Changes to purchasing procedures aimed at simplifying processes for employees


Employees who purchase everything from pens to lab equipment for the University will benefit from several new changes in the procedures for buying and paying for goods and services.

A committee comprised of representatives from across campus spent a year reviewing the purchasing procedures on campus and came up with a number of suggestions aimed at improving and simplifying the process for buying and paying for goods, as well as empowering employees who make purchasing decisions.

Duc Le, assistant vice-president finance, says the new process will give employees more flexibility in paying for goods and more autonomy when making purchases. “All areas on campus buy something. Whether it be a pencil, furniture, or expensive laboratory equipment. The new process will make it simpler for those involved in the buying of goods to do so.”

The new process, inspired by President Peter George's “Directions Three” document, follows through on the University's plan to make the administrative process flow smoother.

Le stresses, however, that the new process is not mandatory. “We want to offer flexibility. If the old way (for purchasing goods and services) works better for your department, you are under no obligation to change. Whatever works best for you.”

One significant change users will notice is that the cheque requisition and acquisition card may be used for goods valued less than $2,500. The previous limit was $500.

Another major change is the introduction of electronic forms. The Payment Request form will merge the Cheque Requisition form, the Accountable Advance Request form and the Expense Report. The Purchase Requisition form will replace the current manual form. Staff will be notified as soon as the forms become available.

The electronic forms will not only be cost efficient, but convenient, says Le. “If you are doing research in Timbuktu, you can purchase goods and be reimbursed within days, instead of waiting until you get back to Hamilton.”

Guidelines for placing orders and paying for goods are available in a new brochure from Purchasing Resources and Accounts Payable titled “Buying and Paying for Goods and Services at McMaster University.”