Business Services

Frequently Asked Purchasing Questions

  1. To avoid using a form, use a PCard if possible (non Restricted Items less than $3000).
  2. Use a Purchase Form for buying things. For the differences between the ways you can use a Purchase Form (PO, Open Order or Check Request) see our Payment Vehicles page.
  3. Use a Services / Reimbursement form to pay for services or get reimbursed for purchases.

Also note that the Purchase Form is NOT a Purchase Order. Do not give or fax a copy of the Purchase Form to a Vendor. This document is meant only for use within Western's Purchasing System. If the Vendor says they need a Purchase Order, make a note on the Purchase Form and Purchasing will create a Purchase Order and send it to the Vendor.

Contact Accounts Payable at: accounts.payable@wwu.edu.

The University is required to pay tax on all purchases just as any other business or consumer must do. WWU is not tax exempt. We pay either a sales tax (as specified by RCW 82.08) or a use tax (RCW 82.12) on almost all purchases. The only exceptions are exemptions for certain categories such as food, advertising, research equipment or professional services.

Sales Tax should be represented on price quotes and invoices from vendors who are registered with the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Use Tax is a compensating tax that we pay to the State of Washington. It will always be our current local tax rate and Accounts Payable will add it to invoices from vendors who are not registered with the Washington State Department of Revenue.

A PCD prefix on the document number in Banner or Millenium means this was a purchase placed with a WWU PCard. If you used your own PCard to place the order, you probably recognize the information you see. You may see a PCD document even if you don't have a PCard. Purchasing and Accounts Payable sometimes use their PCards to place order or process Check Requests per a Purchase Form you have sent them.

To claim sole source we must be able to document in detail that we have searched for alternative sources, and there must be a written description of what the special conditions or requirements are which make the purchase justifiable to only one source. The Request for Sole Source Approval Form has been developed to aid in documenting. If you have trouble with the form, contact Purchasing for help with determining the extent of support necessary to support the request.

Brand or model name is not usually sufficient to justify sole source. Often, these brands are available from several different distributors or retailers. In this case, instead of doing a sole source form, indicate on the Purchase Form why an equivalent brand or model will not serve your purpose.

Any purchase for goods or services with a total value (less tax and freight) equal to or exceeding $3,000 requires a competitive quote from three sources (verbal quotes are acceptable under $3,000).

Any solution that is projected to exceed $46,000 shall at a minimum be posted on Washington's Electronic Business Solution (WEBS).

To get the best price! Competitive quoting fulfills our obligation to the business community who, as taxpayers, expect to be given a fair and equal chance at participating in the business the University has to award.

It's also the law! The dollar amounts for competitive quote requirements are specified in the Revised Code of Washington (specifically RCW 43.19.1906).