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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

Examples include an employee purchasing a new office computer on their personal credit card or a supplier doing work for a department without having an official Purchase Order established first.

Acquisition of products or services on behalf of the university requires appropriate approval(s) before the purchase is made.

What are the Authorized Purchasing Methods?

Authorized purchasing methods (in order of preference) include:

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

Using one of the official purchasing processes ensures:

  • All approvals are properly documented
  • 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

The university risks the loss of future funding if proper procurement methods are not followed.

Process for Requesting Reimbursement for Unauthorized Purchase

The process for an unauthorized purchase reimbursement depends on the dollar amount of the original purchase, items/services purchased, if the employee used personal funds to make a purchase, or if the supplier provided products or services without an official university purchase order.

Reimbursements are to be processed on the Disbursement Voucher (DV) document in the Kuali Financial System (KFS).  The necessary approvals, including that of the fiscal officer/account delegate, will be automatically secured when the DV document is processed. 

HOWEVER, additional steps are required for unauthorized purchase reimbursement requests for $500 or more:

  • A note should  be added to the DV document indicating what steps are being implemented to ensure that appropriate purchasing procedures are followed in the future.
  • Approval required from Department Chair
  • Approval from Dean or Vice Chancellor

The above approvals should be electronically secured by ad hoc routing the DV document in KFS or by electronically attaching the appropriate hard copy signatures to the DV document.

The DV document will automatically route to Procurement and Contracting Services for unauthorized purchase reimbursement requests where the total exceeds $500.   The document will be reviewed for appropriate approvals and notes before it is approved and the reimbursement issued.

Can an Unauthorized Purchase Reimbursement Request 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).

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


  • PPM 350-10: Procurement: Equipment and Supplies