Service Overview


Online purchasing application that will capture front-end approvals electronically. Individuals in a department will submit requests to buy something or pay someone. Once approved, the request will flow to the BSC for processing in the financials system.

Helpful Ohio State Purchasing tool: Choosing a Procurement Method


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Key Points

  • Alcohol purchases must be justified for business-related purposes, e.g., business meals or university events.
  • Alcohol purchases must be charged to discretionary funds. Conference (earnings) funds may also be used if the reception, meal, or similar event is included in the registration fee paid by the attendee. All alcohol must be charged to account 64430.
  • Documented approval per the departmental Delegated Signature Authority must be submitted to the College for all instances.
  • Alcoholic beverages are unallowable on sponsored projects.
  • Amounts expended for the purchase of alcohol must not exceed $20 per person (excluding tax and tip). Spending in excess of the per person limit could result in not being reimbursed the overage amount or being required to reimburse the University if a PCard was method of payment and the exception to policy is not approved by the Dean.
  • Alcohol may not be served in an on-campus non-licensed facility during normal working hours (9am – 5pm).
  • Alcohol is approved for dinner only, not for lunch meals.
  • The number of invitees to a business meal related to faculty recruitment should be kept to a reasonably justified minimum. As a guideline, four (4) participants plus the guest should be the maximum.

Procedure for Requesting Permission to Serve Alcohol On Campus

  • Prior approval from the Office of Business and Finance must be obtained if alcohol is to be served at a university event in a non-permanently licensed campus location, e.g., atrium, conference room. To arrange for such approval, a request must be submitted to the college office at least three (3) weeks before the event.
  • ‘University events’ include seminars, symposiums, or any gathering of University business.
  • The request is to be completed by the department’s responsible party, approved by the Chair/Director and then sent to the college office for Dean review/approval.
  • Security measures noted on the request form must be comprehensive.
  • The request will be forwarded on to Business and Finance by the college office. Alcohol may not be served at the event until the department receives written B&F approval.
  • The Authorization to Serve Alcohol Request form and instructions may be obtained from our forms tab.

Holiday Parties Held on University Property

  • The University has specific guidelines regarding alcohol for holiday parties held on University property. These guidelines should be reviewed before planning an event.

Procedure for Requesting Permission to Purchase Alcohol Off Campus

  • Departmental holiday parties held off campus at a personal residence, require prior approval.
  • Business meals at off campus locations (restaurants) do not require prior approval.

Purchasing Decision Tree – order of preferred method of procurement

  1. Internal Order (UNITS, UniPrint, Blackwell)
  2. eStores (Stores, Contracted vendors)
  3. Procurement Card (payments up to $2500)
  4. Convenience Order # (Reimbursement, Membership dues)
  5. Purchase Order (over $2500)

*Purchase orders must be created prior to ordering or receiving goods/services. After-the-Fact generated purchase orders are considered a policy exception and require college-level approval.

The Ohio State Purchasing Department has implemented cost savings initiatives by establishing favorable contracts for the University. These contracts are divided into three categories: Key, Preferred and Strategic. For reference, the complete contract book is available at

Key Contracts

Key contracts, listed below, have a mandated 100% compliance. Use of a non-contract vendor in lieu of the contracted vendor is a policy exception and requires college-level approval. If a valid business purpose/rationale is not given for the exception, the transaction may be denied and payback of funds to the university will be required. 

  • Coke – Only Coca-Cola products may be purchased with University funds. A comprehensive list of Coke products is available at:
    • Practical exception: Purchase of beverage items not available from Coke.
  • UPS – Only UPS may be used for outbound shipping. It is not a policy exception to pay for non-UPS inbound shipping charges, as we cannot control other institutions/companies shipping methods.
    • Practical exception: When it can be proven that UPS is not able to correctly or safely ship perishable items, e.g., shipments using dry ice that must be moved quickly to avoid ruining the item(s).
  • Staples – Ordering via eStores catalog is preferred. If item is not available through eStores, the procurement card may be taken to a Staples store.
    • Practical exceptions: 1. Item needed is not available at Staples (eStores, on-line or storefront) and there is no adequate substitution. 2. A price comparison is documented that the identical item is significantly less expensive from a non-contracted vendor.
  • ComDoc – Xerox multi-functional devices (printer/copier/fax/scanner). 
  • Plumbing Services

Preferred and Strategic Contracts

Preferred and Strategic Contracts are the contracts listed in the contract book for each category. Purchasing has negotiated these to get the best price for the University and prefers that these contracts be used.

