No PO, No Pay

The University Procurement Policy for Purchase Orders mandates that “The procurement of all goods and services must be based on a purchase order issued to the supplier through our eProcurement system prior to the delivery of the goods or commencement of the service.  Except when approved in writing by the Director of Procurement, when placing orders using a Purchasing Card, or when paying approved direct expenditures.”

Benefits of "No PO, No Pay"

  • Ensures that purchases are authorized before goods or services are supplied.
  • Enables the University to process invoices efficiently thus ensuring a positive payment profile with suppliers.
  • Allows accurate timely reporting, budgeting and forecasting across the University.
  • Removes potential risk to the University by formally agreeing to the terms of engagement before the supplier/contractor commits to delivery; i.e. have favorable T&Cs with all our purchases.

Requesting Expenditure

In accordance with the University’s “No PO, No Pay” policy, any invoices received from a supplier that do not clearly state a valid Purchase Order provided by the University will be rejected and returned to the supplier. The only exceptions to this relate to good and services listed on the Direct Expenditure list below.

Exception to No PO, No Pay - Direct Expenditures

The following expenditures/circumstances do not require POs.  This list is under constant review and any further changes will be communicated as needed.  Click here for details on the 2-step process for direct expenditures.

Expenditure Comments Corresponding Account Codes
Utilities (electricity, gas, water) Used to pay utility bills that we receive as monthly statements.  Departments should consider issuing POs to encumber funds to help manage your budgets. 7018, 7020, 7777
Telecommunication/Phone Used to pay phone or internet bills that we receive as monthly statements.  Departments should consider issuing POs to encumber funds to help manage your budgets. 7009, 7010, 7337
Building Leases Used to pay lease payments for real property leases that have been approved through the University/State process.  Copy of the lease should be included with invoice.  Departments should consider issuing POs to encumber funds to help manage your budgets.  You MUST also ensure signed lease, approved through the LACAS Office is attached to the invoice. 7313, 7340
Food for students or business meals – must be with previously contracted suppliers Used to pay catering bills.  On campus this would consist of Aramark invoices unless an exception was granted for another caterer.  For off campus locations be sure any catering contracts are signed according to University signature policy and that procurement rules are followed based on dollar limits. 7045, 7046, 7332, 7341, 7777
Medical Expenses Used to pay medical expenses.  To be used by HR and Athletics only; service must be provided off campus. 4787, 7031
Student Travel Used to pay individuals or when an amount is not known prior to travel.  Hotels and travel agents SHOULD be issued PO if possible. 2484, 6030
Insurance Used to pay insurance premiums.  It is recommended that POs be issued to agents as a way to help with encumbrances and budgets and to make invoicing easier.  Be sure insurance policies adhere to Procurement guidelines as far as bidding and price references when required. 7310
Stipends Used to make payments to individuals only;  if paying a business, then it is most likely a service regardless of what it is being called and should not be a Direct Expenditure - PO required. 7316
Participant Support Used to make payments to individuals only;  if paying a business, then it is most likely a service regardless of what it is being called and should not be a Direct Expenditure - PO required. 7550, 7552, 7553, 7560, 7561
Refunds A refund ONLY applies when Clemson is holding someone else's money that they paid us and we need to give them back all or a portion of that money.  It is NOT a payment to reimburse them or pay them money that is theirs that we received from some other source.  When appropriate, use the Non-Supplier Payment Form to process a true refund when the supplier is not registered in buyWays. 2409, 4931, 7325
Awards, Scholarships and Honoraria Used to make payments to individuals only;  if paying a business, then it is most likely a service regardless of what it is being called and should not be a Direct Expenditure - PO required.  Honorarium - You are either giving them an award/gift payment as thank you for visiting or you are entering a contract with them agreeing to pay for travel, etc... in exchange for their visit.  You can't mix the two.  The first example would most likely fall under this section of the direct expenditure. For more information, visit the how-to-buy page for academic speakers and honorariums. 7304, 7305, 7306, 7307, 7501
Dues, Registrations, Memberships, & Sponsorships Used for professional development and training primarily. Issue a PO if the amount and supplier is known beforehand. 4606, 6018, 7026, 7027, 7347, 7348
Athletic Officials Used to pay officials associated with NCAA athletic events; includes officials, timekeepers, etc… 7023, 7024
Athletic Travel Used to pay student athletic travel. 6029, 6034-6038, 6043-6049, 6055-6056, 6063-6068, 6072-6073, 6041-6053, 6054-
Madren Center Resale Items Used by Madren Center to pay Martin Inn or 3rd parties for items sold as part of Madren Center event contract. 2453
Subscriptions – magazines, newspapers, etc…  (Does NOT include software/IT Service subscriptions) Used to pay subscriptions for publications like newspapers or magazines.  This does NOT include IT services that refer to subscriptions. 7327
Employee Travel Employee travel should follow the employee travel policy and guidelines.  Most employee travel is to be handled as personal reimbursement.  However occasionally a department may contract with a travel agent or for lodging that is to be paid direct.  This should be the only time this account should be used in buyWays. 6001-6024
Banking or Financial Transactions (with Bank of America, TigerStripe relates, dining plans, managed print, computer store inventory) Used to make payments that are in essence non-procurements.  Used for making transactions involving payments of funds that reflect a transfer of funds collected per contractual requirements.  Only applies to those entities/purposes specifically listed here. 1116, 1204, 1415, 2002, 2406, 2409, 2514, 4620, 7029, 7732, 2492
Tax Only Payments e.g. property tax payments; county specific tax assessments.  Not used to pay sales tax on an order. 2434, 2435, 2477, 7302
Royalty Payments Used to pay royalties that are due to 3rd party based on contractual agreements.  Amounts may not be known until invoice received and accounts are reconciled. 7025
Expenses to another University related to athletic contest (guarantees, tickets, etc…) or regulatory refund of money to 3rd parties Used to pay other universities for financial commitments related to athletic contests (CUAD) or by Regulatory Services to issue refunds mandated by State regulations. 2409, 7035, 7346
US Homeland Security, VISA and other Federal HR type expenses Used for H1B Visa related expenses. 7321
Student Org Payments Used to pay a Clemson University related student organization;  not used to pay other schools organizations or to pay suppliers on behalf of student organizations. 4757, 7357
Postal Services (Stamps, Postage, Passport) Used to pay the USPS or other carrier directly.  Most inbound freight should be handled through current contract with VPL. 7006, 7207, 7777
Library Database Subscriptions Actual contracts for these purchases must still be reviewed and entered into by Procurement and Business Services. 8106, 8107
Return of Sales Proceeds Primarily used for bull testing payouts/PSA. 7351
Attorney Fees Fees for Legal Representation of the University. 7001, 7054, 7777
Passthrough to State Agencies This account will be used as a "passthrough" for payments to other SC state agencies. 7048
State Fleet Lease & Maintenance Maintenance and lease of the State's motor vehicle fleet. 7047
Guest/Visitor Travel & Expense Reimbursement Reimbursement for non-employee or non-student, such as speakers or consultants. For more information, visit the how-to-buy page for Guest/Visitor Travel & Expense Reimbursement 


