III. Purchasing of Goods and Services through the Procure-to-Pay Department

The GW Procure-to-Pay Department is the responsible oversight area for the purchase of goods and services for university purposes (procurement transactions and payables).


The Department is established to secure goods and services in a manner that is cost effective and efficient, compliant with applicable law, and utilizes formal solicitation where required or appropriate. P2P assists the university community in obtaining goods and services that meet requested specifications. They also:

  • Negotiate contracts with preferred contractors for items and services at cost-effective prices
  • Coordinate and manage, on behalf of the end user office, the review of contract documents by OGC, Privacy, GW IT and Risk Management (See below)
  • Manage the university’s systems and tools for purchasing goods and services, including EAS Oracle Purchase Orders, Gatekeeper contract management tool, iBuy+ Concur() Invoice, Travel and Expense, iSupply (suppliers registration), along with the university’s Procurement Card Program
  • Manage Travel Services and iBuy+Travel booking tool for individual and group travel accommodations
  • Assist in a Competitive Solicitation Process or Requests for Proposals (RFP) when required for a purchase
  • Review all necessary paperwork so that contractors are registered properly with the university to ensure timely payment
  • Issue Purchase Orders
  • Manage the expense reimbursement process along with the payment of invoices and other university payments

Procure-to-Pay Review of Commercial Contracts for Goods and Services

P2P manages both the procurement and contract review process for legal contracts associated with the acquisition of goods and services. University offices and divisions should send commercial contracts for goods and services with the necessary supporting documents, to P2P for review and processing through either (1) EAS/Oracle requisition or (2) Gatekeeper.

P2P receives the Purchase Requisition and manages the contract review process of the related contract documents on behalf of the end user office. The assigned P2P Buyer and Contract Associate reviews the requisition from a business perspective and coordinates all relevant collateral reviews necessary for the purchase, such as OGC, Office of Risk Management, Privacy Office and Information Technology. The P2P team will keep the end user office apprised of the status of the contract through the review process.

If the end user office has initiated collateral reviews prior to submitting the Purchase Requisition to P2P, the end user office should be sure to clearly indicate that in the requisition and include evidence of review and approval from the respective offices. P2P will ensure the contract is
appropriately executed by the supplier and the proper GW signatory.

P2P Review Turn-Around Time

The average timeframe for P2P review and processing of contracts is two (2) weeks. However, depending on the complexity of the contract associated with the Purchase Requisition, a supplier’s contract review may take longer to complete (as much as a one or two months). The review process includes all required reviews as well as the negotiation of the terms of the contract with the supplier. P2P highly encourages requesting offices to submit Purchase Requisitions as well in advance of an anticipated need as possible.

GW Information Technology requires ALL products, services and suppliers to undergo an IT Security Risk Assessment that:

  1. provide SOFTWARE or HARDWARE to be USED with or CONNECTED to the UNIVERSITY NETWORK; and/or
  2. process, store, or transact NON-PUBLIC and PERSONAL INFORMATION.

If a purchase or acquisition of an IT product or service requires an IT Vendor Security Risk Assessment, then the assessment process should
commence prior to submitting a Purchase Requisition to P2P. End user offices should allow at least thirty (30) days to complete that assessment process. IT Vendor Security Assessment requests can be submitted directly to GW IT. More information on the security risk assessment process can be found in Section IV of this Guide.

Methods of Purchasing at GW

Procurement Options at GW below (Table 1) presents a summary of the five (5) methods of procurement available to the university community.

Checking to see whether a good or a service can be obtained through a preferred supplier should always be considered first (iBuy+). If the good or service is not available through a contracted supplier, a P-Card may be used for standard purchases that are less than $3,500, as well as for purchases in higher amounts with established/existing contracts. If the desired purchase is not available through an iBuy+ contracted supplier and not possible with a P-Card, the competitive solicitation process must be used. These methods, as well as sole-source selection, are further discussed on the following pages.


  • Purchases of technology hardware, software or cloud services CANNOT be made with a P-Card without prior review by GW IT through a Vendor Security Risk Assessment.
  • Additionally, P-Card purchases of a product that processes or stores non-public or personal information MUST ALSO be reviewed by the Privacy Office (email the Privacy Office).

