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Purchasing Policies

Requirements & Restrictions

Please order products through the Workday Amazon Punchout process.

Smith College has an Amazon Business account. If you would like to be a member, please contact Purchasing to add you to the account.

All expenditures from regular departmental budgets require the advance approval of the department head. In the case of grants and contracts, the principal investigator, or an authorized designee must approve all purchases. Additionally, suppliers must be onboarded into Workday before any order for goods or services is made. The onboarding process screens for individuals and companies that the College is prohibited from paying. While this normally applies to non-U.S. suppliers, there are U.S. individuals and companies on the debarred list.

Appropriate coverage is required of all vendors who come on campus to perform service, labor or make deliveries. This policy protects the College against expensive liability in the event of an accident. The insurance certificate must be made out to The Trustess of The Smith College and the Additional Insured box next to General Liability must be marked with an "X" to indicate that Smith has been named as additional insured.

The purchasing department files Certificates of Insurance in the purchasing department. End users must ensure that certificates are received before any work can start. The insurance certificate must remain in effect continuously for as long as the vendor has personnel coming onto campus. Please forward copies of the insurance certificates that you obtain to the purchasing department.

Whenever scrupulously following these procurement policies and procedures, and taking the time to obtain the required quotations or bids or a purchase order would endanger anyone's life or health, degrade personal or college security, threaten structural integrity, jeopardize property, or severely limit college operations, you are empowered to act without delay on your own personal judgment, as you see fit, in the best interests of Smith College. Consult with your supervisor, and/or the chief financial officer, the director of security, the director of facilities, purchasing manager, and/or other appropriate officer of the college, as the specific situation warrants, in advance, whenever possible.

A memorandum of explanation, outlining the actions taken, and the reasons therefore, should be sent to the purchasing manager as soon as is possible following the emergency.

Expenditures made under grants and contracts must comply with all of the requirements of the grant or contracting agency. For example, federal grants and contracts require compliance with OMB Circular A110. Principal investigators should familiarize themselves with these requirements in advance of any expenditures. All items purchased under grants and contracts are under the ownership or stewardship of Smith College, which delegates responsibility for the care and operation of the equipment to the principal investigator.

The Office of the Controller Accounts Payable department processes invoices. Please send invoices to Accounts Payable at If there is a Purchase Order number associated with the invoice, please reference the PO # on the invoice.

Workday requisitions are required for “Goods Purchases” over $5,000 and all “Service Purchases,” Purchases of goods less than $5,000 can be processed by submtting a supplier invoice to Accounts Payable, directly through a Punchout or a Smith Credit Card.

If your quote requires a deposit, please submit a completed accounts payable voucher with your Purchase Order number and quote.

For appropriate forms of payment according to the cost of services, please refer to the following grid.

For Smith College contracting policy and procedures please see the Guide To Contracting, on the Smith College Legal, Compliance and Risk Management website.

We are committed to actively developing and supporting minority-owned and woman-owned businesses, because we recognize the tremendous value of diversity in our society. We actively seek out and promote partnerships with minority-owned and woman-owned businesses.

A purchase order is an individually numbered business form that the purchasing department completes and issues to a vendor to legally commit the college to the purchase of goods or services. The purchase order is a legal contract, containing standardized language, to ensure that:

  1. the college gets beneficial terms and conditions;
  2. the vendor is bound to performance standards;
  3. the college's exposure to legal liability is carefully restricted.

The college requires a purchase order for all transactions over $5,000. In order to have a purchase order issued to a vendor, you must first complete a Requisition in Workday with all supporting documentation.

Purchase orders are normally not issued for the following items:

  • Items less than $5,000 in total cost; use the procurement card (Mastercard) if accepted by the vendor
  • Registration fees for conferences and other events
  • Travel arrangements such as hotels, rental cars, air fares, etc.
  • Personal reimbursements of any kind
  • Subscriptions
  • Memberships in professional, trade or other organizations
  • Restaurants and catering services
  • Any item purchased from a pre-printed order form
  • Whenever immediate payment is required, unless the purchase order is needed to spell out terms of the contract
  • If you have already received the item and the invoice
  • Purchases for student organizations, unless the vendor requires it

According to Smith College requirements, three price quotes are required on orders over $10,000.

Requests for a waiver of bidding or price-checking requirements, based upon the premise that only one vendor exists who can meet the need, will require a written statement from the end user department and the review and approval of the purchasing department. Purchasing will consider each case on its individual merits and decide it based upon objective criteria, the needs of the customer department, best industry practices and the best interest of Smith College. For orders over $20,000, controller's office will then have to sign off on the purchase order.

End users are required to carefully consider all possible alternatives and avoid unnecessarily restricting of the search for best product, lowest cost and alternative suppliers. Often a careful review of the facts will reveal an alternate strategy that preserves the college's leverage in the marketplace, and still gets you the best item at the best price. Consult with purchasing as soon as possible whenever such cases arise.

Smith College’s Commonwealth of Massachusetts Tax Exemption Certificate is not to be used for personal purchases.

Smith College is exempt from the payment of most federal, state and local taxes. However, we must pay certain taxes for such things as hotels and restaurants.

Please note: A copy of the ST-2 Smith Tax Exemption Certificate must be included with the Tax Exemption Purchaser Certificate when sending to a vendor. This form certifies that our exempt status is valid through 2029.

The OMB Uniform Guidance went into effect on December 26, 2014 and applies to awards or funding increments issued on or after that date. Purchases funded by federal grants must adhere to regulations found in Uniform Guidance as a condition of receiving funds and to meet annual audit compliance. Smith College implemented the new federal guidelines regarding procurement for all federal grants effective July 1, 2018.  Please see the below documentation for purchases using federal funds or contact the Grants office for more information.