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Purchasing FAQ

Save yourself from making a phone call! Click your question below to find the answer...
  • If you cannot find your answer below, please contact Summer Hensley by any of these methods:
    • E-Mail
    • Telephone 713.500.5612
    • Room MSB 7.201
1. How do I buy the goods and services I need to perform my job at UT?

UTHealth purchases goods and services by determining the products and the suppliers that will afford the university the "best value."

2. What is "best value", and how is it determined?

Recent legislative changes in the purchasing statutes for higher education have made "best value" procurement possible.

Best value means the optimum combination of economy and quality to achieve the objectives of the end user and the university. To determine this optimum combination, decisions must be made on some pre-purchase evaluation criteria pertaining to specific purchases. There are different guidelines for purchasing goods and services as well as special services like consulting or professional services from architects.

These criteria might involve some or all of the following examples: price, quality, service after the sale, reputation of the vendor, delivery time, cost for training or installation and even trade-in or surplus value when you are through using the item. The list can go on to include as many specific criteria for your purchase that is needed to make the evaluation.

 

3. The vendor has asked me to sign an agreement/contract/quote. Should I sign it?

NO, do not sign anything!  Contact Summer Hensley for agreements and contracts, or Ismael Perez for software licenses.  Read below for more details.

Sofware Licenses:  Often with software licenses, the vendor will request that a software license agreement be signed in addition to the purchase order. This agreement will add terms and conditions concerned with use of the software that don’t appear on a standard purchase order. You should never sign a software license agreement!  Always contact our LAN Manager (Ismael Perez) when dealing with any type of software licensing document or written contractual agreement presented by a vendor.

Other Agreements and Contracts:  Other agreements and contracts are still subject to all of the Purchasing guidelines. If the agreement is in place of a purchase order, documentation of competitive bidding or sole source justification is still required. If a software license agreement is processed in conjunction with a purchase order, both the agreement and the purchase order are required and processed simultaneously. You must note the document ID of the purchase order on the software license agreement and include a note to your buyer on the purchase order document indicating a software license agreement is being processed.

It is best to have only one type of contractual document - the type that best suits the purchase. The written contractual agreement contains all the legal conditions pertaining to that specific agreement. Once it is signed by both parties as agreed upon, if something was left out and it is not contained within the "four corners" of that document, it isn't in the contract, regardless of who said what to whom.

 

4. Do I have to get competetive bids for everything I buy?

No, you do not. In fact, you can buy most items up to $5,000 without taking competitive bids, as long as what you are buying benefits the university. Of course, comparing prices and "shopping around" is always a good practice. You should also keep in mind purchasing from Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) when possible to meet the university's HUB goals. Visit the university's HUB Program Overview page to learn more.

For purchases over $5,000, Summer Hensley can accept quotes by fax, e-mail, or hard copy.  Your purchasing document must include a full description of the items being purchased and reflect other information from the vendor's quote such as the FOB, delivery time, any part numbers and shipping charges.  Your buyer in the Purchasing Office may request a copy of the quote as backup documentation for the purchase order.

 

5. I'd like to get a BuyCard. What do I need to do?

With your P.I. or supervisor’s approval, complete the application form and obtain all necessary signatures.  Then submit your form to Summer Hensley for processing.   The application form and more information on the university's BuyCard Program can be found here.

6. I'd like to puchase something that costs UNDER $5,000 from a specific vendor. Is there anything special that I need to do?

As long you are using a university approved vendor, as long as what you are buying has a direct benefit to the university, and as long as it is an allowable expense on your funding source, then you are free to submit your order for processing.  See the answer given under question #9 about how to create a purchase order.

 

7. I'd like to puchase something that costs OVER $5,000 from a specific vendor. Is there anything special that I need to do?

Occasionally you may find that you need to purchase a good/service that will cost over $5,000.  Routinely, orders over $5000 will go through a bidding process with various vendors.  If you want to purchase your item from a specific vendor and bypass the bidding process altogether, you will need to complete a Request for Consideration of Sole Source or Proprietary Purchase form. In the event that you need to purchase a maintenance agreement for your equipment, you will need to complete a Request for Consideration of Sole Source or Proprietary Purchase form that includes the OEM detail. These completed forms need to be submitted to Summer Hensley.

