Ordering and Contracting Policy

To review the full list of how to pay for supplies or services by commodity, including travel and entertainment expenses, click here to access the Excel spreadsheet of ordering and contracting methods by commodity.

Purchase Order and Direct Pay (Disbursement)

In general, the preferred method of ordering goods and services from registered suppliers at Boston University is via a shopping cart using BUworks Central. This allows the University to aggregate purchasing power and negotiate discounted pricing and other favorable terms and conditions from suppliers using executed purchase orders.

However, there are certain circumstances (listed below) where alternate methods of ordering and payment are acceptable to allow efficiency and greater convenience. These methods include low-dollar PCard transactions (less than $1,000), travel and entertainment expenses, or Direct Pay – disbursement transactions. Direct Pay describes the process for direct payment of purchases of certain goods and services outside the Sourcing & Procurement function. The Boston University Purchasing Card (PCard), Travel Card, or the Disbursement Request Form are the defined methods of payment for Direct Pay commodities. The list of commodities and product categories where Direct Pay methods are acceptable is included below.

Inappropriate use of Direct Pay in place of properly executed contracts or purchase orders can result in a significant cost penalty to Boston University. Purchases of supplies or materials not listed below as Direct Pay commodities must be purchased via a Boston University shopping cart/purchase order and are not reimbursable to employees or vendors through direct pay – disbursement processes (e.g., personal computers, cell phones, travel & meeting expenses).

To determine whether a supplier is registered, click here to access the Excel spreadsheet of registered suppliers.

All persons traveling or entertaining on behalf of Boston University and those who approve associated expense reimbursements are responsible for knowledge of Boston University travel policies and procedures and for compliance with sponsoring agency regulations governing travel and entertainment expenditures.

Types of Goods and Services; Direct Pay Commodities

The list provided below serves as a guideline to the rare exceptions of when a disbursement form is acceptable. To access the full list of commodities and payment methods, click here. In order to leverage total Boston University spend in certain commodity areas, Sourcing & Procurement may set up master agreements on behalf of the University.  

For vendor payments to be paid using a disbursement form, Accounts Payable will monitor all payment requests to ensure that payments abide by University policies and audit controls.