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General Procurement Information

General Information

With the exception of construction, renovation work, and other items restricted in accordance with policies and procedures, purchases of goods or services of less than $10,000 may be made by departments based on their discretion. Personnel with responsibility for initiating or approving purchases should refer to Fiscal Procedure F405 Procurement  and Fi0405-Procurement for detailed policies and procedures relating to making purchases within this range.

What if I need to make a purchase of identical goods or modular components from the same vendor?

To stay within this limit, departments may not make multiple purchases of or request multiple invoices for single purchases of identical goods or modular components from the same vendor. Requirements of identical goods or modular components from the same vendor that total $10,000 or above must be submitted to Purchasing Services by entering a Purchase Requisition in IRIS. Departments should make purchases under existing University or State contractswhenever possible. University personnel should obtain approval from their department head or business manager prior to making purchases. Personal liability and/or disciplinary action may result if a purchase is made without proper authorization.

A copy of the University's Tax Exemption Certificate (secure login required) should be provided at the time of purchase to ensure that sales tax is not charged.

Payment Methods for Purchases Up To $10,000

UT Visa Procurement Card

This is the University's preferred method of payment for most transactions below $10,000. For detailed policies and procedures relating to the use of procurement cards, refer to UT Fiscal Policy FI0530 (Procurement Cards) and Campus Fiscal Procedure F530.

NOTE: Purchases of sensitive minor equipment valued between $1,000 and $5,000 CANNOT be purchased on a procurement card.

Credit Purchases

Single purchases less than $10,000 may be made from vendors who will provide goods and services on credit without a purchase order and will invoice the University after delivery. Invoices for such purchases should be sent directly to the department receiving the goods or services and processed for payment in accordance with UT Fiscal Policy FI0410 and Campus Fiscal Procedure F410.

Petty Cash Purchases

Departments may use petty cash funds to make single purchases up to $10,000 from local vendors in accordance with UT Fiscal Policy FI0525 and Campus Fiscal Procedure F525.

Departmental Purchases with Personal Funds

With proper departmental authorization, employees may use personal funds to make single purchases of $5,000 or less for goods or services for departmental use and be reimbursed by the University. The Petty Cash Reimbursement Request (Form T-44), must be used to request reimbursement. Requests must include a receipt that has an itemized description and the price of each item as well as the total amount of the purchase. A cash register tape with a description and the price of each item purchased may be used. The receipt or cash register tape must be imprinted with the vendor's name. See UT Fiscal Policy FI0525 and Campus Fiscal Procedure F525 for detailed information about petty cash purchases.

The University of Tennessee bylaws specify that only the president, vice presidents, or other officials to whom delegated authority has been granted may legally bind the University in contractual agreements. Only purchasing officers are authorized to sign and issue purchase orders to acquire goods and commercial services. Agreements, contracts, or purchase orders signed by other University employees are null and void and do not obligate the University to pay for goods or services.

Who is Authorized to Sign A Contract or Agreement?

Authority to sign contracts or agreements on behalf of the University is granted only to the president, vice presidents or certain campus officials that have been given delegated authority as detailed in UT Fiscal Policy FI0420. This applies to all types of documents including, but not limited to:

  • leases
  • purchase agreements
  • rental agreements
  • Service/maintenance agreements
  • hotel room agreements
  • facility use agreements
  • research agreements (including, also, material transfer agreements and confidentiality agreements)

Additionally, this policy applies even if a transaction involved is below the $10,000 purchasing limit (or if no money is involved) or if a purchase order has been issued to cover a transaction.

NOTE: University personnel should be aware that personal liability and disciplinary action, up to and including termination, could result from signing a contract, agreement, or purchase order without having formal delegated authority. Departmental personnel should contact Purchasing Services for guidance if they are approached by vendor representatives to sign any type of agreement.

