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As a publicly funded educational institution Arizona Western College is subject to public purchasing laws and regulations including State Statutes, District Governing Board policies, and institutional procedures. We are audited yearly by the State Auditor General’s Office, to ensure that we are following this policy.

The following is not a complete compilation of purchasing policy but only serves as supplemental information to the Purchasing Manual.

First & Foremost

Only the purchasing department is authorized to obligate District funds through the issuance of a Purchase Order. Individuals placing orders without a Purchase Order may be held personally responsible for the purchase. The requisition itself is not a legal document and cannot be used to authorize a vendor to provide materials or services to any person or department nor can it be used to process payment of an unauthorized transaction.

The practice of requesting reimbursements for purchases made without prior approval of the Purchasing Dept through the issuance of a Purchase Order is not acceptable. If a situation occurs for which reimbursement seems necessary, please contact the Purchasing Department prior to the purchase for assistance so as to prevent violation of Purchasing Policy.

All funds irrespective of source are subject to purchasing policy. This includes grant and club funds.

Do not order anything unless you have space available to accept it in your area. We have a very small warehouse that is basically used as a staging area until products can be delivered. There is no storage. Deliveries which cannot be made with the mail will need to be picked up the same day they arrive.

The Purchasing Cycle

1. Requisition is entered online in Datatel by the requesting department

2. Approvals are obtained

3. Purchase Order is issued by Purchasing Dept

4. Purchase Order is then:

  • Sent by the Purchasing Department to the vendor for fulfillment of order, or
  • Hand-carried by requestor to vendor for fulfillment of order, or
  • Sent to Accounts Payable for payment (subscriptions, agreements, etc)

5. After satisfactory and complete receipt of goods, or rendering of service, the Purchase Order is sent to Accounts Payable for payment.

6. Payment is made when Accounts Payable has received a complete and accurate invoice.

Approved requisitions with all proper documentation and with correct account codes in amounts under $5,000 will generally be processed within 24 hrs of receipt by the Purchasing Department. Reports are run at 7:00 a.m. and approved requisitions are processed that day. If you need a PO on a requisition that was approved later in the day, give us a call. We will usually be able to process.


The first tool in the purchasing process is the requisition. Training for entering online requisitions is available through the TANS department. Please contact Teresa Livingston to schedule a training session.

Requisitions cannot be used for salaries, wages, benefits or travel. Payments for meeting registration fees must be submitted through Travel, not Purchasing.

Be very specific when filling out requisitions: part numbers, exact sizes, units of measure, quantities, colors, etc. The Purchasing Dept. as well as the vendor needs to know exactly what you want.

Make sure the correct account code is used on your requisition. If you are not certain which account code should be used, please call or email the Purchasing Department. Some things may not seem to fit a particular code, but our auditors have told us to determine what we will use and use it consistently. The “Frequently Used Object Codes” list can help you determine the proper code to use.

Use the “printed comments” field of the requisitions for additional information such as vendor contact name, vendor fax number, and any additional ordering instructions.

Use the “comments” field of the requisition for additional internal information that you do not wish to be printed on the Purchase Order such as justification of the purchase, etc.

Forward copies of any supporting or explanatory documentation to the Purchasing Dept. This could include applications, subscriptions, renewal notices, Professional Services Claim forms, Hazmat forms, etc. We cannot issue a Purchase Order until these approved forms are in our office. Be sure to write the requisition number on any submitted documentation.

We do not prepay orders. Purchase orders are contracts and as such, insure the vendor payment when the goods/services have been received. If, however, a vendor insists on prepayment of an order, contact the Purchasing Dept to discuss an alternate means of ordering.

We understand that not all situations fit normal procedure. Please contact the Purchasing Dept as soon as circumstances arise which may require “special handling” so that we may guide you in the best manner to deal with your situation without violating Purchasing policy.

New Vendors:

Before we can input new vendors into Datatel, Purchasing must first request a completed IRS W-9 form from the vendor and confirm that they accept purchase orders. This is done when we are made known of the new vendor, either by way of an approved requisition or by an email from the requestor. The length of the process depends upon the speed of the vendor’s response. To get a head start, it is recommended you send us an e-mail with name, address, phone and fax numbers, and/or web address prior to submitting the requisition. Vendors may register at at no charge.


We are NOT tax-exempt. Be sure to add sales tax to the requisition in the tax code field.

We must pay sales tax to the State of Arizona on applicable items when an out-of-state vendor does not charge us tax. Use the out-of-state tax rate of 5.6 % on the requisition.

Shipping costs are not taxable.


The requestor/initiator is responsible for tracking requisitions to ensure that necessary approvals are obtained. The Purchasing Dept is generally unaware of the existence of particular requisitions until the requisition receives its final approval. However, if you contact us with a specific requisition number, we can aid you in determining the appropriate next approver.

Approval Levels:

(NOTE: As of February 2009, VP approval is required on all requisitions using general or auxiliary fund monies)

Division chairs and department heads: approval up to and including $2499 within their budgetary parameters.

Associate Deans: $999.01 - $2,500.00 (if there is no Associate Dean for the division/department, the next approver would be the Dean

Deans: $2,500.01 - $4999.00 (if there is no Dean for the division, the next approver would be the VP)

Vice-President: $4999.01and over

ALSO, if any of the budget codes used falls in one of the following classes, additional approval is needed:

Microcomputing (account object code 5399, 5435, and 5699): Director of Computer Information Services or Director of Technology Support Services up to and including $4999 (total requisition amount) and AWC President if $4999.01+ (total requisition amount)

Food Puchases (account object code 5241): Vice President or Appropriate Dean for the department/division

Object codes beginning with 1 through 4, 6 through 7: Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services

Funds: beginning with 1 or 9): Director of Financial Services or Director of Treasury Services

Club Funds 9901-9906: Coordinator of Student Leadership and Activities up to and including $999 and Director of Financial Services for amounts $999.01+

Please note that there may be other approval requirements. These are just the most common ones. Please call if a requisition is in unapproved status and you don’t know who the next approver needs to be.

Special Condition Purchases

Catering and Food:

The general rule is that the College will not approve expenditures for food. Recognizing that in certain extraordinary circumstances the provision of meals or refreshments is appropriate and in the best interest of the College, an exception may be permitted if approved by the Vice-President or Dean over the Department and justification is documented (see next paragraph).

The purchase of food requires an “Official Function” explanation in the [non] printed comments field of the requisition. The purpose, participants, benefits, and date of the event must be stated.

Food items exempted from the Official Function category are: Cooking classes, resale by clubs, meals for athletic teams when Food Service is closed, meals provided in fees paid by participant, foods provided per contract to non-college groups.

All catering requests must be coordinated through the Conferences and Events Department. No external catering is permitted on campus (this includes any of AWC campuses). Our in-house catering group has first rights to any food service/ food purchasing that happens on behalf of the campus. They will either supply the food at a competitive price or issue a catering waiver for food to be purchased off campus. All PO's for food will be stopped in the purchasing department and the request be re-directed to the Conferences and Events department. This policy applies to any requests using institutional, grant, or club funds. AWC Purchasing Cards may be used as noted in the guidelines for Conference and Events.

Professional Services:

An individual (not a business) paid from object code 5240 (professional services) requires that a Professional Services Claim Form be submitted. This form is available from the Purchasing Department or online on the Purchasing webpage. As with goods, services are not paid for until received, and in some instances, insurance may be required prior to services being conducted. Please contact the Purchasing Department for a detailed explanation of procedure.

Current employees of AWC may not be paid through a Professional Services Claim process. Compensation for additional services must be requested through Payroll.

Computer Hardware and Software:

All computer hardware, software, peripherals, and any other equipment that works in conjunction and/or necessitates compatibility with a computer, require the following:

A) account object code of 5399, 5699, or 5435, as appropriate
B) approval by Director of Technology Support Services or Director of Computer Information Services (up to $4999.00 total req amount) and AWC Vice-President or President (if over $4999).

It is highly recommended that you contact the Helpdesk for assistance as soon as you determine a need for this type of purchase.


All furniture and facility-impacted purchases are subject to final approval by Facilities Management. While additional approval is not required on the requisition itself, the Purchasing Department will advise Facilities of any such purchases and will defer to their decision based on such factors as appropriateness of purchase, quality standards, adherence to OSHA and fire code, and vendor selection. Therefore, when considering this type of procurement, we advise you to first contact the Purchasing Dept and/or Facilities for guidance.


The college has a contract in place for the provision of high volume copiers. Please contact the Director of Purchasing for advisement on the purchase or lease of copiers, or any other issue relating to copiers.

Capital Goods

Capital items are defined as any single item or system of $5000 or more in value (including tax, shipping, and set-up costs), having a useful life of at least one year.

Capital account object codes begin with 56. For example: 5611 or 5699. Items less than $5000 may not be purchased using a 56 object code.


The College utilizes State and other Cooperative Purchasing Contracts. The use of such approved contracts meets the obligation for obtaining competitive pricing and thus the bid and/or quote requirement is waived. Please check with us for recommended vendors for your particular procurement to ensure an agreement is in place with the selected Cooperative Agency. The Purchasing Department reserves the right to change a vendor on a requisition if a contracted one is available for the same product/service.

Only the College President, VP for Business and Administrative Services or the Purchasing Department are authorized to sign contracts, agreements, and leases on behalf of the College. If someone asks you to sign any type of document which contains terms and conditions or pricing, please refer them to the Director of Purchasing.  Signing without authority may result in the signing individual being held personally liable for the charges incurred.

Bid and Quote Limits

Purchases between $5,000 and $24,999.99 (including tax and shipping) require three written price quotations of identical or acceptably similar products or services (if identical cannot be found). Printouts from the internet are permissible for this purpose. If three quotations cannot be obtained, documentation must submitted showing vendors contacted but not offering price quotations, or an explanation of why price quotations were not obtained. It is always recommended that requests for quotes be submitted to the Purchasing Office so we can assist you in obtaining the best price.  All services conducted on any AWC property MUST provide Certificates of Insurance to Risk Management PRIOR to services being rendered unless they are granted a waiver.

Anticipated expenditures of $25,000 or more per transaction require a formal sealed bid process. Contact the Director of Purchasing for an explanation of procedure. Please estimate a four to six week timeframe for the process.

The bid and quote thresholds are not applicable to procurements making use of a State or Cooperative Purchasing Contract (see Contract section above).

Requisitions ARE NOT to be artificially separated to avoid the quote or bid process. Auditors DO check for bid splitting!

Payments, Receipts, and Invoices

Remember, payments to vendors cannot be made until all the following have occurred:

A. A requisition was created and received all required approvals; and a PO has been issued.
B.   Accounts Payable has been notified by Purchasing/Receiving that the requestor has received the goods or services (or the PO has been “accepted”)
C. Accounts Payable has an original, complete and accurate invoice. (Please remember, to be included in the next payable to be run by A/P, the previous requirements must have been met by 5:00PM on the prior Thursday.)

Receipts for Goods or Services:

In the case of hand-carried PO’s to local vendors, make sure to return receipts within one week of issue to the Purchasing Department. This will ensure prompt payment to our vendors.

If you receive any goods that did not get checked in through Receiving, please inform Purchasing or Receiving and forward the receipt or packing slip to Receiving.

Receipts for off-campus meals must be itemized. The College will not pay for alcohol.

We do not know if a service has been completed and is payable unless you tell us. Please do not assume we know.


Although our PO’s instruct vendors to mail invoices directly to Accounts Payable, stray invoices often end up in requestors’ offices. Immediately sign and forward all invoices to Accounts Payable. This also applies to invoices which may have been e-mailed. Again, Accounts Payable cannot issue payment without having an invoice.

Accounts Payable cannot pay from statements (a list of outstanding invoices) or estimates/quotes. An invoice must have a minimum of vendor name and address, date, an itemized description of product or services, taxes if applicable, and total price on the vendor’s official letterhead or invoice form.

STATUS of requisition or purchase order

If you have a question about why a requisition or PO is in a particular status, please call Purchasing.

A requisition in the one of the following statuses means:

U (Unapproved or In Progress) = The “Requisition Finished” field was not changed to “yes”.
N (Not Approved) = Required approvals have not all been obtained.
O (Outstanding) = Necessary approvals have been obtained but a PO has not yet been processed.
P (Purchase Order) = A purchase order has been generated.

A purchase order in one of the following statuses means:

O (Outstanding) = Requested goods and/or services have not yet been received.
A (Accepted) = Requested goods and/or services have been received and the PO has been forwarded to Accounts Payable to await payment.
P (Paid) = Order has been paid.
R (Reconciled) = Vendor has cashed the payment check.

Dealing With Vendors

Do not place an order with a vendor without a purchase order unless you are using a Purchasing Card! Please also remember that when you use your p-card for services on site on any campus facility, you must involve Risk Management and obtain certificates of insurance from the Vendor prior to any work being done.

Do not promise an order to a vendor – all purchases and vendors must be approved by the Purchasing Department. Promising an order without authorization could find you personally liable for the charges.

Do not expect a supplier to provide layouts or design services without charge or obligation.

Do not accept loaner equipment or on evaluation.

Do not share pricing from one vendor with other vendors. This is not legal. Only after a PO is issued to a vendor can prices from other vendors be shared.


Peggy Hayes, Director of Purchasing: 314-9515

Stacey Lopez, Purchasing Specialist: 314-9518

Cornelio (Corney) Rios, Purchasing Clerk: 314-9517

Roger Torres, Mailroom/Receiving Clerk: 344-7511

Connie Wofford, Accounts Payable Supervisor: 344-7513

Olga Escalante, Accounts Payable Clerk: 344-7553

Purchasing Fax: 314-9529

Mailroom/Receiving Fax: 344-7747


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