Preferred Contracts: Special pricing negotiated for the University with multiple vendors to choose from in eStores catalog. Some examples are: Catering; Hardware & Building Supplies.

Strategic Contracts: Negotiated zero freight, handling charges and free returns. Some examples are: Computer Hardware & Peripherals; Laboratory Supplies.

Use of Preferred and Strategic contracts is not required, but if using a non-contract vendor, an explanation why must be documented in the eRequest. To purchase off contract, if the desired vendor is not in the University Vendor file, no new profile will be created and inactive vendors will not be reactivated for the purpose of creating a PO, making the PCard the preferred method of procurement.


Effective 8/1/2013 the Business Services Center will begin using a service center pcard for department purchases up to $7,500 when appropriate. Departments should continue to use their department-specific pcards as they currently do and designate those eRequest transactions as Pcard Preferred.

For all other purchases, the eRequest process will remain largely unchanged.  The following steps outline the process:

  1. Department initiates eRequest & selects Standard Request.
  2. BSC reviews transactions for compliance and determines which procurement method/vendor to use. BSC makes purchase using BSC pcard when appropriate.
  3. Department attaches receipts, packing slips, etc. to eRequest when items are received.
  4. Restricted categories will continue to go through central Purchasing. OSP-funded purchases will move forward as requisitions.
  5. BSC Procurement associate will reallocate expense per approved eRequest.
  6. BSC pcard approvals will be done by Procurement Lead.
  7. Department reconciles transaction to the GL.

What is the PO Closure Process?

The PO Closure Process is a manual process, which permanently relieves any encumbrance against a purchase order. PO Closure is FINAL - there is no reversal. Once marked, the Purchase Order will close immediately and return any encumbrance to the chartfield associated with the Purchase Order.

When should the PO Closure Process be used by departments?

The PO Closure process should only be used to release encumbrances on POs for which there is certainty that no further invoices (vouchers) are pending or forthcoming.

IMPORTANT! To determine if a Purchase Order is eligible for closure, consider the following:

  1. Issue change order in the Financials system?
    If the quantity vouchered is less than the quantity ordered, you must request a change order in the eRequest system in order to relieve the contractual obligations with the supplier beforeclosing a Purchase Order (this may not apply to all PO Types).

  2. Have receipts been entered for all capitalized and tracked non-capitalized assets associated with the Purchase Order?
    Receipts must be entered for all capitalized and tracked non-capitalized assets beforerequesting closure.

  3. Amount matched equals amount invoiced?
    A Purchase Order cannot be closed if there is a match exception. Refer to the PO Activity Summary [pdf] screen in the Financials system to verify amounts match before requesting the closing a Purchase Order.

  4. Has voucher activity occurred? 
    A Purchase Order cannot be closed if there is no voucher activity. Refer to the PO Activity Summary [pdf] screen in the Financials system to verify voucher activity before requesting the canceling of the Purchase Order.

Please contact your BSC buyer for more information.


College of Arts and Sciences Guidelines and Procedures
Non-Capitalized Equipment Tagging and Tracking
Effective October 1, 2014
Edited: 11/5/2014

These guidelines and procedures apply to any non-capitalized equipment that is purchased or reimbursed from any Arts and Sciences budget including OSP purchases. The overall scope is described in OSU’s Asset Management Policy [pdf] and includes items that:

  • are theft-prone (computers, etc.)
  • are sensitive (firearms, etc.)
  • contain sensitive and/or restricted data
  • require the AM0004 form (mobile equipment that could be reasonably expected to be used off-site or other equipment that will be physically taken off-site or received away from university premises). These forms should be signed utilizing DocuSign.
  • fall below the capitalized equipment threshold ($5,000 or more)

All of the non-capitalized items below must be tagged, inventoried and tracked by each ASC unit following these guidelines and procedures. The items include:

  • Computers (including locally attached external hard drives)
  • Mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, PDAs, etc.)
  • Audio visual equipment (projectors, TVs, Apple TVs, video/still cameras, audio recorders, etc.)
  • Servers and other server-related equipment (servers, storage, backup, KVM devices, racks etc.)
  • Network equipment (switches, routers, firewalls, etc.)

