Procurement / Purchasing

Emory University provides three primary methods for obtaining goods and services.

  • Emory Express (Procurement of Goods and Services)
  • Online Payment Request
  • The Emory Purchasing Card (P-Card)

The primary method is through Emory Express. All purchases are required to go through Emory Express except for those designated for online payment request and the P-Card. Using Emory Express is the most cost effective and efficient way to obtain most goods and services. The purchaser should first review the University's current list of items obtainable through Emory Express. If the item cannot be found and has the potential for recurring purchases, a non-catalog form within Emory Express should be used for your purchase. Non-Catalog items are items that are not available through the hosted catalogs or our preferred suppliers (punch-out suppliers).

This method is primarily used for certain expenditures such as payments for attorney fees, honoraria, taxes, utilities, study participant, etc. Please refer to the complete Buyers Overview guide located on the Emory Express website.

However, certain goods or services, listed below, are more efficiently and effectively obtained by using the Purchasing Card for items costing less than $1499: (List is cited from P-card Procedure and Reference Manual)

  • Catering Services on and off campus (with preferred vendors)
  • Box Lunches/Meeting Refreshments brought on campus (with preferred vendors)
  • Recurring Coffee Services (with preferred vendors)
  • Teleconference Services
  • Non-Verizon cellular PDA services that are 100% Emory business
  • Professional subscriptions, memberships and registrations
  • Records Storage (Adams Data Management is the preferred vendor)
  • Emergency purchases from vendors by Service and Maintenance Personnel (Campus Services, Police, and Technical Support)
  • Paging Services (American Messaging is the preferred vendor)
  • Local Van Rental for local travel only (Enterprise is the preferred vendor)
  • Small Storage Rental (SpaceMax Storage is the preferred vendor)
  • Courier Services
  • Printing/Copying Services (After hours, local – FedEx Office is the preferred vendor)
  • Any unique, one-time purchase that cannot be found via Emory preferred vendors in Emory Express
  • Local Business Meals – the preferred method is the Emory Corporate Card. (Travel only) If the P-Card is used, follow the documentation guidelines, also found in Section 10 of the P-card procedure and reference manual, for the business purpose and names of attendees if ten (10) or less.

Note: A "Local Business Meal" is defined as two or more individuals going out to a restaurant for an Emory business purpose.

  • Use of the Purchasing Card does not waive any of the standard sponsored projects compliance or accounting requirements. All costs incurred on a sponsored project must be reasonable, necessary, allocable and appropriate to the specific account charged. Costs may not be incurred on a sponsored project for preplanned transfer or redistribution to another account.

  • Because of the limited life of a sponsored project and possible compliance issues, while not specifically prohibited, use of a sponsored project account number, as the Procurement Card primary cost center number, is not encouraged and should be limited. A sponsored project should only be used as a primary number under the following circumstances:When the primary account number is not a sponsored project, a sponsored project may be charged for a specific expenditure through the software redistribution system, provided that the charge is appropriate to and meets all of the other sponsored project requirements.

    • For multi-year projects (FDP/Expanded/Contract) where the account number will not change on an annual basis, and
    • The project requires a large volume of small purchases that could be processed through the Purchasing Card, and
    • All purchases are specific to and allowable on the specified sponsored project.
  • Because of the unique audit requirements for sponsored projects, Departments must retain all receipts for Purchasing Card purchases, charged against a sponsored project. Because some vendors do not provide detailed receipts, the Department may need to retain a detailed log of a sponsored project purchase, so that the individual items purchased are clearly documented.
  • For example: A receipt may say miscellaneous merchandise with a total of $150. This will be insufficient for Audit purposes or cost transfers. A complete summary of the items should be attached to the receipt. E.g.: $150 receipt - 24 binders @ $5=$120, 2 boxes of floppy disks @ $10 = $20 and 4 boxes of felt tip pens @ $2.50 = $10.
  • A Purchasing Card purchase may only be transferred (Journal) to a sponsored project if the Journal includes a copy of the receipt and the purchase detail with the backup. All other sponsored projects requirements, such as 120-day justifications, also apply.

Emory uses the following procurement and payment mechanisms to manage expenditures purchased at Emory. Emory Express is an easy to use application for the creation, submission and approval of requisitions. The application also provides direct access to suppliers' websites, forms to request non-cataloged items and built in internal controls. All eligible purchases should go through Emory Express. Program expenditures are applied to all grant mechanisms used through:

  • Contract Standing Orders
  • Purchase Orders
  • Special pricing agreements
  • Invoices

All sponsored projects (grants and contracts) related purchases should be submitted to and fully approved by the department hierarchy and the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting (when applicable).
Purchases using grants and contract funds require the following process:

  • When a departmental requisition is entered, the expenditure must go through the approval process set up by the requisitioning department (all invoices must be receipted in by designated departmental personnel)
  • The expenditure must be approved by Grants and Contracts central administration (when applicable), and
  • Allow procurement services time to meet their policy and procedures requirements before the purchase order can be issued.

All purchase orders over $1499 must be received in Emory Express. Ordering departments are responsible for verifying that purchased goods or services are received in proper condition and are in accordance with the terms of the official University purchase order.

Departments must record, in the University purchasing system, their receipt of goods and/or services for all purchase orders valued at $1499 or greater. In addition, departments must record the receipt of goods and services regardless of the purchase value if Receipt Required is activated.

Receiving process is to be completed within a timely manner (within 10 business days of receipt of goods).

If the receiver needs to be changed, please email In the subject line, put Request for Receiver Change. In the body of the message, cite the exact PO number and the name and email of the individual who should be the new receiver. If you need to change multiple PO's to the same receiver, you may do so in a single email, but be sure it's clearly described.

Items should only be purchased under sponsored agreements when the item is necessary for completion of the goals of the project and will specifically benefit and be used for the sponsored agreement. Items should not be ordered late in a project period, unless the items will actually be received and used by the project, prior to the end date.

For most awards, it would be inappropriate to order equipment or other major purchases in the last 30 days of the award, because benefit and use cannot be documented to an auditor. The Office of Grants and Contracts may not approve requisitions submitted in the last 30 days of an award based solely on timing and anticipated receipt of the goods. OGCA will have to consider approximate receipt date and benefit to the project before an approval can be processed. As part of the process, the Principal Investigator will need to provide a specific justification for the late purchase (i.e., within 30 days of project end period) including an explanation of how the item is necessary for the scientific/technical needs of the project.

The primary mission of the Emory Payment Services department is to ensure all expenses of the University are paid in a timely and accurate manner. The department is responsible for the review and disbursement of the University's funds in accordance with established policies and procedures.

The primary function of Payment Services is paying bills. But they also assist customers in the day-to-day process of payables and find more innovative ways to make customers' jobs easier.

The Payment Services staff process invoices from external vendors as well as reimbursements to faculty and staff. Upon receipt, invoices are date stamped and assigned a voucher number. The invoice is then digitally scanned and placed in the processing baskets for entry in the Payment Services system within 5 business days of receipt. There are several mechanisms used that affect program expenditures:

  • Invoice Processing
  • Reimbursements
  • Travel Accounting
  • Journal Entries

The Payment Services Customer Service team handles calls and emails from internal and external customers regarding payment status of invoices which include purchase orders, check requests, wire transfers and petty cash, just to name a few.

The above Purchasing and Procurement information is reproduced from the P-card Procedure and Reference Handbook. For information and training on the P-card and Emory Express please see: Emory Finance