AS NEW EQUIPMENT.
Purchasing is responsible for processing equipment service agreements as requested by Georgia State University departments.
It is advantageous to cover certain equipment under a service maintenance agreement. A maintenance agreement is a formal agreement with a company to provide repair service to covered equipment for a specified rate. Generally, maintenance agreements cover all labor charges and some charges for parts used in the repair of covered equipment. An example may be useful to illustrate the advantage of having equipment covered by a maintenance agreement. A typewriter is a good example. While prices may vary from year to year, most typewriters can generally be covered by a maintenance agreement for less than $50 a year. If a typewriter breaks down and is not covered by a maintenance agreement, a minimum charge of approximately $65.00 will be assessed by the repair company to service the machine. Therefore, if the typewriter needs repairing more than once during the year, the maintenance agreement is advantageous.
MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS AT GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY RUN FOR A ONE YEAR PERIOD. MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY RENEWABLE. Departments can start a maintenance agreement anytime during the above time period. Normally, the cost is prorated and may require a pre maintenance inspection if not under a warranty or if the warranty is renewed at the beginning of the next fiscal year without a break in service.
Call Service Repair at 404-413-3150 to place a request for repairs.
Any contemplated purchases of electrical equipment requiring significant amounts of power should be discussed with the Department of Facility Management Services. A statement that the Facility Management Services has been contacted should be included on the Purchase Requisition. It is essential that the departments follow this procedure to preclude the possibility of having to make costly modifications to the equipment or the electrical supply to the building in which the equipment is to be housed.
When making a request to purchase used equipment, the following statement must be typed on the requisition or attached thereto: "Departmental personnel have personally examined this used equipment and determined that the condition of the equipment is as represented. The department will accept full responsibility, and the best interest of the State of Georgia will be served by the purchase of this used equipment." Additional documentation may be required. Contact the buyer for the commodity of the used equipment for details.
All purchases under contracts, grants, or agreements are subject to State of Georgia Purchasing Regulations, to Board of Regents Policies, and to University Policies. Expenditures for obligations incurred under contracts, grants, or agreements cannot be made for purposes other than those for which State funds can be expended, unless each exceptional type of expenditure is specifically authorized and stated by the donor or grantor as a requirement of the grant, contract or agreement.
University funds may be used for the purchase of business cards for administrative employees who, in their contact with the public, represent G.S.U. Such representation and use of business cards must be approved by the appropriate department head. To obtain business cards, the requester should: 1. Have artwork completed by the Department of University Relations and Creative Services. 2. Deliver artwork to on campus print shop located in basement level of Urban Life. 3. Departmental green charge card may be used at both the above locations.
It is the policy of Georgia State University that all vehicle rentals for travel must be handled via a travel authorization and travel expense statement with the proper receipts. The only exception to this policy is the rental of vehicles for group travel for Student Activities functions. Travel in an individual's car for a Student Activities function must be handled via a travel authorization.
The University Printing and Copy Services are available for printing jobs under $5,000.00. Departmental credit cards may be used to purchase these services from the University printing and copy services vendor. Requests for other printing, if $5,000.00 or greater, must be submitted on a purchase requisition and should be submitted at least 30 days in advance of required completion dates since bidding may be required and average printing time is ten working days. In addition, the requisition should contain complete and detailed specifications of the printing required. Petty Cash may be used for printing jobs of $499.99 or less and the express voucher for jobs less than $5,000.00.
1. The buyers in the Purchasing Department are experienced professionals and are able to assist with problem resolution. 404-413-3150 should be called if you have any questions about proper procedures. 2. With certain exceptions, all correspondence with suppliers should be handled through Purchasing. 3. Many, but not all, items whose total order cost is less than $5,000 may be purchased using either a P'Card or an Express Voucher, rather than through a Requisition forwarded to Purchasing. Consult the Dollar Value Grid to determine if the items you wish to purchase are eligible for purchase directly by departments using non-Requisition methods. 4. Unauthorized purchases are improper and illegal, and the purchaser or the Department may be responsible for the charges. 5. Please check your requisition to ensure all information is completed and correct. 6. Include sufficient justification if you desire the item to be purchased as a sole source or a no substitute item. If sufficient justification cannot be determined, then competitive bids will be taken. 7. Review petty cash regulations first. Just because it costs less than $499.99 does not always mean petty cash can be used. 8. Consult the Purchasing Department for any changes to an existing Purchase Order. If changes are required, the appropriate paper work must be processed prior to the change becoming effective.