More information regarding GW’s methods of procurement can be found in the Procurement Manual. Contacting P2P once a need is identified will help to ensure that a purchase is made in accordance with the university's policies and guidelines and will be defensible upon audit. P2P can be reached at (202) 994-2500 or by e-mail.

Check out the Glossary of Procurement Terms later in this section to learn more about procurement terminology.


Table 1: Procurement Options at GW
GW iBuy+ Contracted Suppliers: iBuy+ includes a list of suppliers and vendors that are already under contract with GW. Check to see if the product or service available through iBuy+ Goods and Services or iBuy Travel. For further information, visit the iBuy+ website or contact the iBuy+ Hotline at 571-553-4477.
P-Card Program The Procurement Card (P-Card) is a corporate credit card that can be used for approved purchases of goods and services under $3,500. HOWEVER, any purchase of ANY IT software or hardware products or services that process non-public and personal information MUST FIRST be reviewed by GW IT Security and the Privacy Office prior to purchase (even with a P-Card!). Furthermore, any written (or
electronic) contract related to a P-Card purchase must be properly reviewed prior to execution by an authorized signatory. More information can be found on the PCard Program website.
Competitive Solicitation; Quotes or
Competitive solicitation is required before a contractor can be selected for the majority of purchases over $25,000 using university or non- federal research funds. Solicitations may be in the forms of a quote (formal or informal), bid, or request for proposal. For Federal funds, the process is a bit more detailed and it is suggested that you contact Procurement for additional terms and requirements
prior to engaging a supplier.
Sole Source Selection (Appendix A) Competitive Exemption List: If a good or service is on the Competitive Exemption List (and is not federally funded), an end user office may select a contractor with no competition, and the purchase may be paid by P-Card or via Payment Request form. Sole source selection is also used in rare situations when restriction of competition can be adequately justified. See Appendix A.
Emergency Purchases In the event of an occurrence that threatens the safety or health of the GW community, cause loss or damage to university property or environment, or disrupts normal university operations, the CFO may waive competitive solicitation and approve expedited procurement of goods and services to respond to the emergency.

Enterprise-wide Contracts

P2P establishes agreements for common commercial goods and services needed by many schools and divisions and monitors the utilization of those contracts. Many items needed by university offices can be acquired through these existing contracts. By using the university’s contracted suppliers, better prices can be obtained and less paperwork is required. The following is a list of systems and tools available to the university community for obtaining goods and services through P2P’s University-wide contracts. iBuy+ for Goods and Services is the  preferred purchasing method.

iBuy+ for Goods and Services provides an online marketplace for the acquisition of goods and services. Inside the iBuy+ marketplace, shoppers will find punch-outs to contracted supplier websites where purchases can be made with a university P- card. iBuy+ facilitates the quick acquisition of the items faculty, staff and researchers need in their day-to-day work. The following are some of the items available through iBuy+:

  • Office supplies, including stationery and business cards
  • Technology hardware, software and supplies
  • Lab and scientific supplies
  • Maintenance, repair, and operations supplies
  • Office furniture and more

iBuy+ Travel is P2P’s online travel booking tool found through the GW iBuy+ Travel website. The Travel Services office as well as GW’s contract travel agents are available to help book travel and take advantage of the university’s negotiated travel agreements. More information on booking travel at GW can be found at the Travel Services website.

Other Contracted Suppliers For some goods and services not available through iBuy+ (not every enterprise-wide contract fits into the iBuy+ format), P2P has negotiated contracts and established an easy ordering process. Purchasing these products through these suppliers minimizes paperwork, improves service, and maximizes the university’s buying power.

Information and ordering instructions for the following products can be found with the university’s “Best Value” suppliers on the Procurement website.

  • Bottled and Filtered Water Services
  • Shipping services such as UPS and FedEx
  • Temporary Staffing Firms
  • Catering
  • Translation Services
  • Document Shredding Services and more

Central Cell Phone Program Procurement also has agreements with mobile phone providers to obtain cell phone devices and service at a reduced cost. More information on purchasing mobile phones can be found at the GW Cell Phone Program on the Procurement website. The university’s discounts also extend to personal use of mobile phones and devices.


