Frequently Asked Questions


1.        How can I find out if an item is available on state contract?

There are two lists for state contracts.  The first is the Supplies and Services Contract which includes office supplies, paper, furniture, vehicles, maintenance supplies, etc.  The second is Information Technology Contract which includes copiers, printers, computers, printer toner, network equipment, etc. 


2.        What if I need to by a piece of IT equipment/software?

All IT purchases must first be approved by IT to ensure compatibility with existing equipment and/or software.  IT will also be able to assist in choosing the appropriate equipment/software based upon your departmental needs.  Please refer to the IT Purchase Flow Chart


3.       How do I make a purchase from a grant account?

First, the Principle Investigator (PI) must verify funds are available and the purchase is allowable under the grant.  All grant purchases must be approved by the University grants administrator before proceeding through the procurement process.  Please refer to the Grant Purchase Flow Chart


4.       How do I purchase capital equipment? 

Capital is defined as moveable equipment exceeding $5,000 or fixed equipment exceeding $100,000.  The department must first identify an appropriate source of funds.  Capital purchases must be approved by the Vice Chancellor of Finance before proceeding through the procurement process.   Please refer to the Capital Equipment Flow Chart.


5.       How do I procure services? 

First, the department must verify that the vendor is an independent contractor and that an employer/employee relationship does not exist.  Second, the department must verify the services are not being procured through a current USC employee.  If an employer/employee relationship exists or if the vendor is a current USC employee, then it is determined to be an employment issue and therefore, processed through HR and Payroll.  If an employer/employee relationship does not exist and the vendor is not a current USC employee, then the department must request a copy of the vendor’s W-9 form before proceeding.  Please refer to the Procurement of Services Flow Chart.


6.       How can I be reimbursed through Petty Cash?

Petty cash is used for purchases not exceeding $50.  Per BUSF 2.18, petty cash cannot be used for wages, cash advance or loans, or the purchase of unallowable commodities.  For reimbursement, prepare a Petty Cash Voucher with supervisor signature, a valid account number, and supporting receipt.  Petty cash reimbursement can be made in the Cashier’s Office.       


7.        How can I purchase gift cards?

The purchase of gift cards is made in accordance to BUSF 2.19.  If the request is for gift cards from an Unrestricted account, the custodian would fill out the form and have it signed by the department head.  If the request is for gift cards from a Grant account, the custodian would fill out the form and have it signed by the University Grants Administrator.   The request for Cash Advance/Gift Card Form should include amount of funding required, the beginning and end date, purpose, and individual responsible.  Departments are encouraged to read through the policy in its entirety before proceeding with the form. 


8.       How do I purchase food?

In accordance with BUSF 7.05, the department is required to have food purchases approved beforehand using the Food Policy Form.  The form must be filled out completely and forwarded to the following individuals for approval:  appropriate department head, University Grants Administrator (if applicable), the Procurement office, and the Chancellor.  Failure to have the food policy approved before proceeding with the purchase will result in non-reimbursement of funds.    The state procurement card cannot be used for any type of food/drink purchase.