ABC's of Purchasing / Frequently Asked Questions
►Must goods or services be bid if a department, faculty or staff member receives funding through an operating, revenue, restricted or other fund?
►I am submitting a requisition that I know has to be bid. What prices do I put in the unit price fields on the Banner Requisition if I do not know the prices?
►Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River for travel if all of my expenses are being reimbursed directly to me by a Foundation fund?
►Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River for a Special Meal if the meal expense will be reimbursed directly to me by a Foundation fund?
►I made a purchase with my LaCarte card and then returned it. Do I need to do anything in Chrome River since I have a zero balance on my LaCarte card?
►Can I attach missing documents in Chrome River after I have submitted the Pre-Approval or Expense Report?
I do not have access to "View Documents" or "Budget Query" on ULink.
Access should be requested through the Banner Finance Access Request form.
Where can I check the status of my Banner Requisition?
On your Banner Requisition dashboard, the requisition will be shown in either Draft, Pending or Approved. If the requisition is in Drafts, it has not yet been submitted for approval. If the requisition is in Pending, it is waiting for approval. If the requisition is in Approved, it has been approved and is in Purchasing for Processing.
If the requisition is in the Pending section, on the right side of the requisition, there is an "i" icon. You are able to click on that icon to display the approvers that are still needing to approve. Please know that the order on the list is not the order of approval. It will however, give you an idea of who is left and give you a place to start asking.
If the requisition is in the Approved section, on the right side there is a button that will provide the status, which can range from assigned to buyer, to PO assigned.
Questions about a specific requisition can be sent to Purchasing at email@example.com.
Must goods or services be bid if a department, faculty or staff member receives funding through an operating, revenue, restricted or other fund?
Goods – Yes, in most instances when the aggregate cost of all items purchased exceed $5,000. Purchases may not be artificially divided to avoid or lessen bid requirements.
If ordering from a Louisiana State Contract, competitive pricing may not be required. A requisition must be entered in Banner Requisitions for encumbering funds, verification of contract, and issuance of a purchase order. A firm quote must be attached to the requisition in Banner.
Services – The dollar amount will dictate if services are competitive. Under $74,999 is considered non-competitive for Consulting Services. For types of contracts and dollar limit requirements see PPCS Section.
Do I have the authority to make a purchase?
Authorization to purchase goods in the amount of $5,000 or less can be made using a LaCarte card. LaCarte card policy must be complied with for all purchases.
Authority does not apply to Professional, Personal, Consulting or Social Service (PPCS) Contracts. Payment of Services must be processed by submitting a requisition in Banner with all required paperwork based on the dollar amount.
Is competitive pricing required for purchases made by the University?
If ordering from a state contract competitive pricing may not be required, but a requisition must be processed through Banner for encumbering funds, verification of state contract information, and issuance of a purchase order.
If ordering goods from a non-state contract supplier:
For orders less than or equal to $5,000 - no bids are required unless the purchase would be considered to artificially divide the purchase to circumvent a bid requirement. If the vendor does not accept LaCarte card, a requisition must be entered in Banner with a firm fixed quote attached.
For orders between $5,000.01 and $20,000 - fax quotes from at least (3) sources may be solicited by the department using the University RFQ form and submitted with a requisition in Banner in advance of the purchase and issuance of a purchase order.
For orders between $20,000.01 and less than $30,000 - Requests for Quotations shall be solicited from at least five (5) bona fide, qualified vendors and must be issued by the Office of Purchasing. A minimum of three (3) business days shall be allowed for vendor response.
For orders $30,000 or greater - Formal written sealed bids shall be solicited by the Office of Purchasing from at least five (5) bona fide, qualified vendors, and public notice is published in the official journal of the State and posted to the State Purchasing LaPAC website. Typically, twenty one (21) days shall be allowed for vendor response.
Some purchases, regardless of dollar amount, have other special requirements to ensure compliance with applicable purchasing law, policy or procedures.
I am submitting a requisition that I know has to be bid. What prices do I put inthe unit price fields on the Banner Requisition if I do not know the prices?
Always put an estimated value of the goods/services that are being bidding, as a zero-dollar ($0.00) line items will result in the requisition being disapproved. The approved requisition will encumber the funds for your bid and will be updated on the Purchase Order based on the winning bid. Additional funds may have to be approved if the total exceeds the estimated amount.
Will the justification from a previous sole source purchase suffice for the next requisition?
No. A new sole source justification form and current letter from the vendor, along with a firm fixed quote must be submitted through a Banner Requisition.
Who determines the need for a product or service?
The department, faculty or staff member usually determines the need for a product or service in conjunction with the need of the actual end user. The role of Procurement is to ensure purchases are made in accordance with state law, to ensure competition and to provide guidance.
What is the process for a vendor requesting payment in advance of services?
The University is prohibited by the Louisiana Constitution to pay a deposit, advanced payments or 100% prepayment. Payments are made upon completion of services.
Can a bid be accepted after the bid opening date and time?
Under no circumstances will late bids be accepted, regardless of the reason. All bids must be received by the bid opening date and time shown on the solicitation document. If a bid is delayed by actions of UL Lafayette personnel, and this delay prejudices a supplier, then UL Lafayette Purchasing Office must cancel the solicitation and rebid.
How often is the State Contract information on the State Procurement website updated?
How should we address a supplier who is not honoring specified delivery date?
The department should initially make verbal contact with the supplier regarding a problem in contract performance. If the complaint remains unresolved, the department sends a formal complaint, using the Deficiency/Complaint Report form, to the Procurement. Procurement will send a letter, with a copy of the complaint, asking the supplier to investigate and respond within a time frame.
How do I find items on State Contract?
See State Procurement's Contract Search (LA e-Cat) on the Internet.
