Supporting documentation that is attached to a Request for Payment or invoice for approval by Accounts Payable, such as tax forms, independent contractor information, selection of source/price justification form, or statement of work.

Balance Sheet

An itemized statement that lists the total assets and total liabilities of a business to portray its net worth at a given moment in time. Invested assets are reported at market value while other assets are valued at amortized cost. (See also Statement of Financial Position.)

Bank and Trade Reference

An authorized credit history disclosure allowing credit evaluation.

Best Value

A desired outcome in the acquisition of all goods and services. Price must be one evaluation criteria when acquiring good and services, however other criteria may include, but is not limited to environmental considerations, quality, and vendor performance.

Bill of Lading

A written receipt or contract, given by a carrier, showing a list of goods delivered to it for transportation. The straight bill of lading is a contract which provides for direct shipment to a consignee. The order bill of lading is negotiable; it enables a shipper to collect for a shipment before it reaches its destination (this is done by sending the original bill of lading with a draft drawn on the consignee through a bank). When the consignee receives the lading indicating that payment has been made, the lading will be surrendered to the carrier’s agent, and the carrier will then ship the goods to the consignee, and the bill of lading will be surrendered to the carrier. Note: Shippers frequently consign shipments to themselves on order bills of lading so that delivery is made only upon the shipper’s order; the person or firm to be notified upon arrival of the shipment at destination must be designated.

Blanket Order

A contract under which a vendor agrees to provide goods or services on a purchase-on-demand basis. The contract generally establishes prices, terms, conditions and the period covered (no quantities are specified). Goods must be shipped as required by the purchaser.

Bodily Injury Liability

Liability for injury to the body of a person, including sickness, disease, or death.

Book Value

The initial cost of investment or other asset as recorded. Bonds purchased at other than maturity value have a book value of amortized cost. The cost of real estate investments includes both the original cost and the capitalized cost of any improvements. The book value of gifts and other receipts is the cash or fair market value at the time of receipt.


Represent mortgage bonds and notes payable to external agencies, institutions and others.


An ad hoc querying software for creating reports from IS&T’s Data Warehouse available only to members of the MIT community. BrioQuery is still in use at MIT but is no longer supported by the company that acquired it from Brio Software. Link.


A business that carries no inventory and that has no written ongoing agreement with any manufacturer or manufacturer's authorized distributor to sell the products of the manufacturer.

Budget and Financial Analysis (B&FA)

Budget and Financial Analysis, a VPF Business Unit that administers the annual budget process for the Institute and provides financial information and analysis to MIT's senior leadership.


A contractor, subcontractor, supplier, consultant, or provider of technical, administrative, or physical services organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, association, corporation, or other entity formed for the purpose of doing business for profit.

Buy-to-Pay (B2P)

A cloud-based integrated platform for creating and approving requisitions/purchase orders and invoices. (Also referred to by name of application provider, Coupa.)

Buyer Beware

The literal translation of “caveat emptor” which means the buyer takes responsibility for understanding the condition of items purchased as well as the terms of exchange.

News and Announcements

The VPF Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) team has updated the list of all&nbs