For purchases over $5,000, Summer Hensley can accept quotes by fax, e-mail, or hard copy.  Your purchasing document must include a full description of the items being purchased and reflect other information from the vendor's quote such as the FOB, delivery time, any part numbers and shipping charges.  Your buyer in the Purchasing Office may request a copy of the quote as backup documentation for the purchase order.

 

8. How do I pay an invoice?

If a service or good has already been received from the vendor, without going through the PO process, you will need to pay their invoice by completing a Non-PO Voucher Form. Then submit the form to Summer Hensley along with the invoice.  

To pay an invoice submitted by the vendor for a pre-arranged purchase that a PO was established, make sure the PO is on the invoice, sign the invoice; approving payment and satisfaction with the service or product, then send it to Summer Hensley.

Click here to find out more about the university's procedures related to purchasing, payments, and bid procedures.

 

9. How do I create a Purchase Order (PO)?

To get a PO, you need to fill out a Requisition Form and submit it to Summer Hensley. Read more about UTHealth's Procurement procedures here.  Additionally, if you are using a vendor that has not been used before, you will need to contact Summer Hensley to confirm that the vendor is approved within the UT system. If they are not already approved, please have your vendor complete either of these forms (W9 or  W8). The form must be signed and it must include a valid "remit to" address. Finally, the completed W9 or  W8 form must be submitted to the Financial Office.  IMPORTANT: The vendor approval process must take place BEFORE the order is placed.

 

10. What CAN'T I buy?

Really, you can't buy anything. Only personnel with delegation from the president of the institution can obligate the university to buy something.  Only a small handful of personnel in Purchasing and a designated few areas have delegation from the president to issue purchase orders or sign contractual agreements that obligate funds for the university. Prior to making a purchase, a signed purchase order or contract must be in place and signed by an authorized signer. Most university personnel, including the person entering your electronic requisitions, only have "requisitioning authority."

The closest you can come to actually "buying" something is if you have been issued a university Procurement Card (BuyCard). When you make a purchase against the card, you obligate the University to reimburse the bank that owns that card.You can't sign contracts either, nor can most of your bosses. If you attempt to do so, the contract is voidable - and causes untold problems. Unless specifically delegated by the president of the institution, no one can obligate the University by signing a business contract. No one but the president can delegate that authority (Regent's Rule, Part 2, Chapter XI, Section 1).

Business contracts can only be signed by the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the institution and/or his designees who have received delegated signature authority directly from the president of the institution.  AND, THEY ARE SIGNED ONLY AFTER extensive scrutiny of the contract language and the negotiation of acceptable terms and conditions between the university and the contracting party.

IN GENERAL, NO STAFF OR FACULTY MEMBER, DEAN OR CHAIRPERSON HAS THE AUTHORITY TO SOLICIT, SELECT, OR OBLIGATE UTHealth IN ANY CONTRACTUAL MATTER OR SIGN AN AGREEMENT.

 

12. I'd like to take a piece of eqipment off premises. What should I do to get permission?
13. I lost my key and need a replacement. How do I get one?

You need to complete a New Key/Key Replacement Form and submit it to Summer Hensley. To request a door key, add the room number to the box on the form. If a key is needed for a cabinet, the lock mechanism on the cabinet holds the key code. Add the code to the box on the form. If you need a new key for a desk, the desk plate holds the key code. Include that number on your form.

 

 

Department Financial Forms

Purchasing and Financials | Time and Reporting | Human Resources | Travel | Buycard | Capital Assets
Miscellaneous | Links and Resources

NOTE: The office of Finance and Business Services provides an online repository for the most current versions of forms used throughout the University.

Purchasing and Financials

Time Reporting

Human Resources

Travel

Procurement Services and Buycard

Capital Assets Management

Miscellaneous

Other Related Links and Resources


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Date Last Modified: August 19, 2013 4:05 PM
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