Finance Division

Foundational Practices

The following highlights the new, clarified, or updated Procurement policies and procedures related to buyWays that in the past may have not been clear to users causing the buyWays procurement process to be inefficient.  The policies and procedures summarized here have the approval of the Comptroller, Document Retention, and Sponsored Programs, and have been reviewed by Internal Audit. Updates to actual policies and procedures will be completed soon.

1)      Paperless environment:  Procurement fully supports a paperless environment Policies will reflect the desire to be paperless as it is critical to streamlining and simplifying the procurement process. By maintaining both an automated and manual procurement process, work is duplicated and the procurement process becomes a hurdle. The benefits of maintaining all procurement files in buyWays include ease of filing, sharing of information and visibility, simplifying the audit process, and decrease in "wait time" on manual approvals. The following areas of buyWays allow for a fully electronic, paperless purchase.

a)      Electronic signature: buyWays captures the electronic signatures of each individual involved throughout the purchasing process.  Internal audit will be able to conduct many of their activities via the buyWays system.

b)      Attachments: A policy on procurement documentation will reflect the preference to attach required documents to a requisition in buyWays such as vendor invoice, quotes, bids, etc... As well as clarify those documents that do not need to be attached, filed, or maintained in any way.  This policy will highlight the fact that buyWays attachments do support the records retention policies of the university.

c)      Sponsored Programs: Sponsored programs will be able to view your purchases via the inquiry and reporting capabilities of buyWays. Additionally, the buyWays automated workflow can be configured to allow for an approval stop with the grants coordinator, if desired. Therefore, paper copies will not need to be generated and sent to the grants coordinator or to Sponsored Programs. 

d)     No requirement to reconcile to the BSR:  The policy will address that reconciliation to the BSR for buyWays transactions will not be required.   

2)      Electronic invoices:  Several of the vendors within buyWays have the technical capabilities of delivering their invoices to Clemson via an electronic interface ("eInvoice").   You can review the current listing of these vendors on our Procurement Services website.  These eInvoices require no further documentation other than receipt of the goods or services in buyWays.   During an audit, any references or questions regarding eInvoices will be directed to Procurement; no information is required to be maintained at the college/department level in terms of paper copies or other details on these eInvoices. 

3)      Account Code Set-up (Grants) - SPAA's policy is to complete account set-up for new grants no later than five business days after they receive the grant award documentation from the Office of Sponsored Programs.  For purchases required prior to account set up, a p-card can be used (if appropriate) or a requisition can be processed using another account in buyWays.  That requisition or PO can later be changed to reflect the proper account information by canceling the PO (if issued) and reissuing a new PO with the correct grant account information.  This method is only recommended if an order truly cannot wait for SPAA to set up the accounts in CUBS/buyWays.

4)      Approvals - The current Disbursement Policy requires approval of any spending of funds.  As it relates to a buyWays PO, approval is required prior to a purchase.  buyWays has the capability of allowing the college/department to balance the control over the purchase with the speed of the purchase via delegations and auto approval limits.

a)      Delegation:  Delegations are effective in maintaining the speed of the purchase when an approver is unable to conduct timely approvals while still maintaining control over the purchase.  So as noted in our Disbursement Policy, a department head or other individual with spending authority is able to delegate their approval authority.  This delegation needs only to be documented in some manner.  It should be noted that delegates should be identified as someone to act on behalf of an approver.  That delegate should have knowledge of the appropriate budget, projects, purchases, etc. and should have an appropriate skill set so they can take on the responsibility of acting for, and being responsible for, the approver delegating to them.

b)      Auto approval limits:  buyWays allows the capability to mirror spending capabilities as granted to responsible individuals on campus via a p-card.  For example, if all departmental faculty and staff are approved to spend up to $2,500 on a p-card, this same delegation limit ("auto approval") should be reflected in a memorandum and then mirrored in that department's workflow in buyWays.   This auto-approval can be set up to any reasonable limit by department or grant restriction if properly delegated.  Procurement is committed to working with departments to ensure their workflows in buyWays truly reflect what they want to approve, as well as ensuring documentation is in place to annotate any delegations. 

c)      Lean initiative - one departmental approval:  Procurement supports the University's lean initiative in that we are limiting buyWays workflow to the one departmental and/or PI approval for any given purchase.  Each approval required prior to the purchase slows down the overall speed of the purchase.  So it is recommended that the department and/or PI have one responsible person with an understanding of what is reasonable, allocable and accountable to make approvals - so multiple approvals are not required.  Any other approvals will be added to the workflow only if it enables a more lean procure-to-pay process (i.e. grant coordinators).

5)      Receiving -- Our policy is that receiving is required for all purchases made.   Receiving is the acknowledgement that goods or services were actually received by Clemson University.  In buyWays the "receipt" is the systematic equivalent to the "okay to pay" signature that was required on an invoice.  It is only upon entry of the receipt that the buyWays system will be able to match the invoice to the PO and upon the match (within tolerance) a payment will be made.  For a vendor electronically invoicing, that is the last step in the process for the end user - no further action required. 

6)      Reconciliation - The current reconciliation policy states that buyWays transactions do not have to be reconciled.  This is possible because buyWays enforces the appropriate approvals electronically for a payment to be made.  Only one exception is purchases conducted with auto approval.  We are working on a monitoring report that will allow for review of these exceptions.  The BSR is going to turn into two documents - a budget transaction document (for managing budgets) and an exception-type report that can be used for transactions that require reconciling. 

7)      Audit - Both our Internal and External Auditors have reviewed buyWays and feel that the system is sufficient for addressing documentation concerns.  There is actually a preference for having all the history and documentation contained in the electronic files of buyWays.

Acceptable Purchasing Methods - see document.

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