7039, 7053

Invoice Processing

Invoices received with a valid PO number with no discrepancies will be automatically routed for payment by the University eProcurement system.  Invoices received with a valid PO number but with discrepancies (pricing, description, receipt of good/services not complete), will be routed to the requesting University department to address, correct, and approve.  Invoices received without a valid purchase order number (or an incorrect purchase order reference) will be discarded. Supplier should contact the University employee who requested the goods or services to research unpaid invoices.


All invoices must be sent to Clemson in one of these two ways:

  1. Hardcopies addressed and mailed to Clemson University at the address below:
    Clemson University
    Dillard Building
    400 Klugh Ave
    Clemson, SC 29634
  2. Email PDF invoices to for quicker processing.

Do NOT send duplicate invoices or invoices via both methods as this will possibly delay payment.  All Invoices MUST reference the specific Clemson PO number that begins with either CU or FAC followed by 8 numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is No PO, No Pay?

No PO, No Pay is one of Clemson University’s key financial control measures to ensure that payments are made only to suppliers and contractors with a supplied invoice (paper or electronic) containing a valid official purchase order (PO) number (unless it is for a Direct Expenditure, which is an exception to this requirement)

Q2: Why a No PO, No Pay financial control measure?

No PO, No Pay ensures that the University only pays for goods and services that have been properly ordered and authorized. It also ensures invoices received by University Accounts Payable representatives/departments will be processed efficiently to minimize or eliminate payment delay to suppliers and contractors. Invoices received by Clemson without a valid PO number will be discarded and not paid unless they are considered a Direct Expenditure that does not require a PO.

Q3: When does No PO, No Pay come into effect?

No PO, No Pay will apply to all orders of goods, services and works placed on or after March 1, 2019, and invoices received on or after this date.

Q4: How does No PO, No Pay work?

