IX.2. Purchasing Materials

Departments usually purchase a variety of items such as office supplies, equipment (computers, lab equipment, etc.), software, furnishings, professional/artistic services, etc. Even though department office staff may be responsible for placing orders for items, department chairs must familiarize themselves with NIU’s Procurement Policies and Procedures and make sure necessary funds are available in appropriate lines before authorizing the purchase of items and services for the department.

Procurement Services’ website at http://www.niu.edu/procurement contains a wealth of information on procurement policies and procedures, when a formal bid is required for purchasing an item or service, purchasing cut-off dates for a particular fiscal year, various forms to be used for purchasing items or services, sole-source justification, P-Card (departmental credit card) forms and procedures, and other useful information such as discounted car rental agreement and hotel agreement for NIU faculty and staff.

If making purchases at the end of a fiscal year, it is important to meet all purchasing deadlines so that the charges are appropriately recorded and expended for that fiscal year. Missing deadlines could result in charges "rolling over" to the next fiscal year. If purchasing from general revenue funds this could mean having to spend funds from the next fiscal year budget while leaving funds from the current fiscal year budget unspent. 

Some purchases that require agreements with vendors will also require the review and approval of the agreement documents by University Legal Services before the item or service can be purchased. Contact the Procurement Services’ office for additional information on procurement policies and deadlines.

Office supplies can be ordered through NIU’s Central Stores and their catalog and related information can be found at http://www.finfacil.niu.edu/MaterialsMgt/centralStoresIndex.html. Departments can also obtain a bookstore card for purchasing items from the University Bookstore. The bookstore card can be obtained by contacting the Holmes Student Center Accounting Office at 815-753-1427.