The University of ArizonaThe University of Arizona
Financial Policies & ProceduresFinancial Policies & Procedures
 

9.18 Small Dollar/Direct Purchase Procedures

Purpose:To establish an efficient, cost-effective method for purchasing and payment of small dollar transactions by departments dealing directly with vendors.
Policy Owner:Procurement & Contracting Services
Compliance:

Intentional violations may result in the Director of Procurement & Contracting Services revoking the privileges of this program.



  1. Refer to 9.01, Introduction to Expenditure Policies & Procedures to determine which purchasing method to use. 
  2. Refer to 9.10 Requisitions/Reimbursements to determine the allowability of expenditures.
  3. Determine if existing University Contracts or Inter-Departmental sources can satisfy the need. If needs cannot be satisfied from existing University Contracts or Inter-Departmental sources, then select a vendor that meets your needs at a reasonable cost and use the Purchasing Card. Orders may also be placed via Arizona BuyWays.
    NOTE: Use of personal credit cards or cash for making small dollar purchases and then seeking reimbursement on a Disbursement Voucher for the item is discouraged because this is more costly for the University to process.
  4. Obtain competitive quotes prior to placing an order, whenever feasible. If practicable, Small Dollar/Direct Purchases should be restricted to Small Businesses.
  5. Orders may be placed by phone, electronic commerce, fax, at the Vendor’s place of business, or directly with the University’s Inter-Departmental source. 
  6. Orders should be shipped directly to the Department and not to Central/Medical Receiving except orders placed via Arizona BuyWays.
  7. When placing an order with a non-contract vendor always ask for the University discount.
  8. When the vendor is making the delivery be sure to provide the following: employee name, phone number, address, building name, and room number. 
  9. Refer to the Purchasing Card Policy for detailed instructions, including PCard specific restrictions, pre-approval and exception procedures when placing orders with the Purchasing Card. 
  10. If none of the small dollar purchasing options fit your requirements; if the vendor of choice is not capable of accepting the Purchasing Card; or if the purchase is not allowed on the Purchasing Card, prepare a Requisition. Note on the Requisition that the purchase could not be completed using the small dollar alternatives. If the vendor is not a Small Business, documentation must be provided with the Requisition as to why it is impracticable to utilize a Small Business.
  11. Misuse of Assets: All small dollar purchases must be used for University of Arizona business only, not for personal use. All transactions must benefit and support the University's mission of education, research and public service. Fraudulent or intentional misuse of the Procurement purchasing tool, including the PCard will result in cancellation of the card and/or possible criminal changes under the University of Arizona's Misuse of University Assets Policy
  12. Pyramiding Orders: Pyramiding, or fragmenting, is making a purchase greater than $5,000 and paying for the item(s) in separate payments of less than $5,000 over an interval of time. Individual purchases to any merchant may not exceed $5000 under the Small Dollar Policy. Intentional fragmenting of a purchase may result in civil or criminal penalties under the Arizona Board of Regents Procurement Policy. For more information refer to Purchasing Policy 1.2 General Acquisition and Violation Procedures
  13. Capital Equipment: Capital equipment cannot be purchased via the Small Dollar Policy. 
  14. Purchases requiring a signed contract: If a small dollar purchase must be accompanied by a contract requiring signature, send the contract to the Contracting Office for approval and signature prior to making the purchase.
  15. Strategic Alliances and University-Wide Contracts: Strategic alliances and University-wide contracts are agreements for commodities and services established to benefit the University of Arizona. By using these agreements, departments gain access to discounted pricing and a dedicated support team; as well as assist the University in obtaining benefits such as sponsorships, student initiatives, grant programs, training, professional development and e-procurement initiatives. For transactions made in accordance with this Policy, written documentation providing the justification for deviation from a University-Wide Contract or Strategic Alliance is the responsibility of the end user. Documentation shall be maintained in the department’s/unit’s files. A complete list of Strategic Alliances and University-Wide Contracts is available at Purchasing.

Auditing Small Dollar Purchases

  1. It is the department's responsibility to submit auditable records, including original documentation and proper authorization, for small dollar purchases to FSO Compliance when using the University Purchasing Card. While the transaction documentation is stored as imaged documents in UAccess Financials, the written documentation for deviation from a University-Wide Contract or Strategic Alliance shall be maintained in the department’s/unit’s files, and should be readily available in case of an audit.
  2. When small dollar purchases are made using Arizona BuyWays, Stores will maintain the audit records. 
  3. Internal Audit and a representative from the Procurement and Contracting Services department will conduct periodic audits to ensure that the procedures are being followed and that restricted items are not being purchased using one of the small dollar/direct purchase methods. Refer to 6.10, Account Management for additional information on auditing University records.