When is it advisable to have a signed agreement for software licenses and software or hardware maintenance or support?
Sometimes suppliers will require that an agreement be signed. In this case, the original agreement, not signed by the University, must be forwarded to Procurement for review with compliance with Louisiana law.
Can I sign contracts and agreements?
No. The authority to execute University contracts is vested in the President of the University; however, the President has delegated to both the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs authority to execute University contracts. No one else is authorized to sign purchasing contracts or agreements on behalf of the University. Unless special delegation has been granted to an individual within the department, any purchasing contract requiring a signature on behalf of the University should be routed to Procurement Services for approval.
What should a department use in place of a Direct Charge form?
After December 10, 2015 the Purchasing Office will not be accepting Direct Charge forms for payment of invoices. In place of Direct Charge form, small dollar purchases that are allowable under the LaCarte program should be made with the LaCarte Card, all other purchases should be processed through a requisition.
What are the custodians suposed to clean and when?
The current contractor for custodial services is GCA (ABM). Please see the outline of the contracted services for academic buildings for a list of services and the stated freqency.
How do I set myself up to order with Staples?
Be sure you are accessing the account by going to StaplesAdvantage through ULink. If you go straight to Staples.com, it will not recognize the University's account information.
Step 1: Choose the Purchasing and Budget tab. If you don’t have that tab, speak with the help desk.
Step 2: Select "View available contracts" in the Purchasing Contracts Portlet.
Step 3: Click on the Staples logo.
Step 4: Follow the registration instructions/prompts when you click on the link under New to Staples?
Once you've filled out all the information and submit, Staples sends an email to Purchasing once daily requesting my approval of all of the registrants. Because of the security measures they take, it takes up to 48 hours for your information to be confirmed to enable you to place orders. You will receive a "Welcome" email from Staples once the account is established.
Every time you want to place an order with Staples, be sure you access StaplesAdvantage through ULink.
Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River for a virtual conference?
For virtual conferences, a Pre-Approval is not needed. On your expense report, you will select Non-Travel/General as the Type on the header page. Once you save your header page, choose the License/Subscription/Membership tile and then the Type on this page will be Registration/Course Fees - Non-Travel (760140).
Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River if I am traveling in Lafayette?
If you are leaving the UL campus and are claiming any travel expenses (mileage, conference registration, etc.), a Pre-Approval is required.
Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River for travel if all of my expenses are being reimbursed directly to me by a Foundation fund?
Yes, you will code your estimated expenses to NREIMB and attach a copy of the fully approved Pre-Approval to your Foundation Warrant.
Note: You cannot claim the Daily Meal Allowance with Foundation funds. You must have actual receipts for meals to get reimbursed.
Do I need a Pre-Approval in Chrome River for a Special Meal if the meal expense will be reimbursed directly to me by a Foundation fund?
No, a Special Meal Pre-Approval is not needed for reimbursement by the Foundation.
What attachments are required on a Pre-Approval for a conference?
A conference Pre-Approval requires the conference agenda (or Schedule-At-A-Glance) and documentation showing the conference hotel block rate.
Note: If the conference agenda is not available yet, it can be submitted on the Expense Report, but the hotel block rate must be attached to the Pre-Approval.
Can I pay for travel expenses for another employee?
The ONLY time a faculty/staff member can pay for another employee's travel expenses is when traveling as a group with students.
Note: It is allowed for virtual conferences, webinars, online courses, etc., as these are not considered travel.
I made a purchase with my LaCarte card and then returned it. Do I need to do anything in Chrome River since I have a zero balance on my LaCarte card?
Yes, all transactions, whether purchases or credits, need to be reconciled.
What happens if a vendor charged me tax?
On your Expense Report in Chrome River, you will click "Add Allocation" and enter the tax amount using the SALETX allocation.
You will need to contact the vendor to credit the tax back to your LaCarte card. If you choose not to get the tax refunded, it will be deducted from your next paycheck. If this is the option you choose, please put a note in the Comment section requesting the payroll deduction.
When the tax credit is issued to your LaCarte card, it will need to be coded to SALETX just like the original tax charge.
Note: We are exempt from Louisiana State Sales Tax. Most vendors will exempt from all taxes, but if the vendor charges local, parish, or occupancy taxes, it is okay to pay those. (This is very common for hotels in the New Orleans area.)
When do I need to reconcile my LaCarte charges in Chrome River?
The LaCarte statements are issued on the 6th of every month. Your charges need to be reconciled by the 15th of that month.
Note: You do not have to wait until then to reconcile your charges, but we would prefer that you not submit a separate Expense Report for each charge. You can create an Expense Report, leave it in Drafts, add to it throughout the month, and then submit it after the statement is issued.
What do I do with LaCarte charges paid prior to a trip?
If you have travel expenses that are paid prior to the travel (conference registration, airfare, etc.), you will need to reconcile these charges when the LaCarte statement that includes these charges is issued.
As with all travel, you will create a new Expense Report and import the Pre-Approval. Reconcile your LaCarte charges, and delete any expense lines that are not needed at this time. (These will be deleted from this Expense Report, but not from the Pre-Approval.)
After the trip, you will create another Expense Report, import the Pre-Approval again, reconcile your new charges and expenses, and delete the expense lines that were previously used.
Can I include a link to the conference website in Chrome River?
No. Links usually expire after the conference; therefore, actual copies must be attached.
Can I attach missing documents in Chrome River after I submitted the Pre-Approval or Expense Report?
Yes. Attachments can be added any time. You do not have to recall the Pre-Approval or Expense Report to do this.
How do I make changes to the Header Page of a Pre-Approval or Expense Report in Chrome River?
To edit the Header Page, you must delete all of the expense lines on the left side of the report. You can then make the changes to the Header Page, add your expense lines back, and then submit the report.