Purchase Orders

Purchase orders (POs) are a form of contract for goods or services that commits the supplier and university to a buying transaction. POs are one of the primary buying methods at MSU and are appropriate for goods, equipment, and services not available through Spartan Marketplace or by using the Pcard. 

Early involvement of the Purchasing staff is encouraged for large or complex transactions. 

Depending on its nature, Purchasing may be required to competitively bid the purchase, or to obtain a sole or single source justification. Additional supplier information may be necessary to meet regulatory requirements.

Purchase orders are initiated through a requisition in the Finance System. 

Below are the steps of a typical purchase order

  1. Determine your need for goods, or services.

  2. Purchase items through Spartan Marketplace, University Stores, or MSU Surplus Store, if possible.

  3. If the item is unavailable from internal sources and meets Pcard criteria, use a Pcard. 

  4. If the goods or services are not available from internal sources or are inappropriate for Pcard use, use the Finance System to initiate a requisition for a purchase order.

  5. As a part of workflow routing, the Purchasing Department receives a requisition and assigns it to a staff member. The purchase order is not complete until it is in an approved status in the system. Departments are not to provide the requistion or purchase order number to a supplier while the order is in an unapproved status.

  6. The Purchasing staff is responsible for ensuring university policy and procedure, federal, state, and local laws and regulations are met.

  7. The request is reviewed to determine the best course of action based on cost, funding and MSU requirements. For complex or high-dollar buys, Purchasing staff will contact the end user to discuss the transaction. Please note that budgetary quotes can be obtained by departments, however competitive bids are to be solicited by Purchasing.

  8. As a part of the negotiation process, Purchasing ensures that the best-value shipping option is chosen (from an MSU strategic contract) and included in the PO. 

  9. The Purchasing staff provides the completed purchase order to the supplier. The supplier ships the item to Central Receiving and sends the invoice to Accounts Payable.

  10. Logistics delivers the item, you verify the PO number and inspect the order to make sure it is complete, accurate, and in good condition.

  11. Accounts Payable processes the supplier payment based upon the designated payment terms. Payment requests are routed to the fiscal officer for approval. For any invoices that should not be paid, the fiscal officer should place them on hold. Once approved, the hold can be removed and the fiscal officer can approve the invoice through for payment.