Important Concepts

Here are some important concepts to remember when purchasing items in the UW system:

  1. Every purchase must have a clear UW “business purpose”. The business purpose may not often be apparent and may require a brief statement in a comments section on how the desired good or service benefits the UW.
  2. Purchases over $10,000 may require prior approval by UW Procurement Services in Seattle. Purchases over $100,000 require assistance by UW Procurement Services in Seattle. Before making these purchases, send an e-mail to
  3. Employees are not authorized to sign a procurement contract of any dollar amount. Only UW Procurement Services is authorized to sign procurement contracts.
  4. If purchasing computer hardware, software or other information technology item or service, employees must contact UWB IT to determine if the item is compatible with UW Systems, can be supported and configured, and meets technology security standards.
  5. DES Training is required by the State of Washington for all State employees that spend at least 10% of their time either purchasing items for the UW or handling other fiscal activities related to the purchase of goods and services. Contact FAS purchasing team at to sign up!

Purchasing Tips

  1. Understand the costs. The cost for a single order may involve shipping, installation, training, supplier travel, and sales tax. Suppliers readily issue quotations or may prepare a Scope of Work in writing.
  2. Allow adequate time for the purchase to go through the UW purchasing systems. Larger purchases can take two to three weeks to process.
  3. If you have a specific supplier in mind for your purchase, check to see if they are registered in the UW eProcurement System by logging into Ariba. Suppliers may need to be registered before an order can be placed.
  4. Food Purchases: See the Food Approvals website for detailed information.

General Purchasing Options

Determining the best method of payment can be tricky and you may need to consult the FAS purchasing team at

Below is a brief guide to the various purchasing mechanisms through Procurement Services. All of these systems are purchased through the Ariba System, which is accessible through the UW Procurement website.

Blanket Purchase Orders (BPO)

  • For blanket or standing orders of goods/services over a period of time and involve multiple invoices.

Catalog Ordering

  • For purchases from pre-contracted suppliers listed in eProcurement.
  • No dollar limit.

Check requests

  • Check requests are used to pay Home Land Security and H1/F1 government payments. Submit a Check Request as you would an invoice in the Non-PO Invoices system.


  • See the Procurement Contract Tips for more information.
  • All procurement contracts, regardless of the dollar amount, must be signed by the UW Procurement Services prior to purchase. Send an e-mail to for assistance.
  • It may be helpful to check the Procurement Services site to see if an existing UW contract or Washington State contract exists. The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) also provides the State of Washington Contracts. Note that buying through a pre-contracted supplier still requires prior approval through UW Procurement Services.


Non-Catalog Ordering

  • Goods not available through the UW catalog system but might have one invoice or price. Send an e-mail to for further information.
  • Purchases over $10,000 are reviewed by UW Seattle Procurement Services buyer.

Non-PO Invoice

  • The Non-PO Invoice system is an online tool used to make a payment to a supplier in eProcurement when a purchase order is not required. Only employees who have completed the online training are authorized to use the Non-PO invoice system. (Note: If you do not have access to the Non-PO Invoice system, send an e-mail to
  • Suppliers must be registered prior to a Non-PO Invoice submission. Determine if they are registered in the Ariba system as a UW Supplier by checking in the Non-PO system under “Supplier.” If the vendor is not in the system, ask the Vendor/Supplier to register the Supplier Registration site.

Payment to Non-UW Individuals under $10,000 (P2I)

  • Payment to individuals is a convenient way to pay individuals within the following categories: Honoraria, Royalties, Awards/Prizes, Non-UW Scholarships, Services, Performers, and associated expenses.
  • Individuals paid through P2I must be US Citizens or Resident Aliens. Unlike the Non-PO Invoice system, prior registration in Ariba is not required.


  • The use of ProCard is generally for items under $3,500 (including sales tax and freight).
  • For Procard purchases over $3,500, cardholders must request a single credit limit increase in the Ariba system prior to purchase. More information about ProCard can be found at: ProCurement Card Services | Procurement Services.
  • See FAS tip sheets and forms for ProCard purchases:
    ProCard Purchasing Tips (coming soon)
    ProCard Reconciliation Tips (coming soon)
    ProCard Refund Statement

Sole Source

  • Sole source is when goods or services are of such a unique nature or sole availability at the location required that only one contractor is clearly and justifiably the only practicable source to provide the goods or services.
  • Send an e-mail to if you believe your purchase meets this criteria.

Contact Us

UWB FAS serves as the advisor for UW Bothell purchases and reimbursements. FAS is the intermediary between yourself and UW Seattle Procurement Services to resolve purchasing issues. E-mail FAS purchasing team at

Send an e-mail to for assistance with the following:

Cell phone purchases or transfers
Compliance and ethics in purchasing
Consultant payments
Contractual issues and management
Department of Enterprise (DES) fiscal training
Equipment insurance
Equipment inventory
Field advances
Fiscal compliance approval or questions
Foreign vendor orders (import/export costs)
Hazardous material purchases
IACUC (animal product)
Internal Billing and billing other entities
Paying non-resident aliens
Prizes, gifts, awards to students, faculty or staff
ProCard purchases for advertising or items over $3500
Refunds on items purchased
Reversals of expenditures and refunds
Sales or other taxes associated with a purchase
Sole source statements
Student group travel arrangements and costs
Subcontracts for research
Veterans’ reimbursements by the DVA
Wire transfers (both payments and receiving funds)