Purchase Orders

When a department or school identifies a need to purchase a good or service, the departmental requisitioner should complete an on-line requisition in the Enterprise Accounting System (EAS). The requisition is then received by Procurement and the necessary steps are taken by the Procurement staff to acquire the commodity.

Once all information is complete for a purchase, the requisition will be turned into a Purchase Order. A Purchase Order (PO) is a written authorization from the university requesting a supplier to provide goods or services.

When a signed Purchase Order is accepted by a supplier, a contract is created. The George Washington Standard Terms and Conditions will govern the purchase and acts as an offer from the university to purchase the requested items. The offer is accepted by the supplier when they supply the requested items. The contract is formed through offer and acceptance, and the supplier can expect payment by the university in return for the delivered items. GW is required to enact data protection obligations upon Service Providers that process personal data that originates from the European Economic Area/European Union (EEA/EU). In the event that the Service Provider intends to process GW data from the EEA/EU, the Data Protection Addendum for Attachment E (PDF) must be included with the Purchase Order. Appendix 1 of Schedule 1 of Attachment E should be completed and sent to[email protected]

The University reserves the right to pay any or all amounts due under the contract by using either a procurement card (p-card) or a Single Use Account (SUA) method of payment. The Contractor must accept the University’s p-card or a SUA method of payment, as applicable. Contractor is prohibited from charging the University any additional fee, charge, or other obligation related to the University’s use of either a p-card or a SUA method of payment.

Proper GL Codes

Purchases of goods and services are charged to "natural accounts". These are five digit numbers that determine in which account the expense is recorded on GW's financial statements.

To properly record the purchase of goods and services, you must have a basic understanding of GW's accounting structure. If you are unfamiliar with this structure, please contact the Office of the University Controller.

Generally, purchasers of goods and services will use natural accounts in the following ranges:

52xxx - General operating expenses
53xxx - Travel/training/communications
54xxx - Materials and supplies
55xxx - Purchased services

The Interactive Chart of Accounts Guide offers comprehensive descriptions of available natural accounts as well as those accounts that may not be used in conjunction with the purchase of goods and services.

If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of a specific purchase of goods of services, we urge you to contact your Finance Director or the Controller's Office for further assistance.

Liquidating Funds

When a Purchase Order is approved and submitted to the Enterprise Accounting System, the funds of the budget being charged are encumbered (funds reserved) and cannot be used for any other purchases. When encumbered funds are not used; for example, due to amount expended is less than the original amount encumbered, these funds should be liquidated (process of releasing the unused funds) in order to free the funds for other uses.