Purchase Orders

This article covers the following topics:

Making Purchase Orders

What is a Purchase Order?

Purchase Order is a written document used to request goods/services from a company or person.

Typically you should:

  1. Request a quotation from the supplier outlining the items you would like to purchase
  2. Create a purchase order listing what items you actually want before ordering them
  3. Ensure the purchase order is approved
  4. Send a copy of the approved purchase order to the supplier asking them to quote the purchase order number on the face of their invoice
  5. Complete the goods receipt process to ensure that payment will be made once the invoice from the supplier arrives

The ideal way of paying for items over about £200 is by agreeing on credit terms with the supplier you are purchasing from. Prior to placing an order, you should obtain a quote from the supplier and then create a Purchase Order on eActivities. Purchase orders contain details of what goods/services you want and how much you are expecting to pay for them. Please note when booking rooms within College that incur hire charges or booking fees a Purchase Order number will be required.

The diagram below illustrates the Purchase Order process:

Requesting a Purchase Order

You will only be able to request a Purchase Order if you are a committee member in a Club, Society or Project.

Go to eActivities > Select role > Finance > Expenditure > Purchase Orders

Complete the details of the description, account, activity, funding, and consolidation codes together with the Gross (inc. VAT) Unit Price and quantity for each item you are ordering, in line with the supplier’s quote where applicable. When you have finished click 'Commit'.

Committed Purchase Orders cannot be altered so if you need to make any changes, you will need to cancel the old Purchase Order and create a new one.

Requesting a New Supplier

If the supplier you want is not in the dropdown list when you start a purchase order, you can request it is added by going to the 'Request a New Supplier' tab. A supplier may take up to three working days to set up and you will receive an email when your supplier is created.

Downloading Purchase Orders

Once a Purchase Order has been fully approved, it will be available for download as a pdf document. The Purchase Order can be downloaded by either the person who requested it as well as the Club, Society or Project Chair/Treasurer.

Navigate to Finance > Expenditure > Purchase Orders > Authorised Purchase Orders

The Purchase Order can be downloaded by clicking on the pdf symbol on the far right of the screen. The creator of the purchase order should send it to the supplier and ensure its number is quoted on the invoice.

Goods Receipting

Goods receipting is a critical part of the Purchase Order process. It communicates to the Union Finance Team that the goods or services have been received and that it is ok to pay the supplier.

When you have successfully received your goods/service, go to Finance > Expenditure > Authorised Purchase Orders

Here, click on the 'Goods Receipting' tab and select the Purchase Order you wish to goods receipt.

Enter the number of items you have received in the relevant box on each line and any notes you wish to make. When all the items or services requested via the Purchase Order have been received click Finish Goods Receipting - you cannot edit the number of items received after clicking this.

The Union Finance Team will deal with paying companies for the goods or services you have received provided Finance has received the invoice. The payment will be made once the purchase order has been goods receipted. If you have received any invoices you should upload them, see Uploading an Invoice on the next page.

Uploading an Invoice

If you receive an invoice ensure that it is addressed to Imperial College Union, Beit Quad, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BB; NOT Imperial College.

Once received, upload the invoice to eActivities. Click on the Authorised Purchase Orders tab, select the purchase order you are uploading an invoice for and then select Upload Invoice. Select the file from your computer by clicking Choose File, press the + symbol to add more than one file. When you’re finished, press Upload Files. If you are uploading a Pro Forma invoice, select the Mark as Pro Forma tab and tick the box.

Pro Forma Invoices

There are circumstances where a supplier will demand payment for goods/services before they are delivered. The supplier will then issue a Pro-Forma invoice. When you receive this you should create a Purchase Order as usual, and then upload the invoice as detailed in the previous section.

Payment of Invoices

An invoice will only be paid once it has been uploaded and marked as goods receipted. If the supplier demands payment in advance, please mark the invoice as pro forma (see above).

Approving Purchase Orders

To approve purchase orders you need to have signed your Financial Responsibility Form and returned it to the Student Activities Centre. You will also need to have completed the Key Information and Approving Expenditure quizzes. If you have a Purchase Order to authorise you will receive an automatically generated email – login to eActivities select Finance, Expenditure then Purchase Orders.

Approving a Purchase Order

For each Purchase Order you will need to check whether what is being ordered is appropriate for the Club, Society or Project, that the transactions and VAT codes are correct on each line and most importantly – do they have the funds to cover this expenditure? If everything is correct you can click the Authorise button.

Rejecting a Purchase Order

You may sometimes need to reject a Purchase Order. When clicking the Reject button you will be prompted to enter a reason and given the option of who to reject it back to. Please ensure you make this reason clear so that the problem can be corrected and resubmitted or the Purchase Order cancelled if necessary.You should reject Purchase Orders if it is not related to the Club, Society or Project’s activities, you want further information before approving the Purchase Order or the group does not have sufficient funds and approving the order would leave them in debt.

If you do not want to approve a purchase order DO NOT IGNORE IT - reject it and state your reasons for rejection. 

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