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Unauthorized Purchases

An unauthorized purchase is one where a purchase is made on behalf of the university without the appropriate approvals being secured first

See the February 2022 presentation to the Purchasing Community of Practice on Unauthorized Purchases.

Unauthorized Purchasing Examples

Unauthorized purchases are those purchases that take place without prior departmental approval and a university-approved purchase order (e.g., AggieBuy, Kuali Financial System) in place.  The purchased item or service may not be inappropriate, but the selected purchasing method was inappropriate, against university policy, and unauthorized.

Examples of unauthorized purchases include:

  • employee purchasing a new computer for their office on a personal credit card
  • supplier doing repair work for a department without having an official Purchase Order established first
  • employee using their Procurement Card without securing the appropriate departmental approvals first

Acquisition of products or services on behalf of the university requires appropriate review and approval(s) BEFORE the purchase is made.  The appropriate approvals are generally required, at a minimum, from the fiscal officer(s) assigned to the account(s) that are to be charged for the purchase.


Risks of Unauthorized Purchasing

There are multiple risks of not following proper procurement methods, including, but not limited to:

  • Loss of future funding to the university as a whole (and not only to the department that used unauthorized purchasing methods)
  • Spending more than what would have been spent, had university purchasing agreements been utilized
  • Missing out on extended warranty and/or other service coverage from outside suppliers
  • Equipment non-compliance or non-compatibility with existing equipment/systems
  • Potential for misuse of purchasing power

Authorized Purchasing Methods

Authorized purchasing methods (in order of preference) include:

See the HOW TO: Buy page for a full list of approved procurement methods.

Using one of the official purchasing processes ensures:

  • All approvals are properly documented BEFORE the purchase takes place
  • The university receives the lowest overall cost
  • Liability and insurance concerns are properly addressed
  • Purchase meets the requirements of university policy, state and federal codes, and funding sources

Process for Requesting Employee Reimbursement for Unauthorized Purchase

Refer to the Professional Expenses page to learn how to process employee reimbursements.


Process for Requesting Supplier Payment for Unauthorized Purchase

This unauthorized situation occurs if a supplier has provided some type of service work before required approvals were secured on a KFS Purchase Agreement, along with the required signatures from the supplier and Procurement & Contracting Services/Business & Revenue Contracts. 

  1. A KFS Purchase Agreement document must be created, following the appropriate procedures
  2. A Confirming Order Justification Form (available on the Forms page) must be completed. The form must clearly explain why work began without a contract and what will be done in the future to avoid such an occurrence.
    • For transactions up to $500, the form must be signed by the department head
    • For transactions above $500, the form must be signed by the Dean/Vice Chancellor.
  3. The completed and signed Confirming Order Justification Form is to be electronically attached to your KFS Purchase Agreement document.

Unauthorized Purchase Reimbursement Request Can Be Disapproved

Confirming orders issued to suppliers or reimbursements made to an employee for an unauthorized purchase can be disapproved for multiple reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Use of an inappropriate supplier.
  • Purchase not appropriate for university use.
  • Price comparison shows the price to be significantly higher than the University’s price (including pricing on Strategic Sourcing Agreements).  In some cases, the amount of reimbursement allowed will only be for the amount the university would have paid, had the appropriate purchasing procedures been followed.

Purchases that are not appropriate or necessary for official university business (e.g, personal items) will NOT be reimbursed.


Personal Purchases

Although this information page is primarily focused on unauthorized purchasing methods, it is important to note that personal purchases are also against policy and never allowed.
 
Every university purchase must support one of the business purposes of the university:
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Service
  • Patient Care
Every purchase request, whether processed in AggieBuy, a Procurement Card, or in KFS, must clearly identify the business purpose of the requested goods/services.
 
Any instance of personal purchasing is to be repaid to the UC regents by the person who made the purchase.
 
There must also be documentation indicating what steps are being taken within the department to ensure that the personal purchasing will not occur again (e.g., training, etc.).

Policy

  • PPM 350-10: Procurement: Equipment and Supplies