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.

When purchases are made at the end of the fiscal year, it is important to make sure the purchases are made and the charges are appropriately recorded for that fiscal year by the cut-off dates. Otherwise, the charges may roll over to the next fiscal year and the departments can end up paying twice, that is, losing the funds allocated in the budget for the purchase in one fiscal year (if the purchase is made from general revenue funds) and letting the charges roll over to the following year’s budget and paying again for the same purchase.

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.