No PO, No Pay requires that Clemson issue POs for all goods and services PRIOR to goods being ordered or services performed.  Invoices submitted by suppliers and contractors will then have a PO to reference and an official PO number to include on each invoice. In all instances requiring a PO, the supplier will need to be registered in the University purchasing/AP system and will receive a PO generated from the University eProcurement system.  The PO will contain a Clemson PO number that begins with either CU or FAC followed by 8 numbers.  Departments receiving an invoice without a PO being issued in advance will have to process that invoice through a special approval process in buyWays.  A new form/process was created to process true Direct Expenditures that don’t require a PO.

Q5: What exceptions apply to the No PO, No Pay?

The list of Direct Expenditures at the top of this page include expenditures/circumstances that do not require POs. This list is under constant review and any further changes will updated on the University Procurement website.

Q6: What is the difference between a Direct Expenditure and a Procurement Exemption?

Procurement exemptions (previously referred to as DPV Exemptions) still exist and are often referred to as “exemption # X” where X is a number between 1-49.  These are instances where a specified type of purchase/payment does NOT need to adhere to State procurement requirements for bidding.  This is different from the list of Direct Expenditures, which specify types of purchases that do not require a PO.  There are many instances where the two lists overlap, but because something is on one list does not mean it is on the other list.  There are plenty of instances where something is Exempt from procurement requirements but we still want to issue a PO to the supplier.

Q7: What happens if I receive an Invoice without a PO # included on the invoice?  

First consider if the invoice is for a Direct Expenditure.  If it is, process accordingly.  If the invoice is for goods/services, you may choose to conduct a search in buyWays to see if there is a PO that was issued that the invoice could match up to.  If there is a PO (i.e. supplier just failed to include PO # on the invoice), you may ask them to resubmit the invoice correctly with the PO # included.  Alternatively, you may simply disregard the invoice and let the supplier know that you cannot process the invoice without a PO # included.  If there was never a PO issued, you will have to create a PO using the Unauthorized Commitment form in buyWays and have the supplier re-invoice after they receive this confirming PO.  This is different from how Clemson has handled in the past where we have routinely just created a PO after the fact to make the payment.  The new Unauthorized Commitment PO process will indeed take place after the fact, but it will require additional approvals from your Business Office to process.  This is NOT the way we want to conduct business and is only used when the required process is not followed.

Q8: What if I receive an invoice for a supplier who is not registered in buyWays? 

Whether the invoice is for goods or service or for a Direct Expenditure, the department will need to submit a Request to invite a new supplier and that supplier will need to register with the University prior to a PO being issued or a Direct Expenditure being processed.

Q9: Can I issue POs for purchases that are listed on the Direct Expenditure list?  

YES!  You can always issue a PO to any supplier and are encouraged to do so whenever possible.  The worst thing that can happen when you issue a PO is the supplier ignores or questions the PO, but most suppliers are used to receiving POs from their customers since many schools and businesses have a No PO, No Pay policies.  Issuing a PO is a way to ensure your approvals to spend money are met and that money is encumbered and budgets are better managed – all positive things.  If you want to only issue a PO to create an encumbrance and have a reason you really don’t want to send it to the supplier, you can select on the requisition to not have the PO sent to a supplier.  It will still create a PO but just won’t be sent to the supplier.  Not recommended because it doesn’t convey our T&Cs to the supplier but this is an option.

Q10: What changes are taking place in buyWays to support this change in policy?  

There are many changes in buyWays that have been made, some over several years (Invoice workflow, supplier registration, etc…) and soon a new change order process and changes to the forms you will use in buyWays.  We will have training specific to these new changes, but to highlight briefly:

  • We will be removing the Direct Purchase Request and the Payment Request forms.  These forms will be replaced by a new Direct Expenditure Request that will be tied specifically to the account codes on the Direct Expenditure list.  The good news for those processing direct expenditures is that it is a one step process to pay these invoices.  You will be entering a direct invoice – no PO – receipt – invoice entry!
  • We have added a new form called an Unauthorized Expenditure of Funds form.  This is the form you will use when you order something without issuing a PO and need to pay an invoice for something you should have issued a PO for.  This form will be similar to the I need to Buy Something form but it will route to your Business Officer for approval and will be sent to the supplier as a PO indicating it is a duplicate order.  The supplier will need to re-submit an invoice with this PO number in order for the invoice to be processed.
  • A summary of the current Clemson forms and the NEW Direct Expenditure and Unauthorized Expenditure of Funds forms can be found on our training site.
  • We will soon have the ability to make limited changes to POs after they are issued.  You can’t change everything but things like account codes and some other items will be allowed, which will eliminate the need to start all over and issue a new PO when you need to make an account change.