Small Dollar Purchases
Small dollar purchases up to $1,500 may be made without the use of a purchase order as long as they could not otherwise be made as part of a blanket PO through a contracted vendor. Faculty and administrators may use their corporate credit cards or cash to make these purchases; please refer to the Corporate Credit Card policy. Sales tax exemption must be requested if purchasing in the state of New York. Other small dollar purchases include office supplies through our vendor ordering platform.
Large Dollar Purchases
Large dollar purchases must be made using an approved purchase order. Large dollar purchases include any purchase totaling greater than $1,500. A purchase requisition form must be completed and signed by the appropriate signature authority. The requisition and relevant supporting documentation should be submitted to the Procurement Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure there are sufficient budgeted monies for the purchase prior to submitting a purchase requisition. If Facilities Management or LITS will need to be involved due to the nature of the item (electrical, mechanical, etc.) or software, please be sure to obtain their approval prior to submitting a requisition. Procurement will review all requisitions to ensure best value.
Capital Purchases vs. Operational Purchases
The College capitalizes major equipment and software costing more than $5,000 per individual item and which is expected to be of use for more than 2-years. All costs incurred to purchase the asset and put it in place and in operation are capitalized, including interest on financed construction costs. Land and building improvements are capitalized if the project cost is more than $5,000 and the asset is significantly improved and/or its function is changed. Routine maintenance such as roof repairs, painting and repaving are not capitalized. Land improvements include paved parking lots, roads, sprinkler systems, landscaping improvements and improvements to athletic fields and courts. Capital Projects are to be approved by Facilities Management and accounted for in Capital Accounts rather than Operating Accounts and should be charged using the expense object code 4826. Large equipment purchased outside of projects must be charged to 4825 whereas small equipment under $5,000 would be charged operationally to 4820. Capital equipment may be purchased from Endowed Income accounts, but the expense code 4825 must be used. Capital expenditures should generally not be purchased from departmental operating budgets (accounts beginning with 10). Requests for capital purchases should be submitted separately during the College’s annual budgeting process. For emergency capital needs that occur outside of the annual budget cycle, the College has a small reserve of funds that may be accessed; please contact the Associate Director of Finance if such a need arises.
Purchase Requisition Approval Authority
In order for Procurement to process a requisition and issue a Purchase Order or Blanket Purchase Order, the following approvals are required at the time the requisition is submitted.
- Requisitions for amounts between $1,500 - $10,000 must be approved by Department Heads
- Department Head is defined as the Department Director, Chair, Program Manager, or Associate Vice President
- Requisitions for amounts greater than $10,000 must be approved by the Division Vice President
- In addition to the above approval levels, requisitions for computer equipment, software, software as a service, and related items must be approved by the VP of Libraries and Information Technology or his/her designee. This is an off-line process that can be initiated by contacting LITS via their service request system.
Purchasing Card (P-Card)
Hamilton College’s purchasing cards are MasterCards issued by Key Bank to College employees or departments for the purpose of purchasing business related goods and services that are $1,500 or less, per transaction. Purchasing cards are not to be used for individual employee travel expenses; any business-related travel expenses should be put on a travel card. If a card is issued to a department, a departmental employee is designated as the one responsible for monitoring the use of the card and approving transactions charged to it. Purchasing cards will be revoked if cardholders do not comply with the requirements of this policy. The Associate Director of Procurement will approve all new P-Card requests and limits.
Vendors should be informed that purchases are exempt from sales tax when the purchase is made. Some merchants will only require the College’s exempt organization number which is printed on the card. Some merchants however, may require a copy of the tax exemption certificate appropriate for the state in which the purchase is being made.
An original receipt must be obtained from the merchant for each transaction posted to a purchasing card. Users should create a receipt folder on their department drive to save copies, photos or emails of receipts and maintain for at least three (3) years. Personnel in the Business Office will periodically conduct purchasing card audits to ensure cards are being used and administered appropriately.
The purchase of all goods and services should be processed via purchase requisition and submitted to the Procurement Office at email@example.com prior to ordering or work commencing unless alternative purchasing mechanisms are to be used (e.g. P-Card, office supplies). Supporting documentation, including quotes, agreements, RFP Waiver (if necessary), and justifications must accompany the requisition. Requisitions are required for the purchase of goods and services greater than $1,500 and must have the necessary department approval. Requisitions will be processed by the Procurement Office within 3 business days once all necessary necessary price negotiations are completed and required information is obtained.
In order to ensure best value, competitive bidding may be done on purchases over $10,000. The competitive bidding process requires at least 2 different proposals be sourced for the same item or project. Purchases over $50,000 require 3 quotes and may require a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process. This process is to be facilitated by Procurement to ensure the same information is communicated and all processes are followed appropriately.
In order to initiate the RFP process, the requestor in need of the products or services shall reach out to the Procurement Office with the purchase specifications and a list of recommended vendors. Procurement will prepare the RFP document and timeline in conjunction with the requestor; RFP timelines can take up to 12 weeks depending on the complexity of the product or service being bid. Once the proposals are received, Procurement will work with the requesting department to evaluate received information and select a vendor based upon the best value proposed. It is critical to inform Procurement of an intent to bid a product or service as early in the process as possible, preferably in the budget process, to ensure adequate time to plan and prepare.
In certain cases, competitive bidding may be waived based upon certain existing conditions such as software compatibility, sole-source goods, or emergency repairs. In these cases, a Competitive Bidding/RFP Waiver Form must be completed and submitted with the requisition if the purchase is over $10,000 ($25,000 for Facilities contractors).