The university’s procurement credit card (P-Card) may be used for standard purchases that are under $3,500. P-Cards are assigned by the university to specific individuals. They can be used for the payment of goods and services found in iBuy+ Goods and Services as well as anywhere credit cards are accepted. Please refer to the Procurement Card (P-Card) policy for basic guidance and information for the P- Card program. The policy identifies what can be purchased with a P-Card and who can use the P-Card. If a P-Card purchase is for any IT product, including software, hardware or services that process non-public and personal information, the IT product must FIRST be reviewed by GW IT Security through a GW IT Security Risk Assessment, and the Privacy Office PRIOR to purchase. If a P-Card purchase involves a written contract, the contract must be reviewed and approved, prior to execution.

More information on P-Card usage can be found at the Procurement website.

Competitive Solicitation Process

If a desired purchase is not available through a contract within iBuy+, not possible by use of a PCard, and/or not on the competitive exemption list, a competitive solicitation process should be utilized. P2P assists with this process.

Note: The Competitive Exemption List is a list of goods or services that, due to their specialized nature, do not require following a competitive solicitation process. Examples of items on this list include: advertising, legal services, subscriptions, and memberships. A full list of exempted items is included in Appendix A of this Guide. The following questions should be asked to help to determine the necessary process to follow. 

Question 1: Is this purchase funded by federal contracts or grants?

  • Yes – For all purchases over $10,000 on federal contracts or in excess of $10,000 on federal grants or cooperative agreements, three (3) written quotes are required by requestor or Procurement. Formal solicitations are required at $250,000 on federal contracts and at $250,000 for federal grants and cooperative agreements. Because of the need for public advertisement of these opportunities related to federal contracts, Procurement must handle the solicitation.
  • No – Proceed to Question 2  

Question 2: Is this purchase exempt from competitive solicitation?

  • Yes – Goods and services on the Competitive Exemptions List (Appendix A) are exempt from the Competitive Solicitation Process for all purchases made with university and non-Federal sponsored funds.  Proceed to Sole Source Selection section below.
  • No – Proceed to Question 3.

Question 3: What is the estimated dollar amount of the purchase?

Based on the estimated dollar amount of the purchase, you should consult the Procurement Guidelines Matrix found in Chapter 2 of the GW Procurement Manual. The matrix lists threshold values for purchases and the actions required based on the funding source, the
procedures described therein should be followed.

Sole Source Selection

For certain purchases over $10,000 using Federal funds and $25,000 using non-Federal sponsored research funds or university funds, a contractor may be selected without utilizing competition by provide a sole source justification using either the Supplier Selection Memo (SSM) or Justification and Approval Form (J&A Form), as appropriate.

Goods and services on the Competitive Exemption List that are funded by the university and/or non-federal sponsors (see Appendix A) are exempt from the Competitive Solicitation Process. This means an end user office may choose a contractor and the purchase may be paid by P-Card, Purchase Order or via Payment Request Form University Payables. Purchases above the threshold for goods and services on the Competitive Exemption List must always be placed on a Purchase Order. Furthermore, unless requested by the end user office, P2P does not need to be involved in these acquisitions (except to register contractors via a new supplier registration or for contract 11 Contract Process Guide Version – 9-13- 2023 review and execution as needed). However, if the purchase involves a written contract, the end user office should submit a Purchase Requisition to P2P through EAS/Oracle Purchasing Requisition process or through Gatekeeper.

In other rare situations when a contractor is identified without use of the competitive solicitation process, the end user office must complete the Supplier Selection Memo for university and  nonfederal funds, and a Justification and Approval (J&A) form, for federally funded purchases. These documents should be sent on a requisition within EAS (Oracle R12) for approval by Procurement prior to payment processing.

Supplier Registration

Once a contractor is identified – through competitive solicitation or sole source selection, the contractor must register with the university in order to receive payment for goods or services.

Instructions related to registering a contractor can be found at the new supplier registration site on the Procurement website. 

For additional information on the procurement process please refer to the Procurement Department’s website and the GW Procurement Manual.

Glossary of Procurement Terms

For additional information on the procurement process please refer to the Procurement Department’s website.

