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The purchasing processes that are detailed on this web site are designed to provide departments with maximum flexibility in obtaining goods and services to carry out their assigned operations while maintaining appropriate levels of institutional control and review. The control and review aspects are necessary to ensure that the University can meet its regulatory (IRS, Department of Revenue, etc.) requirements; uphold its fiscal responsibility to students, donors and trustees; and maintain the integrity of financial information used in decision making.

Purchasing Thresholds


Dollar Thresholds Process Requirements
Departments initiate purchase transaction directly with vendor.
$5,000-$9,999 Requires a purchase order or VP signature on an RFP.
$10,000-$25,000 Requires a purchase order with a minimum of three quotes.
$25,000+ Requires a purchase order/contract based on request for proposal process (or specifications and drawings).


Payment Options

In carrying out its responsibilities, the payments department provides several tools to campus departments to assist in paying for and purchasing goods/services. In addition, the PD staff are available to answer questions related to the purchasing or payment processes and to provide assistance in identifying potential vendors for goods/services.


There are several tools available for making payments for University-related purchases:

  • The PD produces accounts payable checks three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). This allows for quick turnaround (five business days once received in the PD) for the majority of payments needed.
  • The purchasing card is another convenient tool for purchases under $5,000. Simply present the purchasing card for payment at the time of purchase, save the receipt, and report the month’s purchases when your statement arrives.
  • The office supply vendor, Corporate Express, will handle the majority of your office supply needs within necessary time frame.
  • The PD will continue to produce a next-day rush check but will assess a $5.00-per-request fee for more than one request per month to cover the expenses associated with the extra processing involved in producing these checks.
  • The final payment option available to departments is to use personal funds to obtain the item and then seek reimbursement from the University for the business expenditure through the request for reimbursement process.

How to Get Started
You want to purchase something, and you can see from the outline above that different processes and approvals are required depending on the dollar value of the purchase. What do you need to consider in purchasing goods and services before you even fill out a form or pick up the phone to place an order?

What follows is a checklist or items to consider in every purchasing transaction. Covering these bases will reduce possible surprises after the purchase:

  • What grade or quality of material is required?
  • What are the specifications (quantity, size, etc.)?
  • Are there any safety issues related to the goods sought?
  • What is the method of delivery?
  • Is shipping and handling included in the quoted price, or is that a separate charge
  • What are the return policies related to the purchase?
  • What are the product warranty terms?
  • Are there University standards for the product sought?
  • Are there discounts for meeting specific payment terms?
  • Will the vendor send an original invoice with the product, or separately?
  • What is the lead-time for delivery (time from placing an order to receiving the goods)?
  • Where will the product be delivered?

If you are in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to call the payments department and speak with the purchasing specialist who can help you work through these questions as well as identify possible vendors.

University Standards

  • Computer and Information Systems (CIS) sets computer hardware, systems, and software standards, as well as audio and video equipment standards. Contact CIS for assistance in choosing computer-related products and service.
  • Facility Management sets furnishing and fixture standards. All purchases of furnishings and fixtures must be coordinated through the associate director of project design (Facilities).
  • The Facilities Department handles signage standards in the same manner as it handles furnishing and fixture standards.
  • All modifications to spaces/facilities or attachments to facilities must be approved and implemented by the Facilities Department.
  • Corporate Express is SPU's preferred vendor for general office supplies, and they will match or beat other vendors' prices. Please note: If you receive unsolicited phone calls from other vendors, contact the Finance Office.



Contact Us
Seattle Pacific University
Finance Office, Weter Hall
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 112
Seattle, Washington 98119-1922

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