Frequently Asked Questions


You issued the purchase order number for a requisition that I created, but how come the invoice still hasn't been paid?

Contact Accounts Payable, 617-253-2750 or e-mail accounts payable.

Why target small-dollar purchases?

Almost 80 percent of the transactions processed each year are for orders of $500 or less. This 80 percent effort only accounts for 7 percent of the total dollars spent on a yearly basis. This is a great deal of work with very little value added. These resources could be used on transactions in which more value could be added and further savings realized.

Why do I need a selection of source?

MIT's policies and procedures state that any procurement exceeding $10,000 requires a selection of source and price reasonableness explanation. Each purchase over $10,000 is considered a separate transaction and must follow procedures.

Whom can I contact to get more information?

You can send all questions or request information to Procurement Card.

Who is responsible for signing hotel contracts?

Procurement Office personnel are authorized agents to sign any vendor contract on behalf of MIT. DLC personnel do not have the authorization to sign vendor contracts on behalf of MIT.

Who is responsible for AS orders?

Authorized signer (AS) purchase orders are created for standard, small-dollar, confirming purchase orders that do not require additional documentation or approval and are placed through the DLC. Please contact Procurement, 617-253-7241, with any questions concerning this type of purchase order.

When do we need to fill out an independent contractor form?

Procedures for purchases of the services of a consultant or independent contractor are contained in the policies and procedures section, titled Independent Contractor Instructions.

What is the purpose of implementing a Procurement Card?

The Procurement Card has been implemented to help streamline the buy-pay process for small-dollar purchases. The Procurement Card will reduce the need for requisitions, one-time and blanket purchase orders, yellow request-for-payments, petty cash transactions and invoices. Payments to the vendors will be expedited and overall cost to the Institute reduced.

What happens if a vendor only ships a partial order?

Vendors will inevitably ship partial orders. This should not be a problem since the vendor should only bill for the merchandise that has been shipped.

What are the present limits of the Procurement card?

The maximum transaction limit allowed is $3,000 and the monthly spending limit is $15,000. A department can request any limit up to the maximum allowed.

What are the differences in ordering with the various ECAT vendors?

The process is basically the same for all partners — browse and select item(s), create a shopping cart and submit the order. The processing of the order, authorizations with approvals, and billing occurs electronically with shipping via traditional methods.

What about restricted items?

All purchases made using the MIT Procurement Card are subject to the Institute's policies and procedures regarding appropriate and allowable purchases. The following regulated or otherwise restricted items may not be purchased using the Procurement Card:

  • Radioactive substances, firearms, ammunition and other controlled-substance items;
  • Hypodermic needles and syringes and regulated alcohol;
  • Software (except standard shrink-wrap software);
  • Visitor (safety) glasses, respirators and protective masks (gas, dust, etc.);
  • Cash advances;
  • Travel and entertainment expenses;
  • Consulting, professional, or temporary services;
  • Chemicals in quantities larger than four liter sizes;
  • Equipment purchases greater than or equal to $1,000;
  • All gases and gas cylinder rentals;
  • Equipment rentals or leases;
  • Alcohol, controlled drugs;
  • Flowers, plants, gifts, contributions;
  • Fire extinguishers;
  • Animals;
  • Items for personal use;
  • Precious metals;
  • Space heaters;
  • Furniture greater than or equal to $500.

What about reallocation of charges?

The reallocation process will allow you to reallocate the cost object (account number) or G/L expense account (object code). Each transaction will be parked online for 21 days. During this time the transaction can be reviewed and reallocated by the authorized verifier to any of their authorized cost objects. If the verifier does not post the transaction within 21 days, the system will automatically post the charge to the secondary fund and non-recoverable G/L account established on the Procurement Card application. Any future reallocation of these charges will need to be done via a journal voucher.

What about MIT's tax-exempt status?

