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Clemson University implemented and went live with our eProcurement system (buyWays or SciQuest) in May 2008. As with any major business system implementation, we recognized there were certain intricacies and limitations of the system to meet either specific University or State requirements for process and/or documentation. As such, Procurement Services has made procedural decisions as these challenges were identified, with the intent of each decision to be to 1) adhere to law and regulations while 2) maintaining a simply and lean business process.
This procedure documents specific procedures that have been created to meet the requirements above.
“Written” Approvals for requisitions and determinations
Whereas buyWays is a secure system that recognizes an individual’s login and subsequent actions taken in the system, any requisition, invoice, or attachment that is “approved” in the workflow process of the system is also recognized to be approved in writing by the person approving the item in workflow. This also includes the “auto-approval” step.
The matching process helps ensure that the invoice is for goods or services that have been received and that the amount invoiced was previously authorized via purchase order. Clemson University uses this as a strict control procedure to ensure that the goods being paid for have been previously authorized.
Matching determines the relationship between 2 or more accounting documents. Accounting documents in BuyWays consists of Purchase Orders, Invoices, and Receipts. These documents are compared through an automated process to determine if the line item amount of the invoice matches the line item amount of the PO. The tolerance for line item amounts is 0.00.
Clemson University employs the 3-way match standard for all orders with the exception of the NAR policy.
Shipping, Freight, and Tax (S/H/T) charges are not included in matching.
During the last few years of implementing buyWays, we have changed how we handle tolerances relating to S/H/T. Initially, buyWays could only allow a tolerance by line item and/or by S/H/T – not by the whole PO amount. Currently there is no tolerance allowed above the line item amount. For the S/H/T, there is a tolerance of up to 7% to allow invoices where tax may not have been entered on the PO to be paid without someone having to manually intervene.
BuyWays conducts 3-way matching (PO, Invoice and Receipt amounts). If a 3-way match is made, the invoice is approved for payment. Any mismatch however, send the invoices to the Matching Queue in buyWays to be reviewed. There are different reasons for an invoice mismatching, so each has to be examined individually. Most of causes for mismatches are owed to four categories.
Vendor Overcharges ~ Vendors will submit invoices charging more for line item(s) than that of the PO price. The unit price must be changed to reflect the PO price before the invoice will match and can be processed for payment. Changing the unit price of one or several line items also means adjustments to the tax may need to be made.
Duplicate Creation of an Invoice ~ End users sometimes create more than one invoice in error, or create a manual invoice for a vendor set up for e-invoicing. The duplicate invoice must be canceled and the end user notified as to why. Once the manual invoice is canceled, the e-invoice auto matches and can be processed.
Blanket PO Invoices ~ There are several scenarios for a mismatch to occur in this instance. Invoices for blanket PO’s are sent intermittently.
a) End users will at times create a quantity receipt, while at other times, creating a cost receipt. It must be determined to see if any type of receipt has been created for each invoice. If so, the invoice is forwarded for the processing of payment. If not, a comment is attached to the invoice requesting that the end user create a receipt so the invoice may be processed.
b) There are times when the collective invoices total more than the original PO. In this case, a comment is sent to the end user to determine how this would best be handled for their department. This can result in canceling the invoice altogether, or creating a new requisition for the difference or a new requisition for the total amount. In this case, the original PO is also canceled.
Invoices over $2500 ~ Any invoice over $2500 that has not yet been receipted creates a mismatch. A comment is sent to the Bill To end user notifying them that an invoice has been submitted for payment, but will not be processed for payment until a receipt is entered. If a receipt is not created in a 5 days, a second notification comment is sent to the end user. Again, once the invoice reaches 30 days, if a receipt hasn’t been created, a third comment is sent with a link to directions on how to create a receipt. Continued efforts are made via direct emails and/or phone calls to the end user if the three notifications listed above do not result in a receipt.
