Vendor Payments

Definition of purchase orders

Purchase orders are an agreement between a buyer and seller indicating items, quantities and prices for products that the seller will later provide to the buyer. After receiving the goods, the buyer will provide payment to the seller, most often through invoice processing (see section 2.3 Invoice Processing). For a full explanation about purchase orders, review the Procurement Policy found on the Procurement website.

A purchase order is required before a purchase or commitment has been made for the following:

  • Orders totaling over $500 (including shipping and handling, delivery and tax)
  • Any Technical/IT or furniture purchase (regardless of dollar amount) to allow the University to maintain the established standards
  • To obtain a blanket purchase order for the Campus Store
  • When a vendor requires a purchase order regardless of the dollar amount
  • For service agreements or contracts

Note that purchase orders are not required for travel expenses, meals, utilities, and conference fees.

Procedures to generate a purchase order

To begin the purchase order process, users must login to ProcureSU, Seattle University’s Procure-to-Pay system. Identify the good or service that they’d like to purchase and place the order. Orders will automatically be routed to be approved by the respective authority prior to entering into an agreement and generating the purchase order. Below is a breakdown of the approvals required for each expenditure level, note that they are cumulative. For example, a purchase order requisition is submitted for $90,000 would require approval from the VP, AVP, and Finance Manager in order to be accepted.


Expenditure Authority

Activity Manager

Under $5,000

 Reporting Unit Chair/Director/Supervisor

 $5,000 to $20,000 

AVP/Assoc. Provost/Dean/Head of Athletics/Librarian

$20,001 to $50,000


$50,001 to $100,000


$100,001 to $1,000,000


Over $1,000,000


Procurement will review the order and, if satisfactory, a purchase order will be generated and emailed to the company. The billing contact listed on the purchase order requisition will be copied on the email to the vendor and will receive an electronic purchase order. When a purchase order is created, an encumbrance is automatically placed on the budget GL Account listed on the purchase order requisition form, which reduces the available budget. This is a reminder that an order has been placed and a future expense will occur.

Procedures to pay an invoice that has a purchase order

Invoices should go directly to Accounts Payable but, if it is sent to your office, please check to see that the vendor included the purchase order number on the invoice before sending to If the purchase order number is missing, please include it. The only exception is when using a Direct Pay form in ProcureSU which allows users to attach the invoice.

When Accounts Payable receives the invoice, they will attach a digital copy to the Purchase order in ProcureSU. If the goods or services have been received and the price and quantity match, Accounts Payable will pay the invoice and the encumbrance will be closed. Partially paid purchase orders will have encumbrances that will remain open until the entire order has been paid.

For orders that have been completed because they were modified or canceled, or for orders that have been paid but remain open, the reporting unit should complete a ProcureSU Purchase Order Change Request form to close the purchase order and remove the encumbrance.

If an invoice or reimbursement requiring a purchase order is submitted for payment but failed to receive a purchase order before placing the order, the invoice or reimbursement will be sent back to the person responsible. They will need to go through the process of obtaining a purchase order before a payment can be made. By skipping the purchase order process, there is no guarantee that a purchase order will later be obtained or a payment made.

Definition of an invoice

An invoice is a detail of goods sent or services provided from an outside company to the University. The invoice contains a breakdown of the cost of each item, tax and shipping as well as a total price. The University receives invoices for everything from utilities to a membership fee for an employee. Accounts Payable will process the payment of an allowable business expense to the vendor.

Procedures to submit an invoice for payment

Prior to submitting the invoice for payment, it is the responsibility of the reporting unit to verify the quantity and condition of the goods received and the dollar amount stated on the face of the invoice. In ProcureSU, this is done by receiving the goods or services.  If there is a discrepancy, the reporting unit will need to negotiate with the vendor.

Invoices should be sent to  When using ProcureSU and ordering from a catalog, many of these invoices will be sent directly to Accounts Payable and be attributed to the correct Purchase Order.  When ordering from a vendor using a form or making a non-catalog purchase, if the invoice is sent directly to you, a digital copy of the invoice will need to be sent to  The following must be provided to the Controller’s Office to process the payment of the invoice:

  • Purchase order: The University requires a purchase order to be completed on all orders for goods and services costing $500 or more, including taxes and shipping. If the purchase order number does not appear on the invoice, write it next to the received approval.
  • Account code: The invoice must include the 17 digit account code from which the invoice is to be paid. This is not required when the invoice has a purchase order as the account code given on the purchase order will be used. If the account code has changed from when the purchase order was created, contact Procurement to change it before paying the invoice or complete a journal entry after the invoice has been paid.
  • Invoice: The invoice that details the allowable expense must include the vendor’s name and address, a breakdown of what was purchased, a total, whether or not tax was included in the total and a date of when the items were shipped. Statements and order confirmations are not the same as an invoice and will not be processed.  Invoices should be sent to to be attributed to the correct purchase order.  
  • Received approval: The received approval allows Accounts Payable to know the items were received in good order, the price and quantity match the purchase order, and the invoice is ready to be paid. This is done using ProcureSU.
  • Tax form W-9: If this is the first time using the vendor, a W-9 should be requested from the vendor and that vendor should be entered into ProcureSU using the Vendor Change Request Form.
  • Wire transfer form: If the invoice requires payment with a wire transfer, refer to procedures in the Wire Transfer page.

If any of the items above are not provided, Accounts Payable will require them to be submitted before processing, which will likely result in delays in payment.

*Note – The University has centralized printing and copying through Managed Print Services.  Purchases related to printing and copying outside of Managed Print Services will not be reimbursed by Accounts Payable.  The disallowed items include the purchase of printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, ink, and toner.  Maintenance by outside vendors on disallowed items will not be reimbursed by the University. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Chief Information Officer and Accounts Payable will need proof of the approval attached to the submitted invoice.