MIT is exempt and should not be charged sales tax for Institute purchases made in the state of Massachusetts and many other states. The Massachusetts tax-exempt number is printed on the Procurement Card for easy reference. The Procurement Department maintains a file of all available state tax-exempt certificates. MIT's tax-exempt status should be mentioned prior to making any purchase. If a vendor requires a copy of MIT's exempt certificate, please contact the Procurement Department. Please Note: Massachusetts State Tax Exemption form ST-2 has an expiration date of 10/16/2014, please see Page 1, Paragraph 3. For form ST-2, please print both pages 1 and 2.

Since the card will be issued in my name, will this affect my credit rating?

No, although the card will be issued in your name, it is actually the property of MIT and will in no way affect your credit rating.

Q: How do I change a vendor address for an existing vendor?

Please send an email to newvendors@mit.edu with vendor # (if available), vendor name, and the new address. Additionally, to meet IRS requirements and auditing guidelines, a W-9 form is required from the vendor.

Is there anything I must do before getting my Procurement Card?

Yes, the cardholder must attend a brief training class and sign an agreement form. The departmental verifier must have access to SAP. The verifier must also have SAP spend and commit authorization on all cost objects that may be used in the reallocation of Procurememt Card charges. If your department has already established spend and commit authorization in SAP for your verifier, then you will not need to generate that authorization through the application process.

Is the card issued to an individual or to a department?

Department approval (administrative officer or equivalent) will be necessary to receive a Procurement Card, but it will only be issued to an individual.

I'm still uncertain with the ECAT system operation. Whom can I contact for assistance?

Contact ecat3@mit.edu to reach the Procurement Department or 617-253-7241.

I would like to buy furniture. How do I start?

Contact Stephen Newman in the Procurement Department, 617-253-8373. For large-scale renovations and space changes, contact the MIT Facilities Department.

I need to obtain some licensed software for my department. I have the supplier's license agreement. Who should sign off on this agreement? What is the proper procedure?

Software licensing agreements contain complex terms and conditions that could expose the Institute in the areas of patent or copyright infringement, indemnification and governing law. The Office of Intellectual Property Counsel is charged with reviewing and negotiating these types of agreements.

The senior counsel of this office is the Institute's authorized signatory, having the specific authority to bind the Institute to contractual terms and conditions involving intellectual property issues. Persons other than the senior counsel who sign licensing agreements have no such authority and are vigorously discouraged from doing so.

For further information, contact the Office of Intellectual Property Counsel or Andrew Barnes in the Procurement Department.

I need to make changes on an internal provider requisition — how do I do that? Why do I have to contact the internal provider, and why can't Procurement do it?

You may requisition goods and services from MIT internal providers; however, when requesting changes, only the internal provider can assist you. The Procurement Department is responsible for purchases from external sources.

I have a purchase order number, but why haven't I received my product?

During requisition creation you were asked if you were going to contact the vendor to place the order. If you answered yes, the Procurement Office assigns the purchase order number and expects your department to place the order.

I have a blanket order and there is still money remaining. Can I extend the period of commitment to the following year?

No. Only under special circumstances can the time period for a blanket order cover a period longer than one year.

I created a requisition but still don't see a buyer assigned to it. Why haven't I received a purchase order?

Requisitions must be fully approved by your department before they are submitted to the Procurement Office and assigned to a buyer. You can find out if your requisition has been approved by looking at the requisition. There will be an icon (of people) next to the line item number on your requisition. Click that icon, and you will be brought to a list of people authorized to release your requisition.

I created a requisition and you are the buyer assigned to it. Why hasn't the purchase order number been issued yet?

There are reasons why the creation of a purchase order would be delayed. You should contact the specific buyer assigned to your requisition to determine if additional documentation is required.

How is the Procurement Card different from my personal credit card?

The MIT Procurement Card works the same as any credit card with the exception that it is strictly for MIT business transactions. It should never be used for personal business or restricted items.

How does this benefit my department?