Sole source requisitions are requisitions in which at least one line item of the requisition is entered using the buyWays Sole Source Form. The requisitions may be made up of multiple lines, either using the Sole Source Form or other Forms or non-catalog items. These requisitions are routed to the Procurement Director, and the Comptroller if above $10,000 (prior to August 2011, all sole sources also were approved by the Comptroller). The Procurement Director reviews each sole source requisition, reviewing the first line containing a Sole Source Form for appropriate written determination/justification. If required, the Director will modify the determination of that first Sole Source Form on the requisition (i.e. only the first Sole Source Form for that requisition will contain the approved written determination and appropriate commodity code for the purchase). Occasionally, due to space in the justification section on the Sole Source Form, attachments may be used and incorporated by reference into the sole source determination.
With the change in procurement limits in August 2012, Sole Source requisitions of less than $10,000 may be justified when submitted using the Sole Source Form, but the Director will no longer formally approve the determination for sole source. Approval of a sole source that is less than $10,000 by the Director will simply meet the requirement that the purchase price is fair and reasonable.
Attachments pertinent to a particular order are listed under the “Attachments” tab on the PO or Requisition. Attachments may be added at various times during the process, but reviewing the “Attachments” tab, all pertinent attachments can be located (signed/unsigned agreements, negotiation documents, invoices, etc…).
The comments tab on a PO or Requisition may be used to document approval for purchases, changes, etc… that are not made through the normal workflow process. They may also be used to simply communicate questions and answers or provide further instructions.
Solicitation/Procurement Back up Documentation
All bidding for procurements >$10,000 is done through our online bidding system (buyWays or Ionwave Technology). Clemson began using this system fully in October 2009. For a bid to be created in Ionwave, a requisition must be processed in buyWays. Requisitions are normally entered by the requesting department, however occasionally a buyer may initiate their own requisition in the case of a revenue or standing contract where there is not a single department that has the need to initiate the process.
Once a requisition is processed in buyWays, it is passed to Ionwave where a solicitation is created by the buyer using established templates and “attributes” of their choosing for a particular solicitation. Attributes are the word Ionwave uses for compendium clauses. A bid is either formal (i.e. sealed ) or informal (i.e. unsealed). All bids are required to be submitted online. While the system allows for bids to be submitted as hardcopies and entered after bid closing by Clemson, to date, Clemson has not allowed this practice.
After bid closing, the bids are opened/unsealed by either the bid clerk or another individual that is not the Procurement Officer for that bid opening. The bid history shows the detail of who unsealed the bid with a date/time stamp in the history. This procedure of having a “witness” perform the online bid opening meets the requirements of 11-35-1520(C) and 19.445.2050 in terms of having at least one witness present and the bids being tabulated and certified in writing as part of bid opening procedures.
All bids submitted, whether using solely the online form or the online form with files/documents attached, are maintained in Ionwave for permanent record. No copies are required to be printed out or saved elsewhere. Ionwave performs as the records retention tool for the solicitation, amendments, submittals and ultimately the award/non-award determination.
Outside of Ionwave, other documentation required by law, regulation or policy, is maintained by the procurement officer in a folder on the Procurement network drive. These documents include any determinations (multi-year, RFP/BVB, negotiation document, SCBO advertisement, RFP/BVB scoring, and any other pertinent documentation). At conclusion of the bid, this other documentation is saved in a single Adobe portfolio file (as of January 2012 named “Procurement Backup File - _____(bid#)” and attached either to the PO or contract file in buyWays.* Occasionally a procurement officer may determine that other details of the solicitation (i.e. scope of work document, proposal, amendments, etc…) may need to be also copied into a file/portfolio on a PO or contract. While not required since this information is maintained in Ionwave, it is sometimes helpful for end users to have the information accessible in buyWays.
*Prior to January 2012, there were several iterations of how buyers were handling the back-up data. All back-up / supporting documentation for any solicitation may be found either in: 1) Ionwave, 2) PO/Contract in buyWays as an attachment, or 3) on the Procurement network drive.
When required by a contract and scope of work, a vendor will submit to the procurement officer an ACORD 25 form. For single purchases, these will be maintained with back-up documentation for the solicitation, or for term contracts, they will be maintained in a central repository on the procurement network drive for monitoring and updating as required.