New Fiscal Year Budget Planning

As FY21 comes to a close, budgetary planning for FY22 is well underway.  Are you planning to purchase any new software, equipment, or services that will cost more than $15,000 and is not available from an approved contract vendor?  Now is a good time to discuss your spending plans with Purchasing to ensure all can be accomplished in an efficient manner.  By planning ahead, you can avoid any unanticipated lead times or speed bumps along the way.  Also, if the items you need have to be competitively bid, planning ahead will allow enough time for that process which normally takes 3 to 4 weeks minimum, but can take longer in some cases.  Please contact the appropriate Senior Buyer to assist with any questions you have about upcoming purchases.  Please refer to our Purchasing Guidelines for additional information.

Did You Know? – State of Alabama Competitive Bid Threshold

As a State agency, the University is subject to the State of Alabama bid law.  Per Section 41-16-20 of the Code of Alabama, any purchase request or contract for like or similar products and/or services that total $15,000 or more must be competitively bid (with limited exceptions). A purchase request or contract cannot be split up to avoid the $15,000 bid threshold.  If you are not familiar with this requirement, we encourage you to review the University’s Purchasing Guidelines.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a Purchasing Senior Buyer for assistance.

buyBAMA – When do I need to request a Change Order?

With PO Invoices now routing through Concur, Change Orders in buyBAMA are not always necessary. Through the PO Invoice approval workflows, departments and Purchasing have the ability to approve PO Increases through the invoice payment process instead of issuing a Change Order.

Situations that require a Change Order:

  • Encumber Additional Funds: If the project is on-going and you need to encumber additional funds to keep the PO open
  • Vendor Needs Updated Copy: If there is a project change and the vendor needs an updated copy of the PO
  • FOAP Change: If you need to change the FOAP the items are being charged to

Situations that do not require a Change Order:

  • Increased Final Invoice: If the final invoice is higher than the PO, it can be submitted and approved through Concur PO Invoice
  • Decreased Final Invoice: If the final invoice is lower than the PO, AP will pay the total on the invoice and then release the remaining funds

If you are unsure if you need a change order or not, please contact the Buyer in Purchasing.

Did you know? – Purchasing Solicitations

Purchasing administers all Invitation for Bids (IFBs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) electronically, through ESM Sourcing.  Sourcing is a software module from ESM Solutions, the same provider of buyBAMA – the University’s e-procurement system.  All Sourcing solicitations are advertised publicly on a Current Opportunities webpage that is accessed through Purchasing’s website.  Through Sourcing, prospective respondents can access all solicitation information and can submit their responses.  Prospective respondents can also receive various automatic notifications through Sourcing such as new UA opportunities, all addenda for solicitations for which they are participating, and contract award status.  Since the process is 100% electronic, the use of Sourcing supports Procurement’s goal of increasing efficiencies through electronic processes.

Purchase and Payment Request Approval Form Updates

Effective 5/10/21, the Purchase or Payment Approval Form is required for expenditures over $50,000. The spending restrictions eliminating non-essential or discretionary spending will remain in full effect. For expenditures $50,000 or less, please be sure to include a detailed business purpose with your Expense Reports and Invoices that explain why the good or service purchased is essential. Expenditures $50,000 or less may be audited to confirm compliance with the spending restrictions described above.

For more information, see the Purchase and Payment Request Approval Forms Submittal Guidance.

PO Invoices in Concur

We are excited to announce that we are incorporating the processing of invoices on purchase orders (PO) into the Concur Travel and Expense System.  This will lead to efficiencies for both campus and Procurement Services.

This new process will impact any invoices on POs submitted after May 3.

What will change for campus users?

The biggest change for campus users is that you will no longer complete receiving on goods and services in buyBama.  This step will now be completed in Concur as described in the training materials below.

How will I submit my vendor invoices on purchase orders?

You will use Concur’s Invoice Capture service and email your invoice to UAPO_invoicecapture@concursolutions.com.  The invoice will be reviewed through an OCR process and will be routed to an AP invoice clerk.

If your invoice does not include a typed PO number, please locate the PO number and write it on the document and then email the invoice to acctspay@ua.edu.

How do I complete receiving?

