The purpose of this policy guideline is to define when a purchase order is to be used to procure goods or services.

Purchase orders are established for all major Macalester College purchases. Major purchases are classified as $10,000 and over.  This also includes cumulative payments totaling $10,000 associated with a single project. The use of purchase orders creates an additional level of safety for Macalester College, departments and employees in regards to liability, negotiating and leveraging with the vendor.

Importance of using a purchase order

  • Contractual risks and uncertainties are minimized
  • Suppliers are obliged to operate in accordance with our Purchase Order Terms and Conditions unless other special terms have been negotiated
  • Expenditure is approved in accordance with authorized approvals process
  • Purchase order process enables us to capture and categorize our spending in a uniform and accurate manner

Benefits of using a purchase order

  • Commitment information is reflected on finance reports
  • Budget review reflects encumbrance upon initiating purchase requisition
  • Enables department to track purchase requisition from purchase-to-payment
  • Faster turnaround on payments to vendors
  • Improved procurement information

Examples of Commodities

Purchases Over $10,000 Purchases Under $10,000
(Always use PO) (May use PO if desired – Consider Using Pcard)
Vehicles Office supplies
Building projects Conference fees
Services under contract Food and catering
Furniture and office equipment Instruction/lab supplies
Computer hardware and software Equipment under $10,000
Electrical and mechanical equipment Travel expenses; air, hotel, taxi, meals