  • Competitive Solicitation Process: A formal process providing an equal and open opportunity to qualified parties and culminating in a selection based on submitted documentation and established criteria. At GW, the Competitive Solicitation Process may be achieved through the issuance of an invitation to bid or a request for proposals.
  • Formal Solicitation: A formal invitation (publicly advertised if federally funded) to receive pricing or proposals, in the form of a request for proposal or an invitation to bid.
  • Invitation to Bid: A formal bid solicitation document that is used when (1) the estimate value of the requirement exceeds the threshold for formal bidding; (2) two or more sources are considered able of supplying the requirement; (3) the requirement is adequately defined in all respects to permit the evaluation of bid against clearly stated criteria; and (4bids can be submitted on a common pricing basis. An Invitation to Bid is intended to accept the lowest-priced responsive bid without negotiations.
  • Justification and Approval (J&A): A federal form required to justify the selection of a contractor when using federal funds in an amount greater than $10,000 from a federal contract or in excess of $10,000 if funded by federal grants and cooperative agreements, where the end user office does not utilize an informal or formal solicitation process (i.e., obtaining quotes or sending out an invitation for bid or request for proposals), when the selected contractor is not the lowest bidder or when contractor/award was explicitly approved by the sponsoring agency. The form requires a rationale for omitting the solicitation process. It is submitted to P2P through the online requisition for approval. 12 Contract Process Guide Version – 9-13- 2023 (Note: The Supplier Selection Memo is required when expending federal funds from a federal grant or cooperative agreement.)
  • Purchase Order (PO): A document issued by GW (the buyer) to a contractor, authorizing a purchase. It includes the terms and conditions that will govern the purchase and describes the purchase quantity and price. After a PO is approved by P2P, P2P issues a PO to the contractor.
  • Quote: An offer by a contractor for the sale of a good or service. An informal quote can be verbal (received by phone and documented in the requisition) or written. A formal quote must be received in writing from the contractor. Quotes are requested so that the university can get the best price and quality.
  • Request for Proposal: A request for proposal (sometimes known as a “RFP”) is used to solicit proposals from potential contractors for goods and services. Unlike the invitation to bid, price is usually not a primary evaluation factor when a RFP is used. A RFP provides for the negotiation of all terms, including price, prior to contract award. It may include a provision for the negotiation of best and final offers. Use of RFPs can be a single-step or multi-step process.
  • Requisition: A written request for an authorized purchase. GW requires submission of a Requisition for the purchase of most goods and services. If not generated automatically (i.e., through iBuy Goods and Services), Requisitions are created using Enterprise Accounting Services (EAS). P2P reviews the choice of contractor to ensure it is not in conflict with an existing contract with a preferred contractor. Instructions on how to create a Requisition using EAS can be found on the Financial Systems & Solutions (FSS) website. Consult your finance director or finance team on how to obtain access the EAS to create a Requisition.
  • Requirements Document: Documentation relating to a procurement that describes the good or service to be procured, such as a specification or scope of work. The requirements document is an internal document that P2P used to solicit responses (bids or proposals) from contractors.
  • Scope of Work (SOW): This is a written description of the contractual requirements for the materials and services contained within a Request for Proposal. The SOW can be compared to the specifications required for an invitation to bid. A scope of work should not be confused with a “statement of work” (defined in this Guide under Section IX “Common Types of Contract Documents”), which is a formal document that details the work, deliverables, locations, timelines, pricing, and other requirements of a contractor in performing specific work.
  • Specifications: A precise description of the physical or functional characteristics of a product, good or construction item. A description of goods as opposed to a description of services. A description of what the purchaser seeks to buy and what a bidder must be 13 Contract Process Guide Version – 9-13- 2023 responsive to in order to be considered for an award of a contract.
  • Supplier Selection Memo (SSM): A form required to justify the selection of a contractor when spending university funds, non-federal sponsored project funds, and federal grant or cooperative funds when the expenditure is $25,000 or more, where the end user office does not utilize an informal or formal solicitation process (i.e., obtaining quotes or sending out an invitation for bid or request for proposals) or when the selected contractor is not the lowest bidder. (Note: The Justification and Approval Form is required when expending federal funds from a federal contract.)
  • Task Order: An order for services (also called a “statement of work” as defined in this Guide under Section IX “Common Types of Contract Documents”) placed against an established contract (sometimes known as a Master Services Agreement). An example of a task order is the hiring of temporary staff against a contract that is already in place at GW. The task order would be for a set number of hours at the contracted rate for a specified type of position.