Ordering Goods and Services

  • Check the Strategic Supplier List for goods and services available at contract pricing or through internal departments that have been designated to provide certain goods and services. 
  • Always include supporting pricing documentation for transactions. Bid requirements can be found on the Administrative Policy website.

Workday Punchout Suppliers: The University has partnered with several suppliers to provide goods at discounted pricing and with a streamlined ordering process.  Use Workday Punchouts for purchasing office supply products, Dell computer products, lab supplies and for catering orders with Brown First approved suppliers. 

Purchase Orders are required for the purchase of goods or services in excess of $3,000 or :

  • when the orders require review from another department (see restricted purchases section)
  • when the purchase will require multiple payments
  • when there is a Professional Services Agreements that is for more than $3,000
  • when the brown General Services Agreement template is used for payments of $3,000 or less that involve multiple payments (no BCM review required) 
  • the purchase of goods where the use of the P-Card is not permitted

There are four types of requisitions in Workday:

  • Blanket
  • Professional Services Agreement (PSA)
  • Equipment (non blanket)
  • Standard

When creating a requisition in Workday, the appropriate requisition type must be selected. 

Blanket Orders are to be used primarily to make payments for goods & services (not consultants) that are provided on a regular and consistent basis, and in some cases for the regular delivery of a consistent quantity of product.  

  • Blanket Orders are sent to the Supplier so they know the PO number to include on all invoices.
  • The University’s bid threshold requirements also apply to Blanket Orders.
  • Remember to include the description "Blanket Order" in the description section of the Requisition along with the applicable dates.

Transactions that do not require a Purchase Order:

These types of services payments can be made using the Supplier Invoice process and do not require a purchase order, including when the amount exceeds $3,000.

  • Central Office Payments: Audit and Tax related payments, Payroll Payments, Benefits, Insurance, Treasury Services/Debt/Banking, Investment firms.
  • Transfer of funds between Brown University and Affiliated Hospitals/physician practices in support of agreements between the organizations. Agreements are required and must follow the contract review and signature authority policies.
  • Utility payments
  • Guest Speaker payments using the Guest Speaker Payment form for payments up to $5,000 (For use when the guest speaker does not require a contract.  If a contract is required, a purchase order is required).
  • Legal services and settlements and/or use of an outside attorney (requires approval from the Office of General Counsel).
  • Real estate transactions initiated by the Real Estate Office
  • Payment of Professional Fees/Dues such as:• Accreditation Fees • Copyright Clearance Fees • Membership Fees • Conference Attendance Fees paid to the sponsoring organization
  • Sponsorship/donation from the University
  • Use of the General Services Agreement for services under $3,000
  • Payments for student prizes
  • Payments to nextSource, the University’s temporary staffing partner

For payments involving international wire transfers, please adjust the dollar amount to take the exchange rate into consideration.  

If there are agreements or contracts related to any of these transactions, the University’s contract review and signatory authority policies must be followed prior to submitting requests for payment.

In addition, there are departments that have specialized ordering systems such as Dining Services, Bookstore, Library and the Real Estate Office.  Orders processed through those specialized systems do not require purchase orders.  

Sponsored Projects – Sub-Awards/Sub-Contracts These agreements are managed by and approved through the Office of Sponsored Projects. Purchase orders may have been used for the purpose of internal budget tracking. 

A Professional Services Agreement is a contract used to engage a consultant, freelancer, or LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), to provide professional services to the University.  These service providers are called independent contractors

The first step in the process of engaging an independent contractor is to determine whether or not they can be hired using a Professional Services Agreement, nextSource (Brown's partner for temporary staffing needs) or, or needs to be hired through University Human Resources.  The Employee vs. Independent Contractor Checklist needs to be completed in order to document that the decision made meets IRS and Department of Labor regulations for the classification.  A second level review may be required by University Human Resources. 

Equipment is defined by Brown University as tangible, non-expendable, personal property having an anticipated useful life of one year or more and having a unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or greater. For additional information, please refer to the University's policies for property management

If a supplier submits their own terms and conditions, or alters the University's standard PO terms and conditions, a contract review is required. 

Standard requisitions are for purchases that do not fall into one of the above categories (blanket, equipment or Professional Services Agreement.) 

Other acceptable methods of ordering include:

  • The supplier invoice process can be used for payments to Suppliers that are less than $3,000 or are not for restricted purchases

  • Use a p-card for allowable purchases

  • Order through BrownBuys emarketplace


Export Restricted Purchases:  Items restricted by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) require special steps to define and record specific maintenance, use and storage procedures in a Technology Control Plan (TCP) and/or an export license.  Anyone purchasing items restricted by ITAR must contact Juliane Blyth, Associate Director of Research Operations with the Office of Research Integrity. Juliane can be reached at 863-3295, or by email, at [email protected].

Purchases Using Grant/Sponsored Project Funds: The purchase of goods and services using grant funds  requires the approval of OSP. When initiating the Requisition, the appropriate Worktags must be used so all appropriate approvals can be obtained.  Federal Uniform Guidance regulations also impact purchases made with federal sponsor funds. 

When ordering goods and services please consult the University's policies for Supplier Diversity and Environmental Awareness