Items excluded from this scope are those that:

  • are considered capitalized equipment (follow OSU’s capitalized eq. procedures instead)
  • are classified as supplies (purchased on account codes, 61201, 61247)
    • i.e. flash/thumb drives, removable storage media, speakers, keyboards, desktop printers, monitors, etc.
  • are categorized as software 

Guidelines and Procedures
Items that fall within the scope defined above must be inventoried and tracked annually following the guidelines and procedures listed below.

Units must use consistent account codes for their purchases of non-capitalized equipment. The College requires units use the following account codes when making non-capitalized equipment purchases. Units may use different codes, if necessary, but they must use account starting with 655XX:

  • 65514 Computers and mobile devices
  • 65531 Research Equipment
  • 65591 Printers (excluding individual desktop – use 61247)
  • 65524 Audio Visual equipment
  • 65594 Server/Network Hardware ‐ non‐capitalized

Equipment Tagging
Each non-capitalized item must be tagged using an OSU Asset Management sticker. The college recommends that the item be tagged by the:

  • Equipment Coordinator for the unit or delegated individual, or
  • IT staff member who receives and/or prepares the equipment for use or
  • Fiscal officer who processes the purchase or reimbursement for the item.

For all units, the tag must be placed on a flat, visible surface within 30 days of receiving the item and the tag number must be recorded with the rest of the inventory information for the item. The Office of the Controller has non-capitalized asset tags available at no cost. Contact DeAnn Willis-Berry for tags, 614-292-6048, Willis-Berry.1@osu.eduOffice of the Controller.  

Equipment Inventory
Each non-capitalized item must be tracked using the unit’s own inventory system (local database, spreadsheet, etc.) to store the necessary information. The inventory must contain at least the following information for each item:

  • OSU Non-cap Asset Tag number
  • PR number (from eRequest)
  • Description of the item
  • Serial number
  • Model number
  • Current location of the item
  • Current custodian of the item
  • Location of the item’s AM0004 form (if applicable)
  • Disposal Number (enter when item gets surplused)
  • Comments on items received as gifts or transfers

Annual Self-Audit
The non-capitalized inventory must be reviewed annually to verify/update each item’s information (especially location, AM0004 form if needed, and person responsible), or to retire any non-capitalized assets no longer held by the unit. Each unit must confirm that its non-capitalized equipment self-audit is completed during the annual University equipment audit process.

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Guidance on Common Policy Interpretation Issues


Issue: If employee uses account, the receipt will say “not shipped” and will not charge the employee’s credit card until it ships. Also, if items are back ordered or ship separately, the employee is only charged for the items that ship.

Guidance: Request updated receipt, packing slip, or credit card statement after item(s) ships so there is documentation that the employee incurred the charges. They should only be reimbursed for the items for which they have incurred charges.


Issue: Tips in excess of the allowalble 20%?

Guidance for personal reimbursement with overtipping: BSC will reimburse amount of tip up to the 20% allowed.  


Issue: What should be done when sales tax is charged on the PCard?

Guidance: The university does not pay sales tax or use tax in Ohio and other states that have a sales tax exemption. Users of the PCard are responsible for ensuring that tax is not charged and for making reasonable attempts to recover any tax charged. All taxes in excess of $10 must recouped from the vendor or repaid by the card user. Any tax amount that is not recouped will be considered an exception and will need college exception approval. Pcard Policy 2.23 Section III.


Issue: Should an employee be reimbursed for tax for something purchased with personal funds?

Guidance: The individual should be reimbursed for sales tax. They should be encouraged to make future purchases using university methods rather than using personal funds.


Issue: What should be done if reimbursement is requested for beverages other than Coke products?

Guidance: Purchasing non-Coke products is unallowable per University Purchasing's mandatory key contract. The college should be contacted for exception approval before reimbursement can be processed. This policy should be communicated to all faculty, staff, and students.

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