A video demonstration and step by step instructions are avalble on the PO Invoices in Concur webpage.

What is the approval flow for invoices on POs?

All Concur items route to a supervisor for review and approval. Invoices on POs will complete this approval step. Following this step, if all information matches the PO, the invoice will route to Accounts Payable for final processing. In the case that the invoice exceeds the dollar amount approved as part of the PO review and approval process, the invoice will route to the appropriate buyer and then to the budgetary approver(s) on the org(s) affected.

What other differences should I expect?

Email Notifications – You will now receive email notifications regarding the status of your PO invoices as they progress through the Concur workflow and processes and transmit to Banner for payment.

Invoices that are Sent Back – In the case that an invoice needs to be sent back by the buyer to accommodate a change order in buyBama, you will simply have to “Unassign” the invoice from your queue and Accounts Payable will make all necessary adjustments. When complete, Accounts Payable will assign the invoice to you and you will be able to re-submit through the process.

Do you have any questions?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Accounts Payable at 205-348-7377 or acctspay@ua.edu.

Did you know?

As a State agency, the University is subject to the State of Alabama bid law.  Per Section 41-16-20 of the Code of Alabama, any purchase request or contract for like or similar products and/or services that total $15,000 or more must be competitively bid (with limited exceptions). A purchase request or contract cannot be split up to avoid the $15,000 bid threshold.  If you are not familiar with this requirement, we encourage you to review the University’s Purchasing Guidelines.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a Purchasing Senior Buyer for assistance.

Software Purchasing Tips

While software purchases should be treated like other purchases in regards to the University’s Purchasing Guidelines, there are some unique aspects to consider.  Please see tips below for software purchases:

  • Always check UA OIT’s software catalog first to see if the software you are seeking, or a similar tool, is already available.  If you, or someone else in your department, has a question about an existing software tool’s capabilities, contact OIT’s Director of Customer Relations, Meagan Bennett. OIT may have a software tool that fits your department’s need.
  • If not available through OIT, please check to see if available through a UA Approved Contract vendor.  If you are not sure if the software is available from a contract vendor, please reach out to Purchasing for assistance.
  • If you know the software you are seeking will be over $15,000, please contact Purchasing early in the process for guidance as the software may be subject to bid requiring additional steps.
  • Most software companies require the licensee (UA in this case) to sign an agreement of some type.  Any agreement that requires a signature will need to be submitted through Contract Management’s Procurement Contract Portal for review and execution.

OIT typically reviews all technology agreements prior to execution, however, it may be beneficial to seek their guidance early in the process to ensure there are no concerns with support for your acquisition before getting too far into the process. OIT recommends reviewing and adhering to their IT Use Guidelines for Software as a Service (SAAS) acquisitions.

DocuSign Vendor Disclosure Statement Process Improvement

In the past, only the vendor could start the DocuSign vendor disclosure statement form (“VDS form”) process.  The primary issue with the past process was that campus partners had no way of knowing when the VDS form had completed which delayed order placement, contracting, or payment.  Effective March 1st, campus partners will start the VDS form process.  By campus partners starting the process, they will receive a completed copy by email from DocuSign when the VDS form has been completed.  The individual who starts the process will need to know the name and email address of the vendor representative that will complete the form.  Additional information about this new process can be found at http://purchasing.ua.edu/vendor-disclosure-statement/.  With input from our campus partners, we are excited to implement this new, more efficient process.

Now is the time to Plan for Upcoming Purchases

This semester has been underway for a couple of weeks now and hopefully everyone is back in their “normal” routine…as normal as it can be during this time.  Please begin thinking about items you need to order for projects you are planning this summer.  In about 12 weeks the spring semester will be over, and thoughts will turn to these summer projects.  By planning ahead, you can avoid any unanticipated lead times or speed bumps along the way.  Purchasing manages over 200 approved, standing contracts that cover a wide variety of products and services.  Also, if the items you need have to be competitively bid, planning ahead will allow enough time for that process which normally takes 3 to 4 weeks.  Please contact the appropriate Senior Buyer to assist with any questions you have about upcoming purchases. Please refer to our Purchasing Guidelines for additional information.