It currently takes seven to twelve steps to process a traditional order. This process will be reduced to about three to four. There will be no need to fill out SAP or paper requisitions to process your order. No more time delays; just call the orders in when the need arises. There will no longer be the requirement to reconcile your monthly statement for Procurement Card charges since they are reviewed upfront by your verifier.

How do I get a Procurement Card?

Simply complete an application form, choose a verifier, get the proper cost object (account) authorizations and submit the application to the Procurement Card administrator in NE49-4122. Applications can be printed from this website and are also available from school coordinators or by emailing your requests.

How do I get a new vendor entered into the system?

If you cannot find the vendor you are looking for in SAPweb, enter the vendor name, address and telephone and fax numbers into the Item Note field of the SAPweb requisition form.

How do I find out which products a vendor sells?

Here is a list of partner vendors with contact information and links to websites.

How can I get a list of G/L accounts?

See the MIT Documentation website for a list of G/L accounts.

How can I get a hard copy of a purchase order to send to the vendor?

Most local vendors do not require a formal copy of the purchase order. If the vendor you select requires a copy, note that information in the Item Note field of the requisition form or contact the buyer assigned to your purchase order.

How can I add/delete items and make monetary changes on my requisition/purchase order?

Once a requisition is approved, there is no method for changes. If the requisition has not been converted into a purchase order, contact the Procurement Office for assistance.
To change a purchase order, you will need to create another SAPweb requisition. Remember to include the purchase order number you are changing and list in detail the changes you require.

How are charges verified?

Each cardholder will need to have someone within his/her department be a verifier. This verifier will be able to review all Procurement Card charges online in SAP for their cardholder(s). They will have 21 days to review, reallocate and approve the charges.

Equipment is listed as a restricted item. Does this include all equipment or just equipment over $3,000?

Any equipment greater than $1,000 may NOT be purchased using the Procurement Card.

Can I use the Procurement Card to make purchases on the web?

Yes, the Procurement Card can be used to make purchase on the web but as with any web transaction, we would suggest you do whatever you can to minimize the risks associated with web purchases. We have produced a reference guide, "Buying Goods on the World Wide Web: How to Reduce Your Risks." It should also be noted that it is sometimes difficult to inform the vendor of MIT's tax-exempt status when purchasing over the web. It may take a call to the selected vendor to ask about the correct procedure to avoid paying sales tax.

Can I use the Procurement Card to make food purchases?

The MIT Procurement Card may be used to purchase food under the following conditions: First, the prospective food purchase is determined to be permissible under MIT policy. Second, the purchase should be for meeting-related expenses from local restaurants or for take-out/catered services only. All food charges must be reviewed and reallocated according to proper MIT policies and procedures.

Can I use the Procurement Card for travel-related purchases?

No. The Procurement Card cannot be used for travel-related purchases. The purchase will be blocked at the point of sale for hotel and airline transactions. All travel-related purchases should be done using the MIT Travel Card. You can contact the travel office for additional details.

Can I use the Procurement Card for conference registration?

If you are registering for a local conference that does not require travel, the use of the Procurement Card is acceptable. The use of the card is not allowable for any other conference registration.

Can I use the Procurement Card at the Harvard/MIT Coop?

Yes, the Coop does accept Procurement Cards as a form of payment. However, it is the cardholder's responsibility to ensure that the MIT Coop number (13-3) is referenced whenever making a Coop purchase.

Can charges be reallocated to multiple cost objects and G/L accounts?

Yes, Procurement Card charges can be reallocated by the verifier to any number of cost objects (accounts) or G/L accounts (object codes) provided they have the proper authorization.

Can a verbal quote from a vendor be accepted as justification?

Yes, only up to $10,000. Any order that exceeds $10,000 in total requires written quotations.

Can a cardholder verify one's own charges

No. A cardholder can be a verifier but not for oneself. These two functions must be independent of each other.

All of the invoices on my purchase order have been paid, but there is still money remaining on the purchase order. What can I do to close out the PO?

Send an e-mail to purchase order closeout containing the purchase order number you wish to close.