Contracts, leases, rental agreements, etc., involving equipment, supplies, equipment maintenance, or commercial services, regardless of dollar amount, must be submitted to Purchasing Services for handling. When necessary, Purchasing will obtain proper administrative approval. Contracts for personal, professional, or consultant services must be processing through the Business a Contracts office. Research contracts must be processed through Research Administration.

Call Us If You Have Any Questions

Should you have any questions pertaining to contracts or agreements or if you are aware of any such documents within your department that have been signed by unauthorized personnel, please contact the appropriate person listed below:

Michelle Newman
Contracts for equipment, supplies, or commercial services

Ms. Sandra Pulliam
Contracts for personal, professional, or consulting services

Dr. Debbie Smith
Research contracts, sub-awards, or material transfer agreements

Departments are responsible for creating asset numbers when an invoice is entered for payment into IRIS. Below is a summary of the procedure for creating assets in IRIS. Detailed instructions for completing this transaction are available within IRIS transaction AS01 by going to the top of the screen and clicking on Help >> IRIS Help.

  1. Requirement
    • Asset numbers are required for movable equipment with a value of $5,000.00 or above and sensitive minor equipment that is valued between $1,500.00 and $4,999.99.
  2. Go to Transaction AS01 - Create Asset: Initial Screen
    • The proper classification for sensitive minor equipment is 80,000.
    • The proper classification for movable equipment with a value > $5,000 should be chosen from the Òdrop-downÓ list in the Asset Class data block of the Create Asset: Initial Screen
  3. Time-dependent Tab
    • On the Time Dependent (TD) tab, leave the Business area blank
    • The Cost Center on the TD tab is M070000001 for our campus
    • The Resp. cost center is the E account that will be responsible for the annual inventory of this item
    • If the asset is purchased against an E account, enter the E account number in Fund field
      - or -
      if the asset is purchased against an R account, enter the R account number in the Fund field
    • Location (Building No. and Room No.) This is where the equipment will be located. This is important for doing inventory.
  4. Allocations Tab
    • Source of Funds
    • The Distribution Code on the Allocations Tab should be 003
  5. Save Asset
  6. Enter Asset # into the requisition

Definition: Justification for an emergency purchase may occur when time is limited and products or services are needed to protect the lives or health of persons, to prevent or minimize damage to University property, or to meet other critical requirements.

Exclusion from Competitive Bidding

Properly documented emergency purchases may be excluded from competitive bidding requirements under certain conditions. The purchasing department should be notified by telephone as soon as possible to expedite the purchase. The required form, Justification for Non-competitive Purchases and Contracts, must be completed within the the University's Purchasing System to confirm the emergency situation. As time permits, the purchasing department will try to obtain bids. Consult the Purchasing department for specific procedures.

Items Not Subject to Emergency Purchase

Emergency purchases cannot be made for commodities or services covered under an existing contract.

To document an emergency purchase of $10,000 or above or to request that a purchase of $10,000 or above be made on a non-competitive basis in accordance with Fiscal Policy FI0410 (Purchasing – Bidding Requirements).

The following steps must be followed in processing a Purchase Requisition that has a corresponding Non-Competitive Justification (NCJ):

  • Contracts: Departments seeking to justify a sole-source purchase associated with a contact must complete the NCJ field in the University's Contract Management System.
  • Requisitions/Purchase Orders: Departments must attach the NCJ form in UT Market Place. Please see these instructions for more information

This is a summary of the procedure for requesting a purchase order (PO) change or cancellation.

The originating department will take the initial step to request PO modification. To communicate the request to Purchasing Services, the originating department will send an e-mail to The e-mail is to include the PO# along with a description detailing the changes that need to be made. For example: change in quantity and/or change in unit price and/or account assignment and or add additional item(s).

The following policies and procedures apply to the purchase of equipment, supplies, and commercial services and to the disposition of surplus property at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center(UTHSC). For guidance relating to the purchasing functions in UT Market Place, refer to UT Market Place Training for the Purchasing function.

UT System-Wide Procurement Fiscal Policies

UTHSC Campus Fiscal Procedures

All Policies